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16 Warm-Up Moves You Should Do Before Every Workout

Because no one likes a pulled hammie.

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Static stretching before a workout probably isn't a great idea.

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The point of a warm-up is to prepare your body to exercise, but unfortunately, static stretching — lengthening a muscle till you feel a pull or minor discomfort and holding the position for about 30 seconds — can't get the job done. "Static stretching before exercise has been shown to actually increase injury risk while decreasing performance," Jason Fitzgerald, USATF-certified coach and founder of Strength Running explains to BuzzFeed Health via email. "Plus, it doesn't accomplish the goals of a warm-up: increasing heart rate, perspiration, and blood flow while lubricating joints and increasing muscle temperature."

But that's where a dynamic warm-up — like the moves below — comes in. They will get your body ready to work out. They were selected by Fitzgerald for BuzzFeed's 4 Weeks to 5K Challenge (which, btw, you can sign up for anytime), so they're specifically awesome for cardio workouts, but you can use them to warm up before any exercise. (If you're doing any heavy lifting, you'll want add some more specific moves to prep you to move heavy weight, like these.)

Just choose 3-4 of the moves below and run through them before you start exercising.

1. Donkey kicks

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Get on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees, lift one leg behind you until it reaches hip height. Squeeze your glutes and keep your foot flexed and your back straight. Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

2. Single-leg deadlift

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With a slight bend in the knee of your weight-bearing leg, pull your shoulders back and keep your hips squared as you hinge at the hips, bending over and reaching toward the floor. Keep your back flat. Reach until you feel a slight stretch in your hamstring. Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

3. Hurdle mobility

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With your wrists directly under your shoulders and knees under your hips, bend one knee about 90 degrees. Move your leg (from the hip) in a circular motion first counter clockwise, then clockwise, keeping your back flat. That's one rep. Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

4. Iron Cross

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Lie on your back with your arms outstretched and your shoulders and upper back against the floor. Rotating at the hip and torso, bring one leg across your body diagonally toward the opposite hand. Alternate sides and repeat till you’ve done 15 on each side.

5. High-knee skips

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As you push off one foot, bring the opposite knee towards your chest. Stand tall as you swing your arms for momentum and balance, and land on the balls of your feet. Continue until you've brought each knee up 15 times.

6. Knee hugs

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Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your weight-bearing leg straight while bringing your knee as close to your chest as your flexibility allows. Alternate sides and repeat till you’ve done 15 on each side.

7. Front leg swings

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Lightly hold a chair or wall for support with your right hand. Stand tall, squeezing your abs and glutes as you swing your left leg forward, maintaining a straight back and squared hips. Swing with control and bring your leg back to the start position (not behind you). Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

8. Lunge and twist

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Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Lunge forward keeping your back straight, your shoulders over your hips, and your front knee in line with (and not extending past) your toes. Lower your body until your back knee is hovering just above the floor. Squeeze your abs and twist from the torso towards your front leg. Alternate sides and repeat till you’ve done 15 on each side.

9. Mountain climbers

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In a push-up position with your wrists under your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart, bring one knee toward the inside of your elbow. Keep your back straight and neck neutral while squeezing both your abs and glutes. Alternate sides and repeat till you’ve done 15 on each side.

10. Scorpion

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Lie on your stomach keeping your shoulders and chest as close to the floor as possible and your arms outstretched. Squeeze your left glute and from your hips (with minimal torso rotation) bring your left leg up and across your body diagonally with your toes pointing toward your right hand. Alternate sides and repeat till you’ve done 15 on each side.

11. Lateral leg swings

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Place your arms on a wall or chair for support. With your arms shoulder-width apart, squeeze your abs and keep your torso still as you swing your leg side to side from your hips. Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

12. Side lunge

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With your toes pointing forward, your chest up and your back straight, push your hips back, and take a big lateral step with your right foot. As you lower into a lunge, bend your right knee, ensuring it’s in line with your toes. Do 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

13. Squat

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With your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed forward or slightly out, keep your chest tall and push your hips back as you lower into a squat. Go only as deep as your flexibility allows. Maintain a straight back and keep your knees in line with your toes. Do 15 reps.

14. Zombie walk

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Stand tall with your arms straight in front of you (palms facing the floor). Squeeze your abs and glutes. Keeping one leg straight, swing it toward your hand while maintaining a straight back. Swing only as high as your flexibility allows. Alternate sides and repeat till you’ve done 15 on each side.

15. Walking lunge

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Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Take a step forward as you lower your body, keeping your hips squared and shoulders directly over your hips. Return to standing by pushing up through your midfoot. Alternate sides and repeat till you’ve done 15 on each side.

16. Groiners

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With your knees bent (about 45 degrees) and heels on the floor, engage your abs as you swing your legs to the side. Repeat, alternating sides, till you’ve done 30 on each side.

Thanks to Katie Dubrovenskaya of New York Health and Racquet Club for directing the shoot and to Shannon Rosenberg for modeling.

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