Forget the old ways of passively warming up. Gone are the days where athletes gather in a group and static stretch in a circle…
The most current research shows that the best way to warm-up and prepare for athletic movements is to actually move like an athlete!
There are extraordinary advantages of a dynamic warm-up. Not only will athletes feel better after a dynamic warm-up and be more prepared, but athletic performance is proven to improve as well.
Unlike traditional static stretching that focuses on prolonged holds to lengthen muscles and improve flexibility, dynamic warm-ups utilize continuous active movements that mimic the motion of your sport with progressively increasing intensity. Envision a combination of active stretches, bodyweight exercises, and drills designed to unleash flexibility, supercharge blood flow, awaken your nervous system, and crank up your body temperature. Find out how to design the perfect dynamic warm-up here!
In this article, we unravel why the “dynamic warm-up” has become an absolute game-changer in athletics and what the evidence shows with regard to the impact on explosive movements, flexibility, circulation, nervous system activation, injury risk, and mindset.
Jump Higher and Run Faster
In studies comparing static stretching with dynamic warm-ups over the past ten years, it has been concluded that dynamic warm-ups offer performance benefits such as improved power and increased sprinting ability.
One study found that a dynamic warm-up significantly improved vertical jump and explosive power in college basketball players, compared to static stretching as a warm-up.(1) Another study with collegiate female soccer players found that dynamic warm-up routines that included plyometric exercises resulted in faster sprint times.(2)
Flexibility is your secret weapon; and dynamic warm-ups are the key to quickly unlocking it in your sport. Flexibility and mobility exercises effectively stimulate your muscles and tendons to move better, elongate, and communicate with your entire system. During a dynamic warm-up, athletes are encouraged to breathe deeply while moving through a full range of motion, achieving greater flexibility and mobility in all planes of motion, and reducing the risk of injury as an added bonus.
Surge of Circulation
Dynamic warm-ups turn up the heat through circulation. Active movements and exercises widen blood vessels, ushering in a surge of oxygen and nutrients to muscles. This oxygen boost turbocharges reflexes and muscle contractions.
Research shows that a increased blood circulation and oxygen delivery through a dynamic warm-up leads to increased muscle activation and improved muscle strength compared to static stretching.(3)
Furthermore, a study with elite youth soccer players found that dynamic warm-ups significantly improved anaerobic performance (e.g., sprinting, agility), and concluded that dynamic warm-ups effectively prepare athletes for the demands of their sport.(4)
Supercharge Your Nervous System
A dynamic warm-up will awaken the powerhouse within you: the central nervous system (CNS). Active motion primes the CNS for a quicker, more efficient athletic performance. By simulating the very movements and intensity of sport, the CNS activates and forges unbeatable neural pathways. The result? Improved reaction time, cutting performance, and deceleration mechanics, and an extraordinary boost in overall athletic movements
A study on male runners found that dynamic stretching performed before running resulted in improved endurance and reduced energy expenditure compared to static stretching, with improved running economy and overall running performance.(5)
Lower Risk of Injury
Injuries are a risk that every athlete faces. By embracing active movements that mimic the actions of sport, the body becomes appropriately warmed up and ready for competition. A proper dynamic warm-up helps shield against strains, sprains, and other musculoskeletal-related injuries, and helps the body move like a well-oiled machine with better mechanics and joint alignment. Various studies concluded that dynamic stretching, as part of a warm-up routine, could enhance performance and potentially reduce the risk of muscle strains and tears compared to static stretching.(6)
Mindset for the Win
Get ready to supercharge not just the body, but also the mind! Dynamic warm-ups set the stage for psychological readiness. Focused athletic movements synchronized with deep breaths intensifies an athletes’ mental engagement. Athletes are catapulted from a state of relaxation to one of razor-sharp alertness. This mental transformation readies the body and mind for the challenges that lie ahead, enhancing concentration, reaction time, and overall performance on the field, court, or other sporting-environment.
From scientific evidence to anecdotal experience, experts agree that a dynamic warm-up is the preferred training strategy prior to performance or competition. Athletes experience improved performance, flexibility, blood flow, activation of the central nervous system, injury prevention, and a mindset ready for battle. Consider it a necessary strategy to unlock full potential.
This all sounds AMAZING, right?! But how do you figure out what to do??
If you’re like most of our members, you want to do the right thing for yourself and your kids. You want to help your athletes succeed in sports and life, but when it comes to exactly HOW to do it, it can actually be overwhelming. In fact, a lot of people have great intentions, but as soon as they start scouring the internet for ideas, they get overwhelmed or confused. Sometimes they even get frustrated and just give up.
Finding the best training exercises can be a daunting task, and the countless variations available make it challenging to determine the best course of action. We’ve seen athletes, parents, and even coaches flounder with this, unsure if they’re truly providing themselves or their players with the utmost care and preparation.
To alleviate this uncertainty, we have created options to help you lead a successful warm-up program, from an 8 point process to guide you through developing your own routine, to a detailed, step-by-step plan. You no longer have to navigate this journey alone. Whether you’re a coach or a parent of a young, college-bound athlete, or you’re someone who lives an active, outdoorsy lifestyle, our simple process can easily be incorporated into a 20 minute routine at home, or it can be seamlessly integrated into warm-ups before your sport.
We’ve done the hard work for you, so you don’t have to figure it out on your own. We’ve taken the best exercises that are both safe and effective, and designed a program to get bigger results in less time. In 6 weeks, our members are guided through a process to go from being unknowingly susceptible to injury to being stronger and more resilient so they can just focus on having fun in their sport and reaching their dreams.
Brace yourself for a transition from good to outstanding, and for a shift from grappling with injuries to carving a path toward an extraordinary athletic future.
When you’re open to the next level in your athleticism, learn more here!
- “Effects of Different Warm-up Protocols on Jump Performance in College Basketball Players” (2016)
- “Effects of Different Warm-up Strategies on Sprint Performance in Collegiate Female Soccer Players” (2020
- “Effects of Dynamic Stretching on Strength, Muscle Imbalance, and Muscle Activation” (2018)
- “The Acute Effects of Different Warm-up Protocols on Anaerobic Performance in Elite Youth Soccer Players” (2019)
- “Effects of Dynamic Stretching on Energy Cost and Running Endurance Performance in Trained Male Runners” (2017)
- Behm DG, Chaouachi A. (2011) – “A review of the acute effects of static and dynamic stretching on performance”