A proper warm-up routine is a vital component of any athletic participation. The intent of this activity is two-fold: 1) warm the body’s muscles and soft tissues for optimum performance and 2) reduce the risk of injury from overloading inadequately prepared muscles.

Traditional warm-up routines have incorporated static stretches. These prolonged holds are designed to increase the length and flexibility of specific muscles or muscle groups. Recent evidence, however, suggests that static stretching prior to activity actually inhibits performance. Static stretches are still useful as part of a cool-down routine, but doing them as part of a warm-up routine may actually be more detrimental than beneficial.

A ‘dynamic warm-up routine’ is a more useful way of preparing the body for athletic involvement. Dynamic stretches target the same muscle groups, but instead incorporate only 1-2 second holds. The intent of these movements is to promote muscular flexibility in a way that prepares the body for similar movements during the activity or sport.

Warm-up: A full body warm-up routine (i.e. brisk walking, light jogging, jump rope) of approximately five minutes should precede the dynamic stretching series.

Perform each activity for approximately 30 yards, 1-2x each

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Heel Walk - Toe - DynamicHeel Walk: Lift toes and step forward onto heel. Slowly lower foot and toes down. Alternate legs as you walk.

Toe Walk: Step forward and rise up onto your toes as you walk forward.

Walking Knee Tuck - Dynamic

Standing on one leg, grab the knee of the opposite leg and pull toward your chest until a stretch is felt in the gluts. Keep head and chest upright. Hold stretch for 1-2 seconds. Step forward and pull knee to chest with other leg. Alternate legs as you walk forward.

Walking Quadricep Pull - dynamic

Standing on one leg, bend the opposite knee and bring your heel toward your bottom. Grab the ankle and pull until a gentle stretch is felt in the front of the thigh. Hold stretch for 1-2 seconds. Alternate legs as you walk forward.

Walking Hamstring -  dynamic

In a forward walking motion, kick one leg straight out in front of you and reach for toes with the opposite hand until a stretch is felt in the back of your thigh. Keep your back straight and roll from heel to toe on the stance leg. Alternate legs as you walk forward.

Stretching Lunge - dynamic

Begin with feet shoulder width apart. Step forward with the left foot. Bend left knee, keeping the knee in line with the second toe of the foot. A gentle stretch should be felt in front of the right hip. Hold stretch for 1-2 seconds. Return to standing by stepping up and forward. Repeat with right foot. Alternate legs as you walk forward.

Walking Figure 4 - dynamic

Standing on one leg, lift the foot of the opposite leg toward the middle of your body. Grasp the knee and foot and pull toward your chest until a stretch is felt in the gluts. Keep head and chest upright. Hold stretch for 1-2 seconds. Alternate legs as you walk forward.

Grapevine Carioca - dynamic

Keep shoulders square, facing forward. Cross the right leg in front of the left, then step with the left to the side, cross right leg behind left, and then step left leg to the side. Continue this sequence, gradually increasing quickness but remaining in control. Shoulders and head should remain perpendicular to the direction of movement. Repeat in opposite direction.

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