Five Dynamic Stretches for a Quick Full-Body Warm-Up

Dynamic stretches are an effective way to prepare for physical activity, which makes them a great addition to any warm-up routine.1 By actively using your muscles to move through the stretch, you will work out stiffness while firing up your nervous system.2

Benefits

Studies show dynamic stretching may help improve athletic performance and decrease the risk of injury during physical activity as part of a complete warmup.3,4

The Stretches

Try adding these five exercises in your warm-up routine to hit all major muscle groups in your body.

For each stretch: Perform them in place, or while walking forward in between reps. Go until you feel the stretch, then release in a controlled manner. Do not hold the position.

Statue of Liberty

“Statue of Liberty” Quad Stretch

Muscles: Quads, Feet

  • Flex your leg back and grab the ankle with your hand on the same side.
  • Reach up with opposite hand.
  • For added stretch, push up onto the ball of planted foot and reach a little higher with free hand (pictured).
  • Place leg down, repeat on opposite leg.
  • 2-4 reps with each leg.

Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring Scoop

Muscles: Hamstrings

  • Place foot out in front with toe pointed up
  • Reach down with both hands.
  • As soon as you feel the stretch, “scoop” through with the hands.
  • Return to starting position.
  • 2-4 reps with each leg.

World's Greatest Stretch

“World’s Greatest” Stretch

Muscles: Glutes, Hips, Back, Groin, Shoulders

  • Take a big step forward into a lunge position.
  • Lean over, placing the opposite hand to your bent leg on the ground in front for support.
  • Touch your elbow to the ankle of the foot out in front. If you can’t reach your ankle, go until you feel a stretch through the groin.
  • Keeping your hand planted, rotate into the bent leg, reaching your arm to the ceiling.
  • Return back to lunge position, then to standing.
  • Step forward with opposite leg & repeat.
  • 2-4 reps with each leg.

Ankle Mobilities

Ankle Mobilities

Muscles: Ankle joints, calves

  • Place the ball of your foot on the edge of an elevated surface (i.e. stair, folded towel).
  • Gently lean into the foot.
  • The motion is a controlled bounce into the foot.
  • 6-8 reps on each foot.

Arm Circles

Arm Circles

Muscles: Rotator cuff, shoulders, chest

  • Extend both arms out to side with palms facing down.
  • Begin by making small circles going forward.
  • Progressively make circles bigger.
  • Repeat going backwards with palms facing up.

Resources:

  1. Yamaguchi, T and Ishii, K. Effects of static stretching for 30 seconds and dynamic stretching on leg extension power. J Strength Cond 19: 677-683, 2005. Retrieved from https://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/handle/2115/17085
  2. Samson, M., Button, D. C., Chaouachi, A., & Behm, D. G. (2012). Effects of dynamic and static stretching within general and activity specific warm-up protocols. Journal of sports science & medicine, 11(2), 279. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737866/pdf/jssm-11-279.pdf
  3. Curry, B. S., Chengkalath, D., Crouch, G. J., Romance, M., & Manns, P. J. (2009). Acute effects of dynamic stretching, static stretching, and light aerobic activity on muscular performance in women. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 23(6), 1811-1819. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2009/09000/Acute_Effects_of_Dynamic_Stretching,_Static.26.aspx
  4. Behm, D. G., Blazevich, A. J., Kay, A. D., & McHugh, M. (2015). Acute effects of muscle stretching on physical performance, range of motion, and injury incidence in healthy active individuals: a systematic review. Applied physiology, nutrition, and metabolism, 41(1), 1-11. Retrieved from https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/full/10.1139/apnm-2015-0235#.XWhmnWjYqzw