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The Best Warm-up Exercise For Each of These High-Intensity Sports

Boxing, Crossfit, Fitness


Whatever sport you’re into, you know that warming up is important, right? There’s an entire routine, several routines can follow to get yourself prepped and ready to go.

 But sometimes you just need a little bit of inspiration to get started. We’ve picked 15 high-impact sports, and detailed the best warm-up exercise for each, as a starting point to get you on the road to a safer, more efficient and effective workout.

Warm-up exercise for high-impact sports

 Ready?

 Let’s go!

CrossFit

As a CrossFit athlete you’re going to be using your entire body, putting it under a pretty significant amount of stress, and moving in lots of dynamic and explosive ways.

 A lot of CrossFit movements rely on a strong core, and one of the keys to a strong core is a loose back.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your lower back

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Jefferson curls. Take an empty barbell and stand with it hanging in normal finished deadlift position. Without breaking form, curl yourself down to a folded position, so that the bar touches as close as possible to your feet. Repeat 10-15 times. 

Tip: Jump rope is also an awesome way to warm up for almost any sport. Check out the Velites range of jump ropes to see which is right for you.

Velites Jump Ropes high intensity sports

The Earth rope is a great option if you’re looking to build muscle and stamina, and incorporate jump rope into your workouts.

MMA

Rolling around on the floor, grappling, striking and isometrics movements are hallmarks of MMA. It’s a total body workout and there’s no one part of your body you can focus on. It’s all important.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your entire body.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Burpees. You all know how to do burpees. Do lots of them and get warm.

Road cycling

Hips warming up for road cycling
Cycling can take its toll on your legs, hips and back, and if we had to pick just one to start warming up, it would have to be your hips.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your hips.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Couch stretch. Loose hips are going to help take some of the pressure out of your lower back, too, so build up three minutes of couch stretch on either side before starting your ride.

Football

Another high-impact sport where loose hips are an absolute must-have. If you’ve ever seen footballers warming up, you’ll have noticed how much time they spend on their hips. Lots of running, lots of kicking. Makes sense.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your hips.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Leg swing. Hold onto something and swing your leg forwards and backwards, then side to side. Move in as many different directions as possible.

Rugby

Common injuries in rugby involve the knees and shoulders. Partly because of the impact, but partly because of the stress placed on them during play. We’re going with knees for now.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your knees

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Air squats. If you have knee protection, please wear it, and make sure that air squats are a part of your warm-up routine.

Climbing

Shoulders warming up for climbing
Climbing requires a tremendous amount of strength and stamina, and while we would say that wrists are the most important consideration, in this instance, we’re going with shoulders.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your shoulders.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Dead hangs and pull-ups. Get your shoulders used to taking your weight for long periods before moving again, by finding a bar and hanging from it for 20 seconds, then performing 5-10 pull-ups.

Swimming

A lot of novice swimmers don’t realise how demanding swimming can be on your muscles. We’re talking about your back in particular and the need to get it ready.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your back

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Resistance bands. Make sure you stretch beforehand as well, and then use resistance bands to active all of those muscles in your back prior to getting into the water.

Warm-up exercises for high impact sports - Mitchell Adams

Basketball

Here’s another sport where knee injuries are common. Basketball players turn on a dime, and if your knees aren’t properly warmed up, there could be trouble.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your knees

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Lunges and turns. Do a few laps of the court lunging, and make a point of moving your lower legs from side to side to get the joints used to moving.

Hockey

Lower back warming up for hockey
With all of that bending and twisting, it’s easy to get a lower back injury playing hockey.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your lower back.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Med-ball sit-ups/Russian twists. Use a light medicine ball and while in a sit-up position, pass it from one side to the other, as well as overhead.

You can also try throwing it into the wall and catching it from a side-on position.

Gymnastics

Few things will hamper your performance here more than weak or stiff wrists. Warming them up properly is essential.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your wrists.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Push-ups. Not only will push-ups get your wrists used to taking your weight, they’ll also activate your core and back muscles.

Running

Seems pretty clear that you need to be warming up your legs before running, right? But how?

What’s your main area of focus?

Your legs and calves

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Basic runner’s stretch and hamstring stretch. Push yourself into a wall and kick one leg back at a time, stretching out your calf. For your hamstrings, try the Jefferson curl mentioned at the start.

Kayaking

Shoulders warming up for kayaking
Fighting currents for long periods of time can be tough on your shoulders, so make sure they’re warmed up.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your shoulders.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Dumbbell butterfly rows. Use light dumbbells, just to get your muscles use to moving load in all directions.

Rowing

Like swimming, rowing takes a toll on your entire body, and can be surprisingly tough on your hips and lower back.

What’s your main area of focus?

Lower back and hips.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Couch stretch. Loosen up that lower body and you’ll increase your reach and enjoy better technique.

Tennis

We could go with knees again, and your knees are very important to protect in tennis, but your elbows are just as important (tennis elbow, anyone?).

What’s your main area of focus?

Your elbows.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Resistance bands. Set up a band around a pole and pull back with both hands, activating the muscles in your back, shoulders and your elbow joints. This will help get the blood flowing, too.

Surfing

Hips warming up for surfing
Surfing’s simple, right? Just stand and balance. Wrong. Surfing is tough on the whole body, especially the back and hips.

What’s your main area of focus?

Your hips.

The best warm-up exercise for you is…

Hip circles. Do this on the beach before getting in the water. Stick one leg out in front and rest on the other knee. Work the hip in slow circles, one way, then the other. Work for about a minute either side.

So, there’s a lot to cover whatever sport you’re into, but knowing where to focus your attention first, can be a real time saver, and lead to a safer, more enjoyable time.

Is your favourite sport here? Let us know, and tag a friend who you think needs to spend more time warming up.

Picture: CrossFit Athlete Inside

High impact sports - Vrope Fire 2.0

Graeme Keeton

Written by Graeme Keeton

Graeme is a copywriter based in the United Kingdom. He provides the copy for our social media channels and newsletter, in addition to articles covering the CrossFit scene in Europe and the U.S.

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