Warm Up Drills For Athletes

Why Warm Up

Athletes need to warm up for specific activities in the training session.

Warm up drills are designed to prepare the body for the training session and improve the athlete’s ability to perform at a high level.

Proper warm up exercises will help develop the five bio-motor abilities as well as prepare for the daily work load.

  • Strength
  • Speed
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Coordination

Daily Warm Up Progression

Warm up exercises progress from general to specific movements and can include several elements.

Common Warm Up Elements

–       Dynamic flexibility

–       Hurdle mobility

–       Sprint drills

–       Plyometrics

–       Medicine ball throws

–       Event specific drills (speed, strength or endurance)

Warm Up Phases

Designing the start of a practice session for athletes includes warm up drills to prepare for the activities of the training session. The warm up is broken up into three phases.

Phase One- Low Intensity Exercises and Flexibility (4-6 minutes)

The start of the warm up is active with low intensity activities, such as arm circles, easy skipping or walking toe touches. The initial exercises are controlled, focusing on raising the body temperature slowly and developing a full range of motion from head to toe. The exercises are stationary or up to 30 meters in length. The recovery between exercises is about 10-20 seconds and the first phase of the warm up is about 3-5 minutes.

Phase Two- High Intensity Exercises (3-5 minutes)

Then the general activities will increase intensity and speed. Athletes will advance from the initial low intensity active exercises to more dynamic movements, such as A- skip, high knee running, bounding or medicine ball throws. The exercises during the second phase of the warm up  range from 20-40 meters, with a walk back recovery.

Phase Three- Event Specific Exercises (5-10 minutes)

The final phase of the warm up is event specific preparation activities. Coaches can add specific elements to the final phase of the warm up to develop speed, strength, or technique.

Sample General Routine (Warm Up Phase 1 and 2) 

Walking exercises 2×30 meters each

  • Walking quad stretch
  • Walking side lunges
  • Walking high kicks

Skipping 2×30 meters each

  • Skip forward for distance
  • Skip backward with leg extension

Jumps x10 each

  • Ski jumps over the lane line
  • 5 double leg hops

Throws x10 each

  • Medicine ball- kneeling overhead throw
  • Medicine ball- forward throw for distance

Acceleration Runs x4

  • 100 meters (start at 60%, build up 10% per 10 meters)

Sample Event Specific Exercises (Warm Up Phase 3)

High School Boys Shot Put (circuit x2)

  • X 10 repeat gliding to power position with barbell (45 lb.)
  • X 10 each way- kneeling shot put throws (10 lb.)
  • X 10 shot put throw for height (10 lb.)


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