Fancy talk aside, a dynamic warm-up is a type of warm up designed to properly prepare your body for movement. In the past decade dynamic warm-ups have replaced static stretching (hold a positing at the end range of motion for a period of time ) as a proper warm up because when performed correctly dynamic warm up will help increase your range of motion, increase body temperature, help performance and activate the nervous system.
This may come as a shock to some but on days I lift I spend at a minimum 10 minutes warming up, granted I move like the rusty tin man, but I'm not alone. Most of my teammates spend just as much, if not more, making sure their body is fully prepared for activity. The strongest man in the gym still warms up with bodyweight movements. You're never too strong for a good warmup.
As Wes Keith, the owner of 22nd Street Barbell, wrote in an article for Price Perfomance Chiropractic, "Imagine if you started up your car on a cold winter morning and you slammed the accelerator 1/3 of the way down and just held it. Do you think it would effect the performance and longevity of your car? It might be ok for your 1998 Corolla because you can drive that car forever with oil leaks, but it will never win drag races ie be a world record holder."
While there is page after page of great general dynamic warmup routines, I believe a dynamic warm up should include movement specific to your activity and bodily needs. (i.e A running warmup should look different then a lifting warm up).
When deciding which moves to include in your warm up take into consideration the joints and muscles that will be used during activity. Spend time addressing those areas by moving them through full range of motion similar to how you move in your workout. For example, on days I squat I alway include bodyweight squat variations and squats with the barbell as part of my warm up to help prepare my body for squatting with additional weight.
I also encourage clients to spend plenty of time warming up any tight, stiff/sore or injury prone joints and muscles. Of course this can vary from person to person and even day to day. For me this is always seems to include my hips and lower back.
Finally, I believe a proper warmup should leave you….warm, literally. It should raise your body temperature and heart rate. This is especially true for cardio based activities like running, interval training, and general conditioning.
If you're still a little lost at where to begin I like this dynamic warm up for runners from Runners World, and for lifters you can find a lot of the moves I enjoy including in my warm up in a video and article my friend Caroline put together for the Des Moines Register below.
Your turn: How do you warm up? Be honest :)