Warm Up Progression For Athletes

How to Warm Up For Sports

Warm up organization

Warm up design is important as training design.  Each warm up should have a theme and purpose to help develop bio-motor abilities; event specific needs and prepare for the training session.

There are many reasons why a proper warm up for athletes is needed.

Building endurance, flexibility and coordination are common themes in the general preparation phase. The focus on speed and strength is commonly developed during the warm up in the competition phase.

Event specific training is done year around, starting with specific endurance  during the specific preparation phase then specific strength during the competition phase. Finally, specific speed is refined during the peak phase.

Warm Up Progression (week 1 to week 12)

Training phases and bio-motor focus (3 weeks per phase)

  • Phase 1- General Preparation: endurance
  • Phase 2- Specific Preparation: coordination and flexibility
  • Phase 3- Competition: strength
  • Phase 4- Peak: speed

All bio-motor abilities are part of the daily warm up, however, each phase can have a focus to develop within the training plan.

Warm Up Time

-Short duration (8-12 minutes) to longer duration (13-20 minutes)

* Warm up time can vary depending on climate, fitness level, training volume/intensity and other individual factors.


-Short recovery between exercises to longer recovery

Exercises Type

-General movements to more sports specific movements

-Vary the exercises and order from week to week

Volumes and Intensity

  • High volume and low intensity during the general preparation
  • Medium to high volume and high intensity during the specific preparation
  • Medium volume and medium intensity during the competition and peak

Competition Warm Up

Athletes use the same exercises for competition warm up, however, since the intensity of competition is greater than training, a more intense and longer warm up is required. It is best to experiment with various warm up lengths and intensities to develop the best individual or team warm up plan.


A proper warm up will prepare athletes for the daily training session, improve bio-motor abilities, develop event specific skills and help prevent injuries.

-Sample Warm Up Variation (12 week plan)

Track and Field Sprinters

Phase Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4
Length 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks 3 weeks
Training Volume 1320 meters 780 meters 530 meters 430 meters
Recovery 15 seconds 30 seconds 2 minutes 3 minutes
EXERCISE Sets/reps Sets/reps Sets/reps Sets/reps
Walking lunges 2x30m 2x30m 1x20m
Backward lunges 2x30m 2x20m 1x20m
Walking quad stretch 2x30m 2x30m 2x20m 2x20m
Walking hamstring curl 2x30m 2x30m 2x20m 2x20m
Jogging grapvine 4x30m 2x30m 2x20m
Skip for distance 4x30m 2x30m 2x20m
Backward skips 4x30m 2×30
Walking high kicks 4x30m 2x30m 2x20m 2x20m
Max V skip 2x20m 2x20m
Fast leg- single 2x20m 2x20m
Accelerations 10%+ 10m  6x100m 6x60m 5x50m 3x50m


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