How to warm up before exercising

Warm up properly before exercising to prevent injury and make your workouts more effective.

This warm-up routine should take at least 6 minutes. Warm up for longer if you feel the need.

March on the spot – keep going for 3 minutes

Start off marching on the spot and then march forwards and backwards. Pump your arms up and down in rhythm with your steps, keeping the elbows bent and the fists soft. 

Heel digs – aim for 60 heel digs in 60 seconds

For heel digs, place alternate heels to the front, keeping the front foot pointing up, and punch out with each heel dig. Keep a slight bend in the supporting leg.

Knee lifts – aim for 30 knee lifts in 30 seconds

To do knee lifts, stand tall, bring up alternate knees to touch the opposite hand. Keep your abs tight and back straight. Keep a slight bend in the supporting leg.

Shoulder rolls – 2 sets of 10 repetitions

For shoulder rolls, keep marching on the spot. Roll your shoulders forwards 5 times and backwards 5 times. Let your arms hang loose by your sides.

Knee bends – 10 repetitions

To do knee bends, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands stretched out. Lower yourself no more than 10cm by bending your knees. Come up and repeat.


Page last reviewed: 29/12/2013

Next review due: 29/12/2015


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The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Ian PT said on 14 February 2012

Stretching: There are a lot fitness practitioners who would advise that the stretches before exercise should be dynamic ones. That means keeping the muscles moving (e.g. swinging your arms across your body, or doing easy squats and throwing your arms above your head as you rise). In particular try and replicate the execise you'll be undertaking, so push your arms out repeatedly in front of you if you're going to do press-ups. Static stretches, holding a muscle in place for several seconds, is reputed to cause more injuries when the muscle is "cold". I've used dynamic stretching for years with my clients, and it has proven very effective in the warm-up.

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