When you’re trying to squeeze in a quick HIIT routine or speedy full-body strength workout, the last thing you probably want to do is tack on an extra five-minute warm-up. But just a few simple warm-up exercises can make a pretty big difference when it comes to your performance and recovery.
“Warming up before a workout is extremely important,” says fitness instructor and trainer at bande Mindy Lai. “When your muscles are cold, they are harder to move. If you hop into a class with zero warm-up or stretch, chances are you’ll walk out with an injury.”
Beyond injury prevention, easing in with a warm-up can activate your central nervous system and help prepare your body for movement.
Lai also adds that without an adequate warm-up “you won’t get the most out of your workout, because you won’t be able to move as limberly from the beginning of class.” In other words, kicking things off with some dynamic movement can help support your mobility and range of motion.
While you may be tempted to do some static stretching beforehand, your best choice is opting for dynamic exercises, which get your muscles and joints moving.
Ready to give it a try? Pick four to five of the dynamic warm-up exercises below, demonstrated by Lai. Be sure to focus on whichever moves will best prepare your body for the workout ahead (think lower body, upper body, etc.). Not only will you physically feel better, but you’ll also feel mentally ready to take on your routine!