Warming up helps you move better.

A good warm up will help you not only burn fat better but also improve your performance. Are you one of those who never really warms up before you workout because you don’t know what you should be doing? Today I’m going to educate you and tell you why you should start.

I'm going to be covering a lot so if you want to skip directly to the topics you have the most interest in simply click the associated link below and be taken right there.

Why You Should Warm Up Before You Workout

Getting injured, having nagging shoulder and knee pain is something nobody wants to deal with. Most injuries come from having poor mobility and not properly warming up before you workout. 

If you are a busy person I’m confident you getting to workout is a win in itself and you want to just get started because you don’t have a lot of time and you want to maximize every minute of it. If that’s you let me first offer you this:

We take all of the guesswork out of your warm ups, core work, strength training and workouts with our fitness programs so you don’t have to think about what you should be doing. 

why you should warm up before you workout
Warm up properly so your heart rate doesn't sky rocket

Is A Warm Up Important Before A Workout

It really is. Depending on how much time you have available to workout it looks different for everyone and may look something like this:

You have 10 minutes to workout:

Ten minutes isn’t a lot of time to workout but it’s better than nothing! I would encourage you to start off slow and gradually pick up the pace, intensity, and effort as each minute passes. Going from getting off work, taking the kids to sporting events and then trying to squeeze in a workout by going balls to the wall may not be the best idea and do more harm than good. 

  • Start off slow 
  • Gradually pick up your pace
  • Finish strong

You have 30 minutes to workout:

I understand you want to maximize every minute of the time you have but take just a few minutes to stretch your hips and shoulders. Most of us sit a lot and on a computer like I am right now. My back is tight, my shoulders would be rounded if I wasn’t aware of it (pulling them back as I type) and throwing yourself into a workout without warming up could put you at risk for injury. 

  • Take 3 - 5 minutes to stretch your hips and shoulders, try the two videos below:
If you sit a lot during the day, you need this in your life.
Find a way. to do this two minutes throughout your day. Your shoulders will thank you.
  • After taking a few minutes to stretch, get your heart rate up with a warm up geared towards the movements you will be doing. If you are thinking I don’t know what I’m going to be doing you want to change that. You want to have a focus and intention on which muscle groups you are working for the day. We help people with that. 

You have 60 - 90 minutes to workout:

This is how much time Katie and I dedicate to working out each day. We follow our K2 Crossfit Program. Since we focus on strength movements like squats, deadlifts, olympic lifts, etc it’s extremely important to not only mobilize but “prime” the Central nervous system. We take five to ten minutes to:

  • Mobilize the areas that are the most restricted or tight.
  • Go through a warm up that is geared towards the movements you are doing for the day.
  • Stretch and cool down after your workout.

Below I will give you specific examples on how to warm up for Shoulders, Back Squats, Deadlifts, and running. 

female working out
Does it look like I would lie to you? I didn't think so. We have your best interest!

Why Warming Up Can Help You Burn Fat

Have you ever heard of someone getting a “runners high” when running? You are either thinking “yes I have had that” or the complete opposite because you aren’t a runner. Regardless, here is what is going on:

When you go from nothing to working out three things happen:

  1. Your heart rate goes up
  2. Your level of oxygen you need to breathe in goes up
  3. Your carbon dioxide levels go up and you want your body to get rid of this as quickly as possible 

Remember the “runners high” I talked about earlier? This feeling essentially is what happens when your body is able to buffer out the amount of C02 in your body. When you begin working out your blood cells metabolize glucose (energy), carbon dioxide is released into the blood and causes:

  1. Increase in Carbon Dioxide & Hydrogen in the blood
  2. Which results in declining your PH levels and weakens your hemoglobin-oxygen bond

What you want is the Carbon Dioxide to get from your blood, to your lungs and out as quickly as possible. Essentially this makes your muscles more fatigued than they should be. When you get a runners high your body is able to effectively lower the amount of Carbon Dioxide in your body and you are able to now breathe Oxygen better. This is huge because this allows you to burn fat better. That’s why it’s important to do a proper warm up and now we will give you some examples below 🙂

warm up for a workout
Warm up properly to maximize performance like my man David Freeman

How To Warm Up For A Workout

I would encourage you to choose a few exercises and perform them in a rotating fashion performing each movement for 30 seconds for 4 minutes. Below we have given you eight easy bodyweight exercises you can pull from

You may perform this as a warm up:

  • Exercise # 1 - 30 seconds
  • Exercise # 2 - 30 seconds
  • Exercise # 3 - 30 seconds
  • Rest x 30 seconds 

Repeat one more time and on round two intentionally try a little harder. 

good warm for workout
We care about your success.

Eight Easy Exercises To Warm Up Before You Start Your Workout Routine

Now that you know how to warm up for a workout choose a few exercises and perform each one for 30 seconds and get moving! Comment below with which movement you enjoy the most. 

#1 Jump Rope

Hey, even if it's been awhile since you jumped rope...get you one!

#2 Jumping Jacks

#3 Alternating Step Up

You can do this from anywhere! Small step, curb, a chair, find a way!

#4 Quick Step Up

Great exercise to warm up your legs and get your heart rate up!

#5 Kettlebell Swing

Make sure to have good form if you use kettlebells frequently.

#6 Mountain Climber

This is a good exercise to do before you workout any day of the week.

#7 Squat Jump

Learn how to squat properly so you don't hurt your knees.

#8 Burpee

Learn how to do burpees properly. so they don't hurt your back or knees.
good warm up for a workout
Strength training 🙂 my favorite

Warm Up For Strength Workout

Warming up for strength training is a little different. As i mentioned before you want to make sure you mobilize first so you are able to get into the proper positions and then you want to get your body ready to lift!

Do this by training explosive movements like these three:

Rotational power is often missed in most fitness programs.
Plyometric skills and drill is also missed in most fitness programs.

You would want to perform movements like this with very short bursts. Something like:

Three sets:

  1. 10 seconds as hard as possible
  1. Rest x 10 seconds
how to warm up for a workout
Here goes nothing.

Warm Up For Shoulder Workout (Shoulder Presses, Jerks, Handstand, etc)

 Having stiff shoulders is something I know a lot about. After playing basketball for nearly 20 years (college and semi professional in the ABA) my shoulders needed a lot of work once I started lifting. 

They would always ache when I lifted. I needed to correct my motor patterns, do a ton of mobility exercises and essentially retrain my pressing movements.

Now before I do any shoulder workout I warm up with something like this:

Mobility & Shoulder Warm Up

Mobility (5 Minutes)

Perform each movement 30 - 60 seconds

Been sitting all day? Try this to help relieve back pain.
I stand by this being the best stretch for my upper back.
The more I do this the less my shoulders hurt.

Warm Up & Activation (5 Minutes)

Complete both shoulder series # one and two. 

We do this three days a week.
We also do this three days a week.

After you have completed your mobility, warm up, activation you want to begin to build in weight before getting to your first set. 

For example the piece pulled below is from our K2 Strength program offered in both our K2 Everyday Fitness Program and our K2 Crossfit Program. You wouldn’t want to just throw on 50% of your 1 rep max. 

We would want you to start with an empty barbell to master the form and then climb in weight, don’t take 5 sets to get there but maybe two or three. 

When warming up your shoulders really exaggerate the speed at which you are pressing to enforce the speed at which you will need to press at later when the barbell gets heavy.  

Strict Overhead Press

  1. 5 x @ 50%
  2. 5 x @ 60%
  3. 5 x @ 70%
  4. 3 x @ 85%
  5. 3 x @ 85%
  6. 3 x @ 85%
  7. 10 x @ 55%

Love detail and structure like this? We have a new strength cycle starting up soon be sure to join us and sign up!

warm up for strength workout
Warming up leads to happy and healthy shoulders 🙂

Three Exercises To Warm Up Your Shoulders

Here are three hidden gems to really warm up your shoulders:

Do 20 reps a day of these. They add up and promote good posture.
Have you ever done this? Try it.
Really good exercise to do before you workout your shoulders

Warm Up For Squat Workout

Warming up for Back Squat or  Front Squat is a little bit different.

The high bar Back Squat (what we train in our programs is a hip dominant exercise that requires a ton of ankle mobility and good open hips. If your hips are really tight, try this stretch.

Warming up for Back Squat or  Front Squat is a little bit different.

The high bar Back Squat (what we train in our programs is a hip dominant exercise that requires a ton of ankle mobility and good open hips. If your hips are really tight, try this stretch.

The Front Squat requires an upright torso, flexibility in the wrist, good range of motion in your lats, ankles, etc. It’s not easy to get into a front squat. But….here is what you need to do:

Mobility (5 Minutes)

Perform each movement 30 - 60 seconds

Simulate the position you want to improve.
The best stretches to help your shoulders if you spend a lot of time on the cpu.
Loosen up your hips and back with this one.

Warm Up & Activation (5 Minutes)

Now that you have freed up some range of motion you want to activate your glutes and get them ready to “fire” when squatting.

Two sets of:

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds 

  1. Single Leg Bridge Hold
  1. Banded Lateral Walk
  1. Banded Clamshell
  1. Side Plank Bounce
  1. Banded Pallof Hold

If you are having a hard time getting your hips below your knees it’s most likely because you have poor ankle dorsiflexion and I encourage you to try this and it will take pressure off of your back:

  1. Foam Roll Your Calves 
Always foam roll before you stretch

Do this for 60 seconds per side. When you have tight calves we have to get the muscle fibers to loosen up before we stretch them.

  1. Stretch Your Calves 
I do this stretch all through the day and you should too.

Do this for 60 seconds per side. Now we want to lengthen your muscles. I talk about having full range of motion all the time. Having “mobile” ankles and calves will unlock your performance. 

  1. Free Up Some Range Of Motion 

Do this for 60 seconds per side. We loosened up your calves which those two alone will help your squat feel better but now I want to try something you probably haven’t before. Grab a band, and let’s work on a “banded distraction at the joint” it’s a cheap way to get some assistance like a Physical Therapist would to help increase your range of motion.

  1. Retrain Your Squat 
Do this to improve your ankle dorsi flexion

Stretch your achilles and then after completing this series I bet your squat feels A LOT better. If you still aren’t able to get into a good position, try the assisted version.

*We provide proper warm ups, stretching protocols, and drills like the ones above within our training programs everyday. We care about quality movement, and training hard to help you reach your goals.

After you have completed your mobility, warm up, activation you want to begin to build in weight before getting to your first set. 

For example the piece pulled below is from our K2 Strength program offered in both our K2 Everyday Fitness Program and our K2 Crossfit Program. You wouldn’t want to just throw on 65% of your 1 rep max. 

We would want you to start with an empty barbell to master the form and then climb in weight, don’t take 5 sets to get there but maybe two or three. 

When warming up your squat really focus keeping an upright torso, screwing your feet into the floor and opening your hips. 

Always master the form first.

Take 10-12 Minutes To Complete:

Back Squat

  1. 5 x @ 65%
  2. 5 x @ 75%
  3. 4 x @ 80%
  4. 1 x @ 90%

Then complete:

Back Squat 3 x 5 @ 77.5% 

Love detail and structure like this? We have a new strength cycle starting up soon be sure to join us and sign up!

run warm up
A good warm up before you workout matters.

Three Exercises To Warm Up For Squat Workout

Here are three hidden gems to really warm up for squats:

If you struggle with mobility you need to spend more time in that position.
One of my favorite hip opening exercises that we all need in our life.
Probably one of the best stretches on the planet.
warm up for deadlift
Remember why started in the first place.

Warm Up For Deadlift Workout

Deadlifts are probably one of my favorite movement patterns to master. When you master the “hinge” and do exercises such as romanian deadlifts it really opens the doors for you to keep your training fun with a lot of variety. BUT if you can’t get into a good spinal position you can really put yourself at risk for injury. 

Insert photo of rounded back versus good position

Here is an example of an exact warm up pulled from our K2 Fitness Program that you should do before you deadlift next:

Mobility (5 Minutes)

Perform each movement 30 - 60 seconds

Don't neglect this one
A great way to warm up your back and hamstings
Use this for squat, deadlift or run warm ups. It's a go to movement of ours.

Warm Up & Activation (5 Minutes)

Now that you have done some dynamic exercises and freed up some range of motion you want to activate your glutes and get them ready to “fire” for deadlifts.

Complete:

  1. Row x 250 meters
  1. 20 x Banded Good Morning
  1. 10 x Strict Pull Up 
  1. Row x 200 meters
  1. 20 x Kettlebell Swing
  1. 5 x Strict Pull Up 

If kettlebell swings hurt your back it’s likely because you aren’t in a good position and aren't’ squeezing your glutes. Try doing these three movements instead to learn the positions first.

Learn to move properly first.
Now start to simulate the deadlift mechanics.
Good warm up exercise for deadlifts. Actually, it's one of our favorites.

After you have completed your mobility, warm up, activation you want to begin to build in weight before getting to your first set. 

For example the piece pulled below is from our K2 Strength program offered in both our K2 Everyday Fitness Program and our K2 Crossfit Program. You wouldn’t want to just throw on 65% of your 1 rep max. 

We would want you to start with an empty barbell to master the form and then climb in weight, don’t take 5 sets to get there but maybe two or three. 

When warming up your deadlift really focus on keeping the tension on the barbell, feeling tension in your hamstrings and keep your spine in a good position.

Always make sure you are lifting with good form.

Deadlift

  1. 5 x @ 65%
  2. 3 x @ 75%
  3. 3 x @ 77.5%
  4. 2 x @ 82.5%
  5. 1 x @ 85%
  6. 3 sets x 3 @ 80%

Last week 3 x 2 a@ 80% today we increased a rep. You got this! 

Love detail and structure like this? We have a new strength cycle starting up soon be sure to join us and sign up!

Three Exercises To Warm Up For Deadlift Workout

Here are three hidden gems to really warm up for deadlifts:

Good way to loosen up your hamstrings and calves.
Do these right after your inchworm walkouts.
Good warm up exercise for your hamstrings, glutes and lats.
Run workout program
Want to get faster? Warm up your hamstring properly.

Warm Up For A Running Workout

If you don’t warm up before you run you need to start. I talked earlier about how a proper warm up can help you burn fat by buffering the amount of Carbon Dioxide in your body so let me give you the tools!

A good running training program has a variety of endurance, intervals, fartlek training, sprints, etc and your run warm up needs to be tailored to each of those training modalities. 

Here is an example of an exact warm up pulled from our K2 Fitness Program for a sprint workout:

Mobility (5 Minutes)

Perform each movement 30 - 60 seconds

Warm Up & Activation (5 Minutes)

The calf negatives is something that isn’t done enough. The movement really strengthens your achilles and that’s something we all need to do more of. I have seen too many injuries in adults who want to get back into running and end up hurting their ankle, knees, and getting shin splints from doing too much at once. Side note: This is why it’s so important to follow a progressive run program. 

Warm Up (10-15 Minutes)

Two sets of:

  1. Run x 200 meters
  1. Jog x 200 meters

Two sets of:

  1. 30 seconds x A/B/C Skip
  1. 10 x Lateral Skip
  1. 10 x Single Leg Bound

Primer:

Four sets of:

  1. Sprint x 20 seconds + Jog x 45 seconds

After you have completed your mobility, warm up, prime you want to begin to build in weight before getting to your first set. 

For example the piece pulled below is from our K2 Run program offered in both our K2 Everyday Fitness Program and our K2 Crossfit Program

run warm up
Now you are free to let it fly

Option A (Beginner & Intermediate)

Six Sets:

  1. Run x 45 seconds fast
  2. Run x 90 seconds faster
  3. Rest x 2 minutes

Option B (Advanced)

Eight sets:

  1. Run x 200 Meters @ Fast Pace
  2. Run x 400 Meters @ Sprint Pace
  3. Rest x 90 seconds

Workout notes: 

We are going to begin to build your strength and your body’s ability to push the pace.  Take it one set at a time, drink water and branch chain amino acids between your sets. With only 90 seconds between sets your legs and lungs are going to get tight, and that’s okay. Day 1 of a new run cycle, start off strong!

If you like detail and structure like this we have a new run training cycle starting up soon be sure to join us and sign up!

Conclusion

We educated you why it’s important to warm up for a workout so you can burn fat more efficiently, we talked about why it’s important to warm up. We shared with you sample warm ups to do before you squat, deadlift, work your shoulders and run.

  • Ready to take your training to the next level?
  • Ready to take the guesswork out of your workouts?
  • Ready to get stronger? 
  • Ready to get faster?

Join one of our fitness programs and get started today for as little as $1! 

See you on the inside 🙂

male and female working out
Your coaches Kevin & Katie

Other Topics You May Like:

Full Body Crossfit Workout

At Home Crossfit Workouts

5 Exercises You Need To Be Doing For A Killer Leg Workout

Comment below with your greatest take away from everything!

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