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A Daily General Warm-Up Routine

A retired Marine, Kevin incorporates all components of physical fitness to improve the strength and conditioning of men and women alike.

Getting the body ready to go to work is the purpose of the general warm-up routine. The physical fitness principles of progression and regularity—in addition to the fitness components of balance, coordination, and flexibility—are key to an effective workout preparation.

A good warm-up prepares your body for movement and conditioning activities. It will boost your performance by t gradually increasing heart rate and blood flow to muscles and elevating your core temperature.

In addition, warm-up activities increase flexibility by elongating muscles and removing stiffness from joints. The brain is also put on alert that some degree of motor coordination skills will be utilized in the near future. The desired end state is an injury-free, effective workout.

10 Minute Daily Warm-Up

Like well organized physical conditioning plans, daily warm-up routines proceed in a progressive manner:

1. Walk During a five-minute walk, include arm circles and arm swings, high knees, and butt kicks and well as short jogging intervals.

2. Mobility Exercises These relatively low-exertion exercises mobilize various body movements and actively ease the body into motion and preparation for the additional physical stress of calisthenics.

3. Calisthenics These bodyweight exercises further mobilize the body, strengthen targeted muscle groups and are the final step in preparing the body for conditioning activities presented in the daily workout.

Airmen performing side straddle hops, otherwise known as jumping jacks.

Airmen performing side straddle hops, otherwise known as jumping jacks.

Mobility Exercises

Mobility exercises conducted as part of the daily warm-up routine target the body as a whole in order to activate and limber muscles and connective tissue.

Mobility exercises utilized throughout the include:

Arm Circles

Bird Dog

Butt Kicks

Calf Raise

Curl & Press

High Kness

Hip Thrust

Horizontal Arm Swings

Side Straddle Hops (Jumping Jacks)

Neck Rolls

Partial Squats

Standing Glute Stretch

Standing Quad Stretch

Trunk Bends

Trunk Circles

Trunk Rotations

Trunk Twist

Wrist Curls

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Soldiers executing the bicycle maneuver as part of their PT plan.

Soldiers executing the bicycle maneuver as part of their PT plan.


Calisthenics, or bodyweight exercises, form the core of military muscular endurance and strength development activities. Calisthenics will be present in both the warm-up and workout sections of daily training sessions. They are normally executed in a rhythmic fashion using a 4-count cadence.

When used during the warm-up period, the number of repetitions is kept to a minimum to avoid causing undue fatigue prior to the workout's primary activity. Normally, if calisthenics are utilized in the warm-up, one set of five repetitions for six-to-eight exercises are sufficient.

Air Squat

Alternate Toe Tounches

Bend & Reach

Bicycle Maneuver


Bridge with leg extended



Cross-Country Skier (X-C ski)


Diamond Push-up


Dorsal Raise

Flutter Kicks


Mountain Climber

Planks (front & side)




Slide Side Reach

Squat Bender

Squat Stretch

Squat Thrust

Trunk Rotations


Wide Push-up

Pull-ups/chin-ups are the Marines bodyweight exercise of choice.

Pull-ups/chin-ups are the Marines bodyweight exercise of choice.

General Warm-up v. Specific Warm-up

A general warm-up is conducted prior to a daily workout in order to prepare the entire body for all activities which follow.

A specific warm-up is executed during the daily workout. Specific warm-up up exercises will mimic targeted activities which should receive extra attention. For example, a sprint warm-up consisting of speed development drills will be conducted prior to execution wind sprints. During weight training sessions, the poundage utilized will start relatively light and gradually increase in order for muscles to adjust to the load being lifted.

Daily Warm-up Do’s and Don’ts

  • Hydrate prior to working out.
  • Do not bounce while executing mobility exercises. Bouncing, also known as ballistic stretching is counter-productive to achieving flexibility and may lead to injury.
  • Use proper technique.
  • Do not exercise outdoors in extreme weather conditions.
  • Do the daily warm-up prior to executing the daily workout.

Parting Thoughts

The warm-up portion of a daily training session is vitally important and has a significant impact on overall physical fitness.

A proper warm-up activates muscles, increases flexibility, and prepares the body as a whole for rigorous activity. Additionally, a thorough warm-up will improve performance while reducing the risk of injury.

Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Kevin P McClernon

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