The 10-move dynamic warm-up drill gets the whole body ready for activity, mobilising joints, activating muscles and preparing the mind and body for exercise. Perform this before any workout you do to help activate the muscles and nerves ready for exercise. Go through the movements continuously from start to finish, performing each 10 times, and then repeat. Gradually increase the speed and range of each exercise, starting gently and slowly, and building to a more dynamic movement.
Cats and dogs
This is a popular yoga movement and is excellent for getting the whole spine moving.
Start on all fours with your knees and hands directly under your hips and shoulders.
Let your chest sink to the floor and your lower back arch. Feel your tummy move towards the floor. Look up to the ceiling as you do this.
Then pull your tummy inwards and upwards, round your upper back, and move through a full range of motion. Let gravity take your head, and relax your neck muscles.
To further mobilise your neck, move to a standing position.
Look over your left shoulder, then the right. Then allow your chin to relax onto your chest.
Take your left ear to your left shoulder, then the right ear to the right shoulder.
Upper body PNF (shoulder and trunk)
PNF patterns use spiral and diagonal movements to get as many muscles into the movement as possible. They also make great exercises, as well as warm-up movements.
Start with your arms crossed over each side of your knees, palms facing backwards.
Extend and stand up from this position. As you do this, rotate your arms as if you were drawing a sword. Feel your body opening out and, as your arms extend, turn your thumbs upwards and backwards.
Return to the start position and repeat.
This movement recreates an age-old pattern and follows on perfectly from the PNF patterns.
Interlock both hands together as if clasping an axe overhead.
Bring both hands down and across your body as if chopping wood with an axe.
Coordinate your breathing with each axe chop.
Keep the movement in both directions controlled and focus on bending from the hips as opposed to the upper back.
This classic of warm-up movements targets the muscles of the torso that control and generate rotation.
Take your arms up to shoulder height.
Rotate your trunk to the left and then to the right.
Allow your hips to move; most of the rotation should come from your upper back. Do not force your lower back into rotation.
This is another classic and effective movement.
Place your hands by your sides, keeping good posture.
Keeping your trunk upright, bend over to each side of the body.
This movement will fire up the hips for action and also help activate the core muscles. However, take care to do the movement properly. Focus on not bending forwards in the upper back when you do it. This exercise is basically marching on the spot. Use your arms in an exaggerated marching motion to help target the shoulders as well.
Lift your knee up until your thigh is parallel with the ground.
Keep your torso upright.
Find something to lean on for balance when starting out on this exercise. You can use a wall or sturdy chair for support.
Start by taking your leg back from standing. Keep good posture when you do this and do not arch the lower back.
Using the muscles at the front of your hip, swing your leg through and upwards. Do not force this movement.
As your leg swings back, allow your knee to bend, bringing your heel towards your backside.
Lunging is a really dynamic movement and a great general exercise to get the large muscles of the hip and legs moving in a functional pattern.
Start with your feet hip/shoulderwidth apart.
Lunge forwards, keeping your torso upright and your knee over your toes.
Squat and throw
The final movement of the warm-up drill is a combination of a squat exercise with a throwing movement.
During the descent, allow your arms to drop between your legs (you can do this using a medicine ball, dumbbell or similar resistance).
As you extend back up, bring your arms overhead as if you were throwing an object behind you (if you are using a weight, don’t actually throw it).
Remember, start each movement slowly, and gradually build up speed and range of motion with each repetition. Do each movement 10 times (on each side) before moving onto the next. Go through the whole drill and then repeat it. Take care to control each movement and not to bounce into any drill, as this can cause damage to muscles.