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5 Best Bodyweight Dynamic Warm-up Exercises (Prevent Injury)

Tracy Thompson
Published by Tracy Thompson | Senior Coach
Last updated: July 30, 2023

In my experience as a fitness trainer, I’ve learned that people who don't understand the significance of warming up before working out usually just skip it.

But the truth is, a few stretches and muscle warm-ups before an actual workout go a long way in preventing muscle injury.

To help my readers and clients understand its significance, I gathered what I knew about warm-up workouts and discussed it with a physical therapist.

Together, we were able to come up with five of the most robust bodyweight dynamic warm-up workouts.

Quick Summary

  • Push-ups, bodyweight squats, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, and burpees are some of the best dynamic warm-up workouts to do before exercising.
  • A proper warm-up that involves moderately paced movements that work muscles to provide a functional stretch can prevent the risk of injury.
  • Dynamic warm-ups increase functional mobility and are best done before a workout, while static stretches are best done after a training session.

Are Bodyweight Exercises Good for Warm-Ups?

Performing stretches and warm ups outdoors

Yes, bodyweight exercises are good warm-ups.

They prepare your body for activity, enhance flexibility, increase functional mobility, and, most importantly, reduce stiffness and prime muscles for workouts by increasing blood flow.

Moreover, ensuring your muscles are properly warmed makes workouts more effective and can reduce the risk of the occurrence of injury to muscles and tendons [1].

But not just any kind of warm-up or static stretching reduces injury risk, but moderately paced movements that work muscles to provide a functional stretch.

“Functional dynamic warm-up routine helps limit the risks of injury.”

- Dr. Bill Kelley, Physical Therapist

Let's examine a few examples of these dynamic movements.

Learn More: Bodyweight Leg Workout: Get Strong & Sculpted Legs

Best Bodyweight Dynamic Warm-up Workouts

Performing bodyweight dynamic warm up

Below are five examples of excellent dynamic warm-up workouts you should do before an actual workout.

1. Push-ups

While often a part of bodyweight and strength training workouts, they can also be a warm-up exercise, especially for more experienced people, and beginners can always experiment with inclination.

Push-ups are especially beneficial for upper body and core strength.

The main muscles these workouts target include the arms, chest, shoulders, and core.

How to do them:

  • First, get on all fours with your hands slightly wider than your shoulder width and elbows slightly bent. Extend your legs behind and keep them hip-width apart while balancing on your toes.
  • Now, while tightening your core and squeezing your shoulder blades, bend your elbows to lower yourself to the floor till the elbows reach 90 degrees.
  • Upon reaching the floor, push through your hands and straighten your elbows to return to your starting position.

2. Bodyweight Squats

Doing bodyweight squats

Bodyweight squat exercises involve shifting to a sitting position and standing up again while pausing once your thighs are parallel to the ground.

This functional workout makes a good dynamic bodyweight warm-up for leg day because it targets the lower body (quads, glutes, and hamstrings). But as you will find, bodyweight squats work the entire body.

How to do bodyweight squats:

  • Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, your toes pointed outwards, and your arms at your side. This is your starting position.
  • Now, bend your knees to lower yourself to a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor (You can go lower than this, depending on your fitness level). Do this with a slight bend forward at your waist.
  • While lowering to the ground, raise your arms to chest height.
  • Once you’ve reached a lower position, press your heels and straighten your knees to return to your starting position.

3. Mountain Climbers

You don’t have to be experienced to do mountain climbers. This warm-up is easy to do, even for beginners.

It essentially incorporates pulling one leg forward and alternating with the other while in a plank position.

And while it works the whole body, it mainly targets the arms, shoulders, quads, and core with benefits including core strength, cardio endurance, and agility.

How to do mountain climbers:

  • Start in a plank position with your hands at shoulder width apart, back flat, legs straight, and abs engaged.
  • Now, pull your right knee forward towards your chest and back, and then switch by pulling your left knee to your chest and back again.
  • Keep alternating as fast as you can.

4. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks exercise on a plain background

Jumping jacks are simple warm-up exercises that stimulate the body's vital muscles before the actual showdown.

This workout involves jumping out sideways and back while raising your left and right arm simultaneously.

Jumping jacks target the glutes, quads, and hip flexors.

How to do them:

  • As a starting position, stand with feet together, toes pointed outwards, and hands hanging by your side.
  • Now, jump your feet to the side while swinging your arms straight out and raising them above your head.
  • Upon landing, return by jumping your feet to your original position while swinging your arms back to your side.
  • Keep alternating.

5. Burpees

Burpees incorporate a push-up and a jump.

They form part of high-intensity training and work your body from top to bottom with an explosive element.

Thus, it can be difficult to perform repeatedly for a beginner.

Here’s how to do them:

  • Start by standing with your feet apart and arms by your side.
  • Lean forward and drop to a plank position with your palms on the ground.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your body to the floor as if doing a push-up.
  • Once you’ve reached the floor, press the ground and straighten your elbows to return to a high plank.
  • Kick your knees forward to a low squat position and stand up to return to your initial starting position.
  • Now make a jump as you extend your arms up.

Other great examples of dynamic warm-up workouts include hip circles, the world’s greatest stretch, leg swings, and lateral reaches.

Benefits of These Exercises

Athletes with good energy and stamina after performing dynamic workouts

Below are the benefits associated with dynamic warm-up exercises.

1. Performance Enhancement

Warm-ups increase the heart rate, which increases body temperature and allows more oxygen to your muscles. The end result is performance enhancement, which is particularly helpful when doing strenuous strength training workouts.

2. Reduces Injury Risk

Multiple studies on the subject have proved that neuromuscular warm-ups, particularly those that require no additional equipment, are helpful in preventing injuries [2].

3. Reduces Soreness

A general rule of thumb that I constantly remind my clients is not to exercise sore muscles. But even soreness in areas you don't plan to train can still affect your workout.

However, with a proper warm-up, you can loosen up the sore muscle tissues by increasing body temperature and blood flow to these areas.

Researchers have also found that warm-up before exercise reduces delayed onset muscle soreness [3].

4. Improves Range of Motion

Dynamic warm-up workouts enhance your mobility and provide the necessary range of motion to perform resistance training workouts effectively.

Include Pre-workout for a More Successful Workout Session

Besides preparing you mentally for a robust training session, dynamic warm-up workouts such as push-ups, bodyweight squats, jumping jacks, and burpees can also improve your workout performance.

While they are necessary and effective when done alone, combining them with a pre-workout supplement sets you up for an even more successful workout performance.

We’ve tested all of the products on these lists, and our clients use them on a daily basis before warm-ups when preparing for an exercise session.

References :

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