3 Key elements that make a high performance warm-up

1. Activate, don't pacify! - Avoid sleepy and boring warm ups -


"So, jog around the field two times and sit down for 10 minutes and do static stretches." No way! 

We would have just spent a total of 15-20 minutes of valuable practice time doing stuff that does not optimally activate the body or the mind for the practice or the game. If you have been doing "slogging" (slow jogging) and the same seated hamstring stretches as a warm-up for the past 8 years, it might be time for a change and I will tell you why. The "passive warm-up" radically underestimates what our bodies and our minds need for optimal warm-up and activation.

After the warm-up the athletes should have elevated their level of physical preparedness as well as mental level of focus. According to studies some warm-ups increase the performance by up to 20% and some decrease the performance by up to 17%. What kind of a warm-up would you like for your team?

2. Sequence it! - Use a pre-movement check list to turn on all the systems -


"Wing condition: check. Fuel quantity: check. Flight controls: check. Runway ready: check."

When the pilot getting ready for take-off, he checks all the systems of the plane and turns each one of them on while going through a step by step check list. We can use this concept for movement preparation as well. But what does the check list for a dynamic warm-up look like?

Well, here is one example.

A) Flexibility and mobility of each of the six anatomical stations: check.

B) Stability and proprioception by activating the nervous system: check.

C) Fundamental movement pattern activation: check

D) Elastic elements preparedness with low to medium level plyometrics: check. 

E) Rehearsing the movement and locomotion skills related to the activity: check.

3. Be consistent in long-term! - An enormous accumulative training effect -


How many practices you or your team have per week? How about in a year? Imagine the accumulative training effect of a 15-minute dynamic warm-up routine 3-5 times a week for 365 days. That is what I call a great tool for long-term athletic development. Step by step you are taking your athletes to a greater level in flexibility, core strength, speed and agility and it is all built-in in your practice routine.

With correct progressions in exercises you can do a really big portion of your supplemental training and conditioning within your regular movement preparation. How many times do we complain that we don't have time for doing everything; injury prevention, speed training, strength and flexibility and so on. Let me ask you this: Is there an any easier way to include vital part of training in your sport than this?   

Stay activated!

Tommi the Trainer

The Dynamic Warm-up revolution



Active and dynamic warm-ups and movement preparation routines are replacing the old and the mentally and physically more passive warming up practices. The general idea of (just) elevating the body temperature by slow jogging followed by a few static stretches is being revolutionized by a more focused and involved movement preparation.

An athlete spends between 10-20 minutes a day preparing the body for the competition or practice. This time accumulates slowly but surely and functions not only as a primer for the sport performance but as an opportunity to learn and develop various motor skills.

The activation of the movement system correctly prior to sport performance or practice has been found crucially important. Discover Movement has been researching and developing optimal warm-up and movement preparation protocols for years.



A systematized approach helps the coach and the athlete in practical execution of the warm-up. The correct sequence of the phases also improves the results gained from the active warm up routine.

The objective of the system is to elevate the body's ability to provide a desired training stimulation and ensure that the provided training transfers into a training adaptation. Thus, the dynamic movement preparation should improve the absorption of training on neuro-muscular, cardio-vascular as well as metabolic levels.    

Discover Movement Dynamic Warm-up consists of six phases that are designed individually for each athlete's goals in mind. The following gives a general idea of the dynamic warm-up sequence. Each athlete and each sport requires often slightly different warm-up exercise routine. 

CONTACT us for help in designing the optimal dynamic warm-up routine for your athlete or team.

Skipping + carioca = Skippioca dynamic warm up

I learned some fantastic locomotion patterns from Todd Wright from the University of Texas basketball program.

As a part of the dynamic warm routine it important to stimulate both the mind and the body and even the spirit. These movement patterns will do exactly that, they will challange the coordination, make you focus, build your athleticism and make you laugh in the process.

Here is a short sample of one locomotion pattern called skippioca, which combines the movements of carioca and skip. Try them out. I felt ridiculously uncoordinated myself in the beginning but I am getting better and so are my athletes.  


You can get more brilliant information about movement and athleticism from www.train4thegame.com
Thank you Todd!

Tommi the Trainer

PS: Coordination is the act of coordinating, making different people or things work together for a goal or effect. Wikipedia.

The Worlds Greatest Stretch - Dynamic Warm-up

I remember it like it was yesterday... I attended a functional training seminar several years ago and saw Mark Verstegen present on the subject of Movement Preparation and Dynamic Warm-up. It was not like I hadn't tried or heard about it before but during those hands-on workshops my eyes (and my hips) opened to see the potential of an optimal activation and preparation sequence of the movement system.

The "worlds greatest stretch" was an essential part of Mark's movement preparation sequence. It was one of those concepts that got absorbed by my brain and my body very well. Several years now, some of the same dynamic flexibility sequences are still in use in our programs and they are still producing the desired results of increased active range of motion and activation of the correct muscle groups prior to training or sports.


Thanks Mark!

Tommi "The Trainer"

Shoulder stability and upper body plyometrics

How many times and with how much power a tennis player hits the ball during the game?

What is the true impact of a golf swing on the shoulders and arms?

In how many different positions a goalie of any sport has to demonstrate upper body strength and stability while receiving the forces of a fast flying ball or a puck?   

These are the questions that I am pondering when designing exercise programs for athletes of specific sports. I try to go through a process of analyzing the upper body movements and the arm positions that my athletes need to be able to generate force through.

Today's weekly warm-up is a demonstration of speed ladder exercises for the upper body. It is a mix of shoulder stability and upper body plyometrics.

Take care and brace yourself for impact!



Medicine ball rotational throws for warm-up

Some of the most powerful anatomical and neurological linkages within the body are crossing over the body's center line. They are involved with rotational movement patterns.

Most movements that require power in sports are rotational, such as running, throwing, kicking or punching.  


So how to activate the essential muscle connections that are involved in rotation?

In other words, what kind of exercises might help us prepare for rotational sports or even for a functional conditioning workout?

Here are some of the rotational medicine ball wall throws that we really like as a part of the dynamic warm up.

Recommended reading for accurate anatomical descriptions of the myofascial connections: Anatomy Trains by Thomas Myers. 


PS: Check out Discover Movement Facebook page and become a friend!

Three must-exercises for rotational sports

Does your sport involve rotation?

If you answered no, I would like to ask for a permission to prove you wrong.

Why such an overly confident attitude about the issue?

Probably because pretty much every human activity involves rotation in some level. Most of the sports certainly do. Running is rotation, throwing is rotation, hopping is rotation, catching is rotation, kicking is rotation and so on...

Training the component of rotation is crucial as is of course the ability to eliminate rotation at times.

Here are three rotational movements perfomed in a cable column:

1. As part of a comprehensive dynamic warm-up sequence

2. As part of a strength and conditioning program (with heavier loads)

Life is a rotational activity!


PS: Remember to do both sides (left and right) so that you won't be walking in a circle post-workout :-)

FUNctional warm-up games and drills with bean bags

"The more boring the exercise is, the more effective it must be. "

"Games and drills are for recreational use only, not for real athletes. "

"Focused athletes do not have fun while training for serious goals."

"No laughing!"



We would use these reactive and task-specific bean bag exercises after...

1. Dynamic Flexibility

2. Muscle Activation/Stability

3. Movement Skill Practice (For example overhead squat, lunge, single leg squat or hand stance)

Have fun!


PS: "The only way a kid is going to practice is if it's total fun for him... and it was for me."
Wayne Gretzky