30 warm-up exercises before your workouts at home or gym

A pre-workout warm-up is a series of exercises designed to prepare the body for physical exertion, which will help you avoid injury and perform your workout as efficiently as possible. The main purpose of the warm-up is to gradually increase body temperature and warm up muscles that are in a state of inactivity.

We offer you a selection of warm-up exercises and a ready-made sequential plan for their implementation. These exercises can be performed at home or in the gym.


Performing a warm-up before you begin a workout is an essential part of any fitness class. A good warm-up will gradually increase your heart rate, increase blood flow to your muscles, tendons and ligaments, and prepare you mentally for your workout. Regardless of whether you are doing strength or cardio exercises, it is necessary to warm up before exercising.

The benefits of a warm-up before training:

  • It warms up muscles, ligaments and tendons, improving their elasticity and reducing the risk of injuries and sprains.
  • Warming up before exercise helps stretch the joints that will be stressed during exercise.
  • Your joints are at risk of injury if you do not perform preparatory exercises.
  • Warmed-up muscles contract and relax better during exercise, which means your power output during exercise will be higher.
  • Warming up optimizes the activity of the cardiovascular system: this helps to reduce the load on the heart during exercise.
  • Warming up before exercise improves blood circulation, which saturates your muscles with oxygen and nutrients. This will help to increase endurance during the class.
  • During warm-up, your body increases the production of hormones responsible for energy production.
  • Exercise is a kind of stress for the body, so a quality warm-up will prepare you mentally for the strain, improve coordination and alertness.
  • Light warm-up exercises before exercise release adrenaline into the bloodstream, helping your body cope with physical exertion.

A good warm-up will not only help you avoid injuries and cardiovascular problems, but it will also help you get the most out of your workout. If you want to skip the warm-up to save time and focus more on increasing your workload to get quick results, this is the wrong way to go. After warming up, your body will work better, you will be more energetic and resilient, which will give you much better results in the long run.

Dynamic warm-up should be performed before any workout, regardless of the type of exercise: strength training with weights, running, cardio training, cycling, kickboxing, dance training, stretching for splits, crossfit and any other sport. Pre-workout warm-ups are necessary both in the gym and at home (on the street).

Why don’t people do a warm-up before a workout?

Many people do not warm up before a workout because they think it is a waste of time. You have probably heard friends or acquaintances say, “I regularly go to the gym for strength and cardio workouts, and I never warm up or cool down. I haven’t felt any harm.” Never let someone else’s dubious experience guide you!

First of all, everyone has his own individual level of strength, no one knows his body’s reserves. It may not fail for a month, two months, a year, or even a few years, gradually wearing out, but how long it can last is unknown. Secondly, in the conditions of excessive and very often contradictory information about fitness, many of us already make a lot of mistakes that can affect our health. Therefore, try to follow at least the canonical recommendations – doing a warm-up before each workout is just one of them.

It is important to note that even personal trainers and group exercise instructors may not devote minimal time to warm-up. But you are responsible for your own health, so do not be lazy and come 10 minutes before your workout and do the warm-up yourself. Even if you have not been injured so far, remember that a cold tendon rupture or other unpleasant injury can happen at any time.

The situation is similar with home workouts, of which a large number are now being produced. Usually the programs are designed for 20-30 minutes, which is very important for many people in conditions of high employment. And of course, in such short programs, at best 2-3 minutes are given to warm-up, and at worst there is no warm-up at all.

What is the danger of not warm-up?

Studies show that only 5% of people do a good warm-up before exercising, which is a very sad statistic. Many students believe that this is an unnecessary waste of time, which is already limited in fitness classes. Let’s remember again, what can be dangerous about not warming up before a workout, besides reducing the effectiveness of the class?

  • The most common problem that occurs in the absence of warming up before training is a sprain. This is a very uncomfortable and painful syndrome that requires you to take a break from training.
  • An even more unpleasant problem is a joint injury. If you exercise on a cold joint, there is a high risk of damaging it. The danger of a joint injury lies not only in the time it takes to heal, but also in the fact that after the injury you will be constantly reminded of it. The
  • knee, ankle, shoulder and hip joints are the most commonly injured due to improper stress.
  • Without a good warm-up, dizziness or even fainting can occur due to the high stress on the heart.
  • Sudden, heavy exertion without a warm-up period can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure, which is equally dangerous for people with hypertension and hypotension.

Structure of the pre-workout warm-up

It is advisable to spend at least 7-10 minutes warming up before training. It is better to start warming up by walking on the spot to warm up the body. Then you should perform joint exercises and dynamic exercises to stretch the muscles. The warm-up is completed with moderate-intensity cardio exercises. At the end of the warm-up, we restore breathing by taking a deep breath and exhaling.

The structure of the warm-up before training for 7-10 minutes:

  1. Walking in place: 1 minute
  2. Joint exercises: 2-3 minutes
  3. Dynamic muscle stretching: 2-3 minutes
  4. Cardio warm-up: 2-3 minutes
  5. Recovery Breathing: 0.5-1 minute

Joint exercises activate the work of the joints, tendons and ligaments, improve their mobility and help to train the periarticular muscles. Dynamic stretching will make your muscles more elastic, which will help them work as efficiently as possible throughout the workout. The cardio warm-up raises body temperature, increases blood flow and prepares your muscles for further stretching.

This warm-up will make your heart work faster, increase blood circulation, and gently wake up all the muscles in your body. After a proper warm-up, a pleasant warmth spreads throughout the body, making you feel cheerful and full of energy. If you have stretching or string stretching as part of your workout, the final cardio warm-up can be increased to 5-7 minutes.

Do not confuse pre-workout warm-up with post-workout stretching. The goal of a warm-up is to warm up muscles and joints, increase blood flow, and prepare the body for exertion. The warm-up should not be slow and static, you should warm up well. After the workout, on the other hand, you should restore your breathing, lower your pulse, and do static stretching.

The importance of warming up cannot be overstated, it is a fundamental part of training. First, a good warm-up reduces the risk of injury. Second, warmed-up muscles work more efficiently. The warm-up should include a complete and well-thought-out set of exercises that will help prepare your body for training.

Step 1: Walk on the spot

It is better to start the warm-up by walking on the spot to warm up the body a little and to avoid pulling the muscles during the dynamic stretching. As you walk, your pulse should increase slightly and your body temperature should rise. Do two exercises for about 30 seconds each.

1. Walking with knee lift

HIIT Workout

We start the warm-up by walking on the spot. Raise your knees and synchronously move your arms along your torso. Do not be too eager, start warming up at a gentle, calm pace.

How much to perform: 18-20 total knee lifts.

2. Raise arms and knees

HIIT Workout

And another soft warm-up. Continue to lift your knees, but now use your hands. Raise your arms above your head and lower them, bending at the elbows.

Repeat as many times as necessary: 18-20 total knee lifts.

Stage 2: Joint exercises

Stretching is a necessary part of the pre-workout warm-up if you don’t want to get joint problems in the future. Joint exercises are usually performed from top to bottom, starting with the neck and ending with the feet, but the order of the exercises is not important. Do not forget to do both clockwise and counterclockwise rotations.

By the way, joint exercises are useful as a regular morning exercise.

1. Head Tilts

HIIT Workout

We start the warm-up before training from the neck. Turn your head right-forward-left-forward, trying not to make sudden movements. Don’t throw your head back.

How many to do: 14-16 total.

2. Shoulder rotation

HIIT Workout

Lower your arms along your torso and start performing rotational movements with your shoulders in a circle. Gradually increase the amplitude, trying to stretch the shoulder joints well.

How much to perform: 5 rotations in one direction, then 5 rotations in the other direction.

3. Elbow Rotation

HIIT Workout

It is important to stretch the elbow joints, which are heavily loaded during upper body workouts, prior to exercise. To do this, raise your arms parallel to the floor and perform rotational movements with your forearms.

How much to perform: 5 rotations in one direction, then 5 rotations in the other direction.

4. Hand Rotations

HIIT Workout

We continue the pre-workout warm-up with hand rotations. Raise your arms above your head and begin to rotate them, flexing your shoulder joints well. Move your arms wide and amplitude, rotations should not be sluggish.

How much to perform: 5 rotations forward, then 5 rotations backward.

5. Wrist Rotation

HIIT Workout

When exercising your arms or doing planks and push-ups, do not forget to knead your wrist joints, which receive a lot of stress, well before the workout. To do this, bend your arms at the elbows and start rotating your wrists in a circle.

How much to perform: 7 turns in one direction, then 7 turns in the other direction.

6. Pelvic Rotation

HIIT Workout

Place your hands on your waist and spread your legs wider than your shoulders. Start to rotate your pelvis in a circle, as if you were trying to draw a circle with your buttocks. The feet do not come off the floor, the rotation is due to the movement of the pelvis, not the body.

How much to do: 5 turns in one direction, then 5 turns in the other direction.

7. Foot Rotation

HIIT Workout

Keep your hands on your waist and your feet close together. Lift one leg from the floor and begin to rotate it in a circle, kneading the hip joint. The knee seems to describe a circle, the torso remains stable.

How much to do: 10 total turns on both legs, first forward, then 10 total turns on both legs, backward.

8. Knee Rotation

HIIT Workout

Tilt your body, bend your knees slightly and place your palms on them. Start to rotate your knees without lifting your heels off the floor. This is an excellent exercise for warming up the knee joints, which receive a lot of stress during training.

How many to perform: 7 turns in one direction, then 7 turns in the other direction.

9. Stop rotations

HIIT Workout

Stand up straight, place hands on waist. Lift your knee. Start to rotate your foot, kneading the ankle well. Try to rotate only with the foot, keeping the lower leg and hips stationary.

How much to perform: 5 rotations in one direction and 5 rotations in the other direction on one leg, then the same on the other leg.

Stage 3: Dynamic Muscle Stretching

After joint gymnastics, there is a stage for dynamic stretching of different muscle groups. Here you will find more energetic exercises for warming up before training, which will prepare your body for loads.

1. Arm Dilator for Shoulders, Back and Chest

HIIT Workout

Stand upright with feet shoulderwide apart. Extend your arms and keep them parallel to the floor. Then cross your arms and bring them together at the chest. As you do this pre-workout warm-up, feel a nice stretch in your back between your shoulder blades.

How many to perform: 8-10 repetitions

2. Elbow Dilatation for Deltas and Shoulder Joints

HIIT Workout

Standing straight, flex elbows at right angles and raise elbows parallel to floor. Bring your hands together. Then spread your arms wide without lowering your elbows. Feel the work of the shoulder joints and the tension in the deltas (shoulder muscles) and triceps (back of the arm muscles).

How many to perform: 8-10 repetitions.

3. Arm Flexion for Biceps and Triceps

HIIT Workout

This is a very simple pre-workout warm-up exercise that will help you stretch your arm muscles – biceps and triceps. To do this, pull your straight arms back a little and begin to bend and straighten your arms at maximum amplitude.

How many to perform: 8-10 repetitions

4. Exercises for the abdominal and oblique muscles

HIIT Workout

Stand up straight with feet apart. Spread your arms until they are parallel to the floor. Begin to rotate your body alternately to the right and left. The rotation should be done by twisting the body, not by turning the pelvis. This exercise is very useful for warming up the abdominal muscles.

How many to perform: 8-10 rotations in total.

5. Lying to the side for abdominal and oblique muscles

HIIT Workout

Another effective exercise for the abdominal and oblique muscles. Place your hands on the belt and begin to bend alternately to the right and left, reaching out behind the outstretched arm. This exercise is also useful for relieving tension in the back and straightening the spine.

How many to perform: 8-10 total.

6. Arching for the Back and Spine

HIIT Workout

This is a very simple and extremely effective exercise not only for warming up before training, but also for relaxing the spine. It can be done when you feel tension and stiffness in your back. Sit in a shallow half squat, palms on your hips, with a slight arch in your back. Round the spine in the chest area, rising slightly from the squat. Then bend the back again.

How many to perform: 6-8 repetitions.

7. Squat tilt for back and shoulders

HIIT Workout

Get into a deep sumo squat with your back slightly tilted, palms on your knees. Start to bend one leg, then the other. Do this exercise to warm up before the dynamic training.

How many to perform: 6-8 repetitions in total.

8. Tilts to the floor with a U-turn

HIIT Workout

Stand up straight, arms outstretched, legs apart. Turn your body and try to touch the floor with one hand, then the other. Keep your back straight, do not strain your neck, pull your shoulders away from your ears.

How many to perform: 8-10 total.

9. Squats with lifting arms

HIIT Workout

Spread your legs wide and raise your arms up over your head. Lower the pelvis down, making a squat to parallel the hips with the floor. The arms move synchronously, going down together with the squat. During the squat, do not bring your knees forward of the toe and do not lift your heels off the floor.

If you want to use this exercise to warm up before a workout, or if you are not planning a heavy workout, you can do half-squats.

How much to perform: 8-10 repetitions.

10. Lateral Lunges to Warm Up the Legs

HIIT Workout

Stand with feet apart and arms folded across chest. Begin by squatting, shifting the weight of your body to your right leg until it is parallel to the floor, then lower into a side lunge. Left leg remains fully extended. Then straighten up and lunge with the left leg. Perform rolls in a side lunge for a quality leg warm-up before training.

How many to perform: 8-10 reps total.

11. Lunges to Warm Up the Legs

HIIT Workout

Stand upright with legs slightly narrower than shoulders. Begin to lunge backwards while simultaneously raising your arms above your head. It is not necessary to lower the knees to a right angle, in the warm-up before training an incomplete amplitude of exercises is allowed. If you find it difficult to keep your balance, you can place your hands on your belt or hold on to a wall or chair.

If you want to make this exercise easier, or if you are not planning a heavy workout, you can do half steps.

How many to perform: 8-10 total repetitions.

12. Incline to the foot for the back of the thigh

HIIT Workout

Stand upright, place right hand on waist, raise left hand above head. Move your right foot half a meter forward, supporting it on the heel, and straighten it completely. Then bend your right leg down with your back straight, touching your right sock with your left hand. Bend the left leg at the knee. Feel the stretch in the back of the thigh, hamstring and calf.

How much to perform: 5-6 inclines first on one leg, then the same amount on the other.

13. Raise Knees to Straighten Buttocks

HIIT Workout

Stand up straight, bend your arms and keep them close to you. Lift the knee of one leg and pull it up toward your chest with your hands. Feel the stretch in the glutes. Return to starting position and pull the other leg toward you.

How many to perform: 8-10 total knee pull-ups.

14. Raise Feet to Stretch Quadriceps

HIIT Workout

Stand up straight and lower your arms along your torso. Bend your leg and pull your foot up toward your buttocks with your hand. Hold for a second, stretching the quadriceps (the front of the thigh). Then return to starting position and pull the foot of the other leg toward the buttocks.

How many to perform: 8-10 foot pull-ups total.

Stage 4: Cardio warm up

In the final stage of the warm-up, we will perform some cardio exercises to warm up even more and raise the body temperature. The speed and intensity of the exercise can be increased or decreased, and the duration of the final cardio warm-up is 2-3 minutes. See the speed and pace of the exercises according to your ability.

1. Running in place with a shin overlap

HIIT Workout

Stand up straight with arms bent at the elbows, palms facing forward. Start running on the spot, lifting your legs up and letting your hands move freely along your torso. Make overhangs with your feet, as if you were trying to hit yourself on the buttocks with your heels.

How many to do: 25-30 total.

If running is contraindicated, walk on the spot at a fast pace with your knees raised (Exercise #1 in the first stage).

2. Jumping Rope

HIIT Workout

Stand up straight, bend your arms at the elbows and spread them out to the sides as if holding a rope. Begin to make light, soft jumps in place, simulating jumping rope. There is no need to jump too hard, as this is a warm-up before the workout, not the workout itself.

How much to do: 25-30 jumps.

If jumping is contraindicated to you, then continue walking on the spot at a fast pace, raising your knees high. Include your hands in the work, moving them up and down (exercise # 2 in the first stage).

3. Jump with arms and legs spread

HIIT Workout

Stand straight with legs together. As you jump, spread your legs wide and bring your arms over your head. Keep your knees slightly bent. Land gently on your toes to reduce stress on your joints. Breathe in the rhythm of your jump. These jumps are called jumping jacks and are great for warm-ups and any cardio workout.

If jumping is contraindicated, instead of jumping, alternate between putting one leg out to the side and then the other. The hands move in sync.

How many to do: 20-25 jumps.

Stage 5: Restore Breathing

Do not forget to restore breathing after doing cardio exercises by taking a deep breath and exhaling for 30-60 seconds. Choose one or both of the exercises below.

1. Recovery Breathing with Tilt

HIIT Workout

Raise your straight arms above your head and inhale deeply. As you exhale, tilt your body and arms and exhale deeply with a full chest. Feel your pulse slow and your rapid breathing calm down.

How much to do: 8-10 inclinations.

2. Recovery Breathing with Squat

HIIT Workout

This exercise is best for those who feel dizzy when they tilt their head to the floor as in the previous exercise. Sit down with your arms crossed over your chest and take a deep breath. As you exhale, straighten up completely and raise your arms above your head.

Repeat as many times as necessary: 8-10 inclines.

Stage 6: Special warm-up

If you are going to do a lot of weight training, you should also do a special warm-up. It is aimed at maximum warming up of the muscles that will actively participate in the training. As part of a special warm-up, you should perform exercises from the main complex, but without weights or with a low weight (20-30% of the maximum).

Here is an example of a special warm-up. Let’s say you are going to do squats with an 80kg barbell. Before this exercise, you should perform a kneading approach for 10-15 repetitions with an empty neck or with a neck weight of 20-30% of the maximum weight.

A special warm-up should be performed immediately before the exercise or before training a whole group of muscles. Attention, a special warm-up does not replace a general warm-up before training! It is only one of the stages of the lesson, but it is very important.

We emphasize again that a specific warm-up is done after the general warm-up, not instead of it.

How do I warm up before running or other cardio workouts?

How to warm up properly before running or any other cardio workout? In this case, you should follow a very similar scheme: a small cardio warm-up for 2 minutes (running on the spot, light jumping rope) and then joint exercises + stretching. And only after that, go directly to cardio training, gradually increasing the intensity.

Many people think that it is not necessary to warm up before a cardio workout. This is not true. Running and jumping puts a lot of stress on your muscles, joints, and heart, so it is very dangerous to exercise without warming up. Just running and gradually increasing the intensity without warming up the joints and muscles is not enough! Be sure to do joint exercises and stretching before doing cardio.

Wherever you do it: at home, on the street or in the gym, be sure to warm up before you exercise, and then physical activity will bring you enjoyment, benefits and results.

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