What all warm-up exercises should you do before your workout?

Everything you need to know about pre-workout stretching

Madhav Bahl
6 min readMay 15, 2023

A little bit about my mission

Past year, I was learning all about fitness and nutrition, and now I create content about Fitness (as well as tech) on my YouTube channel, if you haven’t subscribed yet, do check it out — TheLeanProgrammer

I see it as my mission to help working professionals get fit and grow in their career, and as a part of this mission, I’m creating various videos/blogs on common fitness questions that can help you out.

If you want to learn more about this, keep following my journey ✨

Let’s discuss about stretching

One biggest mistake I see people making in the gym is — they come to gym and directly start lifting heavy in excitement.

We’ve all been there, I’ve been too, let me tell you a real story that happend with me — one of my friends was doing deadlifts (110kg), and I just came to the gym.

Seeing him got me excited and I didn’t do any warm up, I just got there all hyped up and started lifting 100+ without any warm up.

Even though my form was clean, yet I started feeling lower back pain due to which I had to take rest for around a week.

Why am I telling you this — so that you don’t make this mistake ever!

Prefer watching instead of reading?

If you prefer watching videos instead of reading, here’s the YouTube video for the same —

Well, even I prefer reading instead of watching, but you can’t just read out the exercises, so this time I’d say if you have time, just go through my YouTube video (it’s just 7–8 mins long).

But, if you prefer reading, here you go!

Importance of warming up before workout

As I said above, you shouldn’t start lifting before proper warm up. But why?

Here are two reasons —

  1. Before you start your workout, it’s important to take the time to stretch your muscles. This helps to warm them up, increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, and prepare them for the upcoming activity. When you stretch before a workout, you’re reducing the risk of injury by making sure your muscles are ready to handle the stress of exercise.
  2. Stretching also helps to improve your range of motion, making it easier to perform exercises with proper form. This, in turn, can help to improve your performance and allow you to push yourself harder during your workout. By stretching beforehand, you’re also helping to reduce soreness and stiffness that can occur post-workout.

Types of stretching

There are two types of stretching in general

  1. Dynamic stretching
  2. Static stretching

Dynamic stretching involves moving your body through a range of motion, such as leg swings or arm circles. This type of stretching is great for getting your blood flowing and warming up your muscles.

Static stretching involves holding a stretch for a period of time, such as touching your toes or holding a quad stretch. This type of stretching is better suited for after your workout, but can still be helpful in a pre-workout warm-up.

Static stretching before workout can be… bad!?

Static stretching involves holding a stretch in a stationary position for an extended period of time. While it can be beneficial for increasing flexibility and reducing muscle tension, it’s generally not recommended before a workout.

Static stretching can actually decrease muscular power and performance. Some people also believe that holding a stretch for more than 30 seconds can cause a decrease in muscle strength and power for up to an hour afterwards.

This is because stretching in a static position can cause a temporary lengthening of the muscle fibers, which can reduce their ability to produce force.

In contrast, dynamic stretching involves movement through a range of motion and has been shown to be more effective for warming up muscles and preparing them for exercise.

Dynamic stretching can help to increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, which can improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.

So, now you know — you have to do dynamic stretching before workout, but what all exercises can you do to warm up your body pre-workout? Let’s see some.

Warm up movements before upper body session

Do any 3–4 of them -

  1. Jumping
Jumping is good before every workout session

2. Cat-camel

Cat camels are good for lower back
Cat camels are good for lower back

3. Cobra to mountain

Cobra to mountain is also good for lower back
Cobra to mountain is also good for lower back

4. Prone walkout

Prone walkout is a little more difficult than it looks
But it’s fun
Try to do at least 10–12 reps before you session

5. Shoulder dislocates with PVC pipe or stick

Do this before every shoulder workout
Very good exercise for mobility

6. Push-ups (with variations)

These are the basic ones, but feel free to add many push up variations to your pre-workout warm up routine
I like doing clap push ups and archer push ups

7. T-spine hold

Another variation — you can add shoulder taps to this as well

8. World’s greatest stretch

Again, it’s more difficult than it looks

Warm up movements before lower body session

Again, just do any 3–4 of them (it’s also a good idea to do cycling or treadmill for 5–10 mins before a lower body session)

  1. Jumping
Jumping is good before every workout

2. Cat-camel

You can add cat camel to lower body sessions too
You can add cat camel to lower body sessions too

Cat-camel is a good warm up routine for lower back which you can do on lower body sessions as well

3. Kickbacks

Kickbacks are good to activate your glutes and hamstrings.

4. Donkey-Kicks

Another variation of kickback — donkey kickback

5. Cobra to mountain

Again, cobra to mountain can be involved in lower body sessions as well.

6. Warm up in lunges position

Good to warm up your quads

7. Leg swing

Leg swings are good for mobilitiy.

8. Squats

How many body-weight squats can you do? Tell me in comments

These were only a few examples of the warm up exercises that you can do before your workout, but I think you got the idea and can figure out more on your own.

There are many more warm up exercises for both upper body and lower body that you can add to your routine, let me know if you want me to do a video specifically on them.

So, there you have it, all the information you need about pre-workout warm up. I hope you found this helpful.

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Once again, I’m on a mission to help working professionals get fit and grow in their career. If you think I can help in any way, feel free to reach out -

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Email: theleanprogrammer@gmail.com



Madhav Bahl

I help 90,000 students and software professionals enhance their lifestyle, stay fit and grow in career 🚀