The Best Warm Up Exercises for Your Muscles Before Any Workout

Warming up is essential and allows you to give the very best of yourself in each workout. In this article, discover the best warm up exercises. Pick your favorites!
The Best Warm Up Exercises for Your Muscles Before Any Workout

Last update: 16 October, 2020

You should always warm up your muscles before working out. Mainly because it reduces the risk of injury and prepares your body’s muscles for the activity you want to do. However, some athletes don’t always take this into account. This is why we decided to make a list of the best warm-up exercises you should do before any workout. Most are very simple and equally essential.

The importance of warming up your muscles

You should take into consideration that, when you exercise, be it lifting weights or going for a run, you stress your ligaments and joints. Thus, you add a load to your body.

As your body warms up, oxygen is delivered faster to your muscles and heart. As such, their efficiency improves. Also, warming up helps your muscles contract and relax faster.

We always recommend adapting your warm up routine to the exercise or activity you’re about to do.

This means that you should change the warm-up exercises prior to your workout session to, for example, weight lifting, cardio, or any other activity.

Similarly, you have to consider the temperature you’re going to exercise at. If the weather is cold, you’ll need to warm up more than on a hot day.

How to warm up your muscles before your workouts

Basically, there are three ways to warm up your muscles before working out. There are static stretches, dynamic stretches, and cardio at a moderate pace. Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about them.

Static stretching

As their name suggests, static stretches are performed without movement. You do them in challenging but comfortable positions for about 10-30 seconds. They normally comprise the first phase of your warm-up. They represent the most common form of stretching and are considered safe and effective for improving overall flexibility.

A woman warming up.

Dynamic stretching: best warm-up exercises

Dynamic stretches are active movements that involve bringing your body into a full range of motion. They prepare you for working out or any sports activity. In fact, a good warm-up should really focus more on dynamic than static stretching.

Examples of dynamic stretches include push-ups, leg movements, ankle rotations, and almost any other bodyweight movement that involves a certain degree of flexibility, strength, and range of motion. You should know that you only need five minutes to do an entire set of dynamic stretches.

A man doing lunges.


Jogging or cycling for five to ten minutes before working out, whether it’s cardio or weight training, is one of the best ways to prepare your body for any effort. The most important thing is for you to use those minutes to prepare your body and allow it to feel agile for exercising. Thus, the intensity and duration should be moderate.

A woman doing cardio at the gym.

The best warm-up exercises for your muscles

1. Ankle circles

The first exercise that we propose allows you to warm up each leg independently. It consists of placing yourself on all fours on the floor, ensuring that your abdomen is contracted and that nothing moves except the leg you’re warming up.

Once in position, keep your chosen leg bent at 90 degrees. Then, take it out to the side and do a circular motion. Make five circles in one direction, then move it in the opposite direction. Finally, repeat the exercise with your other leg.

2. Leg cross: best warm-up exercises

Crossing your legs is one of the simplest exercises you can include in a dynamic warm-up. It’s great because it allows you to exercise almost your entire body. This warm-up exercise is very easy to do. Simply lay on the floor, with your back supported and with your arms extended to the sides.

A woman doing a leg cross.

Then, bring your right leg across your body so that your toes touch your left hand. Repeat the exercise with your left leg. It’s best to do ten repetitions in total.

3. The scorpion

This last exercise is similar to the leg cross, with the difference that you do it upside down. Once you’re in this position, turn your body to the left, so that your right heel crosses your body to meet your left hand. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Do a total of ten repetitions to finish the exercise.

As you’ve seen, there are many ways to warm up your muscles before your workout. Finally, you should remember to take your time with them to properly prepare your body for any sports activity.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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    • Zambrano Leiton, Y. A., & García Ortiz, D. G. (2014). Métodos para el desarrollo de la flexibilidad en el deporte: ventajas y desventajas de sus técnicas de entrenamiento. Universidad Del Valle. Instituto de Educación y Pedagogía. Retrieved from
    • Ayala, F., de Baranda, P. S., Cejudo, A., & Croix, M. D. S. (2011). Efecto agudo del estiramiento sobre el rendimiento físico: el uso de los estiramientos en el calentamiento. Cultura, Ciencia y Deporte, 6(16), 27–36.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.