Warm-Up for Stretching

In order to avoid injuries, you should always warm-up before stretching. A good warm-up consists of a short pre-joint warm-up, a joint warm-up and a muscle warm-up. Unless you didn't sleep or sit before your workout, you don't have to do the pre-joint warm-up. When I am talking about a joint warm-up, I don't mean traditional joint circling (eg: when you press your toes down and circle your ankle on the floor). Joint circling is ok, but you should not apply pressure and go though the full range of motion. When you do a joint warm-up, you basically want to lubricate your joints. So if you squeeze and twist them around, you will not warm them up, but wear them out. When you do the muscular warm-up, you muscles and tendons get ready. I recommend a joint warm-up of 3 to 5 minutes and 10 to 15 minutes of cardio before you start stretching. Find more info about stretching and exercises at stretching main.

Sample Routine

  • This is a leg warm-up I do to get ready for intensive stretching workouts. Of course you can choose different exercises. This is just an example.
    • Pre-Joint Warm-Up:
      • Walk 200 meters on your toes.
      • 100 to 200 calf raises with closed legs (without weight).
      • 50 to 100 squats without weight.
    • Joint Warm-Up:
      • Circle your feet in the air.
        2x20 left & right circles per leg.
        Don't apply pressure. Move slowly and concentrated.
      • Lie down on your back and circle your legs in the air.
        This will warm up your hips.
      • Then stand up and lift your knees 10 times in front of you and 10 times sideways.
      • Finally lift your knee and extend the leg 20 times.
        2x20 reps per leg.
    • Muscular Warm-Up:
      • Jogging: 5 Minutes - Pulse: Up to 135
      • Running: 7 minutes - Pulse: Up to 165
      • Rope skipping, ball games etc: About 3 minutes.


  • When you circle your joints, don't apply pressure. Don't go through the full range of motion. I recommend empty joint circling (circle your joints in the air).
  • Pre-Joint Warm-Up: Walk or jog before you start with the joint warm-up.
    Then warm up your joints and finally your muscles.
  • A taiji form can be a great joint warm-up also.