20 Best Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises with PDF

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises

Dynamic stretching is an excellent way to improve joint range of motion (ROM) and stretch tolerance and decrease muscle stiffness. It also minimizes the risk of injuries, which usually happen without doing dynamic warm-up exercises.1 Iwata, Masahiro et al. “Dynamic Stretching Has Sustained Effects on Range of Motion and Passive Stiffness of the Hamstring Muscles.” Journal of sports science & medicine vol. 18,1 13-20. 11 Feb. 2019

In this article, I’ve shared the 20 best dynamic movements you can do prior to resistance training to enhance your performance and reduce the risk of injuries.

Whether you’re male or female, whether you want to build strength or lose weight, you can integrate some of these warm-up exercises into your workout program.

20 Best Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises

From the chest, back, and shoulders to the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, I’ve shared dynamic stretching exercises for every muscle group in this blog. Depending on your fitness level and the muscle you want to train, you can select those exercises.

1. Kneeling Chest Opener Stretch

About Exercise

  • Focused Muscles: Chest, Delts, and Back
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Required: Bench/Box

Exercise Benefits

It stretches the chest, shoulders, and upper back simultaneously and makes the upper body flexible.

How-to Guide

  1. Sit on your knees against a bench and extend your arms to place your hands on it.
  2. Keep your arms straight, lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor, then stretch your chest out as much as possible.
  3. Hold for five seconds. Repeat as many times as you like.
  4. Avoid rounding your lower back too much.

2. Standing Chest Stretch

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercise for Chest

About Exercise

  • Focused Muscles: Pectoral Muscles
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Equipment Required: None

Exercise Benefits

It’s an easy way to stimulate your chest muscles before starting resistance exercises.

How-to Guide

  1. Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Take your arms back and hold your hands together.
  3. Open your chest out and look upward.
  4. Feel the stretch for five seconds.
  5. Perform five to six times.

3. Arms Out Stretch

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Chest and Upper Back
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Equipment Required: None

Exercise Benefits

It quickly increases blood circulation, alleviates muscle stiffness, and prepares your pectoral muscles before doing chest-focused exercises.

How-to Guide

  1. Stand straight in the shoulder-width stance.
  2. Raise your arms up and straight until they are parallel to the floor.
  3. Take your arms out until you feel the stretch in your pecs.
  4. Perform for 15 seconds, five times.

4. Superman Raise

Superman Pull for LB

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Back and Shoulder
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Equipment Required: Yoga Mat

Exercise Benefits

The Superman raise helps warm up the upper and lower back, reduce muscle stiffness, and strengthen the spine. You can do it before hammering your back with weights.

How-to Guide

  1. Lie on the mat with your face down.
  2. Extend your arms against your head with your palms facing down.
  3. Lift your arms up, then pull it toward your body.
  4. Return to the start and do it eight to ten times.
  5. Aim for three to four sets with 15 seconds of rest between them.

5. Cat-Cow

Cat-Cow Stretch for Upper Body

About Exercise

  • Focused Muscles: Back, Chest, and Abs
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Equipment Required: Mat

Exercise Benefits

The cat-cow gently flexes and extends the spine, alleviates tension in the back, and activates the lats and traps for resistance exercises.

How-to Guide

  1. Sit on all fours with your knees below your hips and hands beneath your shoulders.
  2. Bring your chest out and pause for a moment.
  3. Lift your spine up by pulling your stomach in and hold for a few seconds.
  4. Repeat these steps for 10-15 times.

6. Dive Bomber Push-up

Upper Body Dynamic Exercise

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Chest, Shoulder, and Lower Back
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Equipment Required: None

Exercise Benefits

The dive bomber push-up is a total body dynamic exercise that engages several muscle groups simultaneously, including the back, chest, and shoulders.

It also makes your torso and spine flexible, which are critical during the various compound movements.

How-to Guide

  1. Get into an inverted V position by pushing your hips up and engaging your abs.
  2. Maintain a neutral spine and lower your head and chest towards the ground while arching your back.
  3. Continue moving forward until your chest is pointing forward, your spine is arched, and your arms are fully straight.
  4. Reverse the movement and perform as many reps as possible before doing back or chest exercises.

7. Bird Dog

Bird Dog Plank

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Lower Back, Abs, and Shoulders
  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Required: Yoga Mat

Exercise Benefits

The bird dog engages the several muscles at once, primarily the abdominals, lower back, and shoulders. It also improves balance and hip mobility and makes the posterior chain flexible.

How-to Guide

  1. Sit on all fours with your arms beneath your shoulder and knees under your hips.
  2. Brace your abdominal muscles, maintain a neutral spine, and look downward. That’s the start.
  3. Lift your right arm in front of you and your left leg behind until they are parallel to the floor.
  4. Hold for a couple of seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.

8. World’s Greatest Stretch

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Total Body
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Equipment Required: None

Exercise Benefits

The World’s Greatest Stretch is one of the world’s best dynamic warm-up exercises. It reduces muscle stiffness throughout the body, stretches the hip flexors for better mobility, and helps elevate balance and flexibility.

How-to Guide

  1. Begin in a lunge stance, right foot forward, left foot back.
  2. Bring both hands inside the right foot, framing it.
  3. Rotate the right arm upwards, opening the chest.
  4. Straighten the left leg while keeping the right knee bent.
  5. Hold for a few seconds, feeling the stretch in the hip flexors and hamstrings.
  6. Lower the left knee back to the ground, returning to the lunge position.
  7. Repeat on the other side, alternating between sides for a dynamic stretch.

9. Inchworm

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Full Body
  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Required: None

Exercise Benefits

The Inchworm is a simple yet effective exercise that warms up the entire body and promotes strength and flexibility by engaging the core, shoulders, or legs simultaneously.

How-to Guide

  1. Begin by standing with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend forward at the hips, reaching hands to the floor.
  3. Walk hands forward until in a plank position, keeping legs straight.
  4. Maintain a plank briefly, engaging core muscles.
  5. Walk hands back toward feet, keeping legs straight.
  6. Return to the starting position by standing tall.

10. Standing Arm Swings

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Shoulders
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Equipment Required: None

Exercise Benefits

The arm swings provide a quick warm-up for a shoulder workout. The swinging motion of your arms engages and stimulates all three deltoid muscles simultaneously, enhances flexibility, and prepares your shoulder for a variety of exercises.

How-to Guide

  1. Stand upright with your arms straight by your sides, palms facing in.
  2. Roll your arms back and forth (360-degree) at a low to moderate pace.
  3. Perform for 10 seconds, then swing your arms in the opposite direction.
  4. Aim for three to four rounds.

11. Shoulder Pass Through

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Shoulder, Chest, and Back
  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Required: Resistance Band

Exercise Benefits

The shoulder pass-through provides a decent stretch to the upper body muscles, especially to the deltoids, pecs, and upper back.

Doing it before hitting the shoulders will help you perform push and pull exercises effectively.

How-to Guide

  1. Grab the ends of the loop band, stand upright, and keep your arms straight against your thigh, palms facing your body.
  2. Keeping your arms straight, move them all the way from your front hips to the rear hips.
  3. Reverse the movement and repeat for the desired times.

12. Bent-over Reverse Fly

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Posterior Delts and Upper Back
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Equipment Required: Resistance Band

Exercise Benefits

The resistance band rear delt fly is a great way to stimulate the traps and shoulders. You can do it before performing back and shoulder exercises.

How-to Guide

  1. Stand in the hip-width position and place the band under your feet.
  2. Grasp the band’s ends with a neutral grip and lean your torso forward.
  3. Brace your core and maintain a neutral spine.
  4. Fly your arms out until your upper back is engaged.
  5. Return to the start and repeat for the desired times.

13. Shoulder Rotation

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Shoulders
  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Required: Cable

Exercise Benefits

The internal and external rotation help improve rotator cuff health, increase shoulder mobility and flexibility, and minimize the risk of strain or injuries during deltoid exercises.

How-to Guide

  1. Stand to the right side of a cable pulley machine.
  2. Bent your left elbow and grab the handle.
  3. Keep your elbow against your side and rotate your forearm inward toward your abdomen, then return to the starting position.
  4. For external rotation, maintain the same position but rotate your forearm outward away from your body.
  5. Perform an equal number of reps and sets on each side.

14. Leg Swings

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Legs and Glutes
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Equipment Required: A Standing Object for Support

Exercise Benefits

The leg swings activate the quads, hamstrings, and glutes and provide a quick warm-up to the lower body muscles. It can enhance your running, squatting, and jumping performance while lessening the risk of injuries.

How-to Guide

  • Stand to the side of the wall or an upright object, place your one hand on it, and swing your leg back and forth. Perform for 10 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
  • Once you complete the forward leg swing, try the lateral one.

15. Lying Hip Rotation

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Lower Back, Abs, and Hips
  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Equipment Required: Mat

Exercise Benefits

The hip rotation helps relieve the midsection and hips immobility and prepare your lower body for various athletic and lifting performances.

How-to Guide

  1. Lie on the mat with your face up and arms straight by your sides.
  2. Slightly bend your knees and rotate your hips from the right to the left and vice-versa.
  3. Make sure your lower back stays grounded throughout the movement.

16. Single-leg Deadlift

Dumbbell Single Leg Deadlift

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Legs, Glutes, and Abs
  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Required: Dumbbells or Band (You can also do it with bodyweight only)

Exercise Benefits

The unilateral deadlift helps build a strong and flexible lower body as well as improve your ability to hold your body in an unstable position. I prefer doing it prior to training glutes and hammies for better results.

How-to Guide

  1. Stand upright with your arms straight by your sides. You can also hold dumbbells or grab an elastic band for additional resistance.
  2. Lift your right leg behind and bend your hips simultaneously until your torso is parallel to the floor.
  3. Pause for a few seconds, then return to the start.
  4. Perform an equal number of reps and sets on each side.

17. Glute Kickbacks

Glute Kickback

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Glutes, Lower Back, and Abs
  • Difficulty Level: Medium
  • Equipment Required: Mat

Exercise Benefits

The glute kickback makes the backside strong and defined. It improves hip extension, stabilizes the pelvis, and prepares your muscles for hip thrusts and deadlift variations.

How-to Guide

  1. Sit on all fours in a tabletop position.
  2. Hold your abs tight and maintain a neutral spine.
  3. Raise one leg off the floor and kick it toward the ceiling.
  4. Squeeze the glutes at the top, feel the contraction for two seconds, then lower the leg with control.
  5. Perform a couple of sets of 10-12 reps on each side.

18. Gute Bridge

Glutes Bridges

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Gluteal and Core
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Required: Mat

Exercise Benefits

The glute bridge is an excellent dynamic movement for activating the glutes, hamstrings, and abdominal muscles.

It also improves hip stability, promotes lower back health, and can be used as a warm-up exercise for the lower body workout.

How-to Guide

  1. Lie on the mat with your face up, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground.
  2. Keep your arms straight by your sides and maintain a tight core.
  3. Lift your hips up until your knee, hip, and shoulder form a straight line.
  4. Perform ten to 12 reps and repeat three times.

19. Deep Squat

Deep Squat, a dynamic lower body exercise

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Lower Body
  • Difficulty Level: Beginner
  • Equipment Required: None

Exercise Benefits

The deep squat provides excellent stretch and activation to the entire lower body, improves your mobility for a better squat, and helps enhance your performance where lower body parts are involved.

How-to Guide

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing out.
  2. Lower into a squat, as close to the floor as possible.
  3. Pause for a few seconds, then return to the standing position.

20. Bear Crawl

About Exercise

  • Target Muscles: Full Body
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate
  • Equipment Required: None

Exercise Benefits

The bear crawl is a full-body exercise that engages the core, shoulders, and hips simultaneously and helps improve stability, coordination, and balance.

You can do this to increase temperature and oxygen flow throughout the body before hitting any muscle group.

How-to Guide

  1. Sit on all fours with your wrists underneath the shoulders and your toes firmly on the ground.
  2. Slightly lift your hips up, raise your knees a few inches off the floor, and make sure your body weight is balanced on the hands and toes.
  3. Crawl forward like a bear for as long as you can.

Let’s Wrap It

Here’s the summary of the best dynamic stretches you can do before a workout.

ChestBackShoulders
Kneeling Chest OpenerSuperman RaiseDive Bomber Push-up
Standing Chest StretchCat-CowInchworm
Arms Out StretchBird DogStanding Arm Swings
Dive Bomber Push-upWorld’s Greatest StretchShoulder Pass Through
Pass-ThroughBent-over Reverse FlyShoulder Rotation
QuadsHamstringsGlutes
World’s Greatest StretchBird DogLying Hip Rotation
Leg SwingsInchwormOne-leg DL
Deep SquatLeg SwingsGlute Kickbacks
Bear Crawl1-leg DeadliftGlute Bridge
Standing Quad StretchGute BridgeLow Sumo Squat

These exercises lessen muscle stiffness, improve blood flow to specific muscles, increase body temperature, and prepare your muscles for resistance exercises.

Download The Dynamic Movement Exercises PDF

References

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Murshid Akram

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. I help people achieve their best shape through my science-based and practical workout programs.
Picture of Murshid Akram

Murshid Akram

I’m a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. I help people achieve their best shape through my science-based and practical workout programs.

About Me

I’m Murshid Akram, a personal trainer, fitness blogger, and founder of thefitnessphantom.com. I primarily design workout plans and share science-based and practical information that can help you become stronger, functional, and healthier.

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