Beginner Warmups & Mobility

Beginner Warmups & Mobility Drills

This Beginner Warmup & Mobility Guide features 7 videos on with detailed commentary. Excellent for CrossFit, Olympic lifting and powerlifting.

Videos of Beginner Warmups & Mobility Drills

Proper warm-ups for beginners help decrease risk of injury, improve range of motion, and otherwise get the body ready to the work that you are about to inflict on it.  Proper beginner warm-ups generally improve workout output by priming muscles and increase blood circulation.

This Beginner Warmup & Mobility Guide features 7 videos on with detailed commentary. Excellent for CrossFit, Olympic lifting and powerlifting.

  1. Cat and Cow
  2. T-Spine Rotations
  3. Butterfly Stretch
  4. Deadbugs
  5. Banded Hamstring Stretch
  6. Mountain Climbers Warmup
  7. Figure 4 Stretch

Cat and Cow Mobility Pose

Cat Pose — Marjaryasana (mahr-jahr-ee-AHS-uh-nuh) and it’s frequent pair Cow Pose — Bitilasana (bee-tee-LAHS-uh-nuh) make for a great lower spine warmup.   These two positions come from Yoga.

Cat and Cow – Beginner warmups

Kneeling T-Spine Rotations Warmup

Thread The Needle Pose Flow is considered a warmup yoga pose to prepare the body for more intense yoga poses / yoga flow.   Thread The Needle Pose Flow helps open, activate, and balance the following chakra(s): Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra).  Thread The Needle Pose Flow benefits the following muscle: Arms and Shoulders, Lower Back, Middle Back, Upper Back, Core (Abs), Chest, and Neck.  Thread The Needle is commonly found in the following types of yoga sequences:  Yin yoga sequences; Yoga sequences for arms and shoulders; Yoga sequences for relieving lower back pain.

Thread the Needle Pose Flow / Kneeling T-Spine Rotations as two distinct positions. Parivrtta Ardha Baddha Bharmanasana (Revolved Half Bound Table Top Pose) and Viparita Parivrtta Ardha Baddha Bharmanasana Flow (Revolved Half Bound Table Top Pose).  Note Bharmanasana (Table Top) and Chakravakasana (Box Pose) are generally the same positions.

In the below video, Mark demonstrates the basic (easy version) of this warmup flow (this is a warmups for beginners article after all.)  It wouldn’t be Paul, if I didn’t have a few bonuses to spice things up a bit.

Thread The Needle Parivrtta Ardha Baddha Bharmanasana Beginner Warm-ups by Paul Roberts

Thread Needle with Bound Elbow
Click to view the video

So the Thread the Needle Sequence above generally goes from easiest to hardest.  The bottom row can be very challenging for people not practicing yoga.   Yoga15 published a video showing a half-bound reverse arm bind thread the needle.  Thread The Needle Pose Flow is considered a warmup yoga pose to prepare the body for more intense yoga poses / yoga flow.

Thread The Needle Pose helps open, activate, and balance the Solar Plexus (Manipura Chakra).  Anatomically, this pose focuses on Arms and Shoulders, Lower Back, Middle Back, Upper Back, Core (Abs), Chest, and Neck.

Thread The Needle Variations are commonly found in Yin yoga sequences; Yoga sequences for arms and shoulders; Yoga sequences for relieving lower back pain.  See also: Bird Dog.  Balancing Cat from Pocket Yoga & Balancing Table from Tummee.

The 6 Main Benefits of a Beginner Warmups are:

  • Decrease Risk of Injury
  • Improve Range of Motion (ROM)
  • Increase Muscle Plasticity
  • Improved Blood Flow
  • Upregulate Neuromuscular Connection (Mind-Body Connection)
  • Reinforce Movement Patterns

Injury in Beginner Warmups

A major benefit of beginner warmups is the decrease in risk of injury.  Risk of injury is decreased because exercises patterns are improved, allowing for a safer motion overall.  Warming up also allows the personal trainer to determine proper scalings for the movement, and tailor the movement to your individual fitness level.

Improved Range of Motion & Mobility during Workouts

An exercise is only as effective as your form, and an unsafe movement pattern will eventually result in an unwanted injury. To prevent this, we design beginner warmups to work the proper range of motion to ensure you get the full benefit of the exercise. Better form means a better workout, and that all starts with mobility.

Increase Muscle Plasticity/Blood Flow

Our muscles are surrounded by connective tissue known as fascia. This fibrous tissue gets tight when in disuse, and can be a major source of injury when overlooked during a beginner warmup. By getting the blood pumping to the working region, we can warm up these tissues to increase muscle plasticity, which will help prevent minor muscle sprains and pulls during training.

Upregulate Neural Connection/Reinforce Movement Patterns

We’ve all heard the term “mind-body connection“, but what does that mean for you and your workouts? Simply put, when you train a motion, your body becomes faster and more efficient at executing it. By using the same muscles during your beginner warmup that you’ll be using during your workout, they’ll contract quickly and more easily while under stress. This is a crucial part of injury prevention in the gym. Without it, the active muscles would be slow to contract, potentially allowing your body to move into an unsafe position.


4 Quick Tips for an Effective Beginner Warmup

Tip #1: Choose Broad, Dynamic Exercises in Beginner Warmups

Many of us struggle to find the time to work out in general, much less include a 10-15 minute beginner warmup. So instead of trying to target each muscle one by one, opt for movements that include multiple muscle groups. One major part of an effective beginner warmup is to increase blood flow to the part of your body that will be performing the work. This is nearly impossible to do while stationary, so don’t be afraid to get up and move! While many movements fit this criterion, it’s always best to choose a movement related to the workout you are preparing to do. (i.e. stationary bike is not the best warmup choice when you plan on working upper body)

Example: Bear Crawl (for upper body), Light Jog (for lower body), Jumping Jacks (full body)

Tip #2: Perform Lightweight Sets for Beginner Warmups

The goal here is to prime the appropriate muscle groups without creating unnecessary fatigue. To best accomplish this, perform the beginner warmup movement at the same speed that you would perform your working sets. For example, if you want to prepare for an overhead shoulder press, do 10-15 repetitions of the same movement at a very light weight. This technique also reinforces the movement pattern and makes it easier to transition into your working sets.

Tip #3: Save the Stretching for Later

Stretching is a critical part of any workout. When done correctly, it can improve range of motion, reduce the risk of injury, and help the body execute exercises in a safe and effective manner. However, it’s important to avoid lengthening a muscle before performing a loading exercise as doing so can decrease the total amount of force your body can produce. So as a general rule, stretch before a workout only if you need help achieving the proper range of motion. Otherwise, it’s usually best to save stretching for after your workout when your muscles are warm and pliable. Doing so will help you develop flexibility, and ease recovery.

We will be providing a more detailed overview of stretching in a later blogpost, but in the meantime, feel free to check out the wealth of mobility resources available for free on our blog!

Tip #4: Consider Plyometrics in Beginner Warmups

If your fitness level allows for it, plyometrics are a fantastic way of priming the muscles for heavy work. Not only are they great for facilitating blood flow, but they also carry the additional benefit of preparing the muscle fibers to brace for impact. This is particularly helpful for strength athletes, as warming up the neuromuscular system prior to lifting allows for a stronger contraction during training. A stronger contraction means more weight can be lifted, and more weight lifted means faster progress in the gym.

Example: Plyometric Push-ups, Plyometric Squats, Etc.

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