How to Design a Warm-up Routine that you don’t Hate

I dread warming up every day. It's the worst.

I hate the first few steps of running where my entire body seems to be screaming at me to stop. I hate the feeling of tightness in my muscles and the pressure on my joints as I loosen them up. I hate the feeling of being exhausted before I catch my second wind.

Phew! Thanks for letting me vent. I feel a little better now that's off my chest.

Maybe you’re like me and despise warm-ups, but even if you only find it slightly annoying, this post can help. The key is to design a warm-up that works for you. I've warmed up thousands of times and I have some tips on how to make it less miserable.

The best way to keep warm-ups at least slightly interesting is to create 2-3 distinct routines to choose from. Here are some tips that can yelp you design your routine:


1) Each routine should last about 10-20 minutes and when you’ve completed it, you should be in a full sweat. By this definition, warming up is not simply jogging up and back a few times. A warm-up should get you to the point where your adrenaline is starting to pump and you feel like you could step right into a live game. In my experience, that takes at least 10-20 minutes.

2) Your warm-up routines need to be precise! I can’t emphasize this enough. A vague warm-up routine that requires you to make decisions drains your willpower and will impact the quality of your workout.  

Quick sidebar: If you’ve read my post on willpower, you know how I feel about having to make unnecessary decisions (hint: it sucks!). You won’t have the mental strength to keep working hard if you waste some of your precious willpower deciding how to warm-up.

Now, back to your warm-up routine. By precision, I mean that once you choose your warm-up routine (from your arsenal of 2-3) you shouldn’t need to make a single decision afterward. Anyone who looks at your warm-up routine should be able to easily follow it step by step.

3) Each routine should have some combination of the following elements: dynamic movements, dynamic stretching, and basketball-specific drills. The dynamic movements include jogging, high knees, karaoke etc. Dynamic stretching includes stretches that you hold for a 1 or 2 count multiple times. Basketball-specific drills include anything with a ball that requires constant movement.

Together, these three elements loosen your muscles and raise your heart rate.

4) For a sample warm-up that I love and use regularly, check out this link

Do you have any other tips for readers who struggle to get through warm-ups?