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. By actively using your muscles to move through the stretch, you will work out stiffness while firing up your nervous system.


Studies show dynamic stretching may help improve athletic performance and decrease the risk of injury during physical activity as part of a complete warm-up.

Try adding the following five stretch exercises in your warm-up routine to hit all major muscle groups in your body. For each stretch:

  1. Perform in place, or while walking forward in between repetitions.

  2. Go until you feel the stretch, then release in a controlled manner. Do not hold the position.

'Statue of Liberty' Quad Stretch

Muscles: quads, feet

  • Flex your leg back and grab your ankle with your hand on the same side.

  • Reach up with your opposite hand.

  • For added stretch, push up onto the ball of your planted foot and reach a little higher with your free hand (pictured).

  • Place your leg down and repeat with your opposite leg.

Complete two to four repetitions with each leg.

Hamstring Scoop

Muscles: hamstrings

  • Place your foot out in front of you with your toes pointed up.

  • Reach down with both hands.

  • As soon as you feel the stretch, “scoop” through with your hands as in the image.

  • Return to the starting position.

Complete two to four repetitions with each leg.

'World's Greatest' Stretch

Muscles: glutes, hips, back, groin, shoulders

  • From a standing position, take a big step forward into a lunge position (1).

  • Lean over, placing the hand opposite your bent leg on the ground in front for support.

  • Touch your elbow to the ankle of the foot out in front (2). If you can’t reach your ankle, go until you feel a stretch through the groin.

  • Keeping your hand planted, rotate into your bent leg, reaching your arm to the ceiling (3).

  • Return back to the lunge position (4), and then back to standing.

  • Step forward with your opposite leg and repeat.

Complete two to four repetitions with each leg.

Ankle Mobilities

Muscles: ankle joints, calves

  • Facing a wall, place the ball of one foot on the edge of an elevated surface near the wall (i.e. folded towel) with your other foot planted behind you.

  • Support yourself with your hands against the wall.

  • Gently lean into your front foot, moving your knee back and forth between the two positions shown in the photo.

Complete six to eight repetitions on each foot.

Arm Circles

Muscles: rotator cuff, shoulders, chest

  • Extend both of your arms out to your sides with your palms facing down.

  • Begin by making small circles in a forward direction.

  • Progressively make your circles bigger.

  • Repeat in a backward direction with your palms facing up.

Complete 10 to 20 circles in each direction.


  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

  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

  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,_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