• Jon Reid

3 High School PE Warm Up Exercises that are Still Useful Today!

The different and best ways to warm up have been the focus of much research. Futuristic methods to activate muscles, fire up the nervous system and get that extra 1% are commonplace in gyms. Elaborate movement preparation with bands, hoops and cables are trademarked and hailed as smart ways to get you that little bit more primed for the session.

Many of these new age methods have a place and would make for interesting articles. However, I'm not in the business of writing interesting articles. So, here are three warm up exercises that require no fancy approach and that you probably did in high school PE class... but are still very effective at getting you limbered up…

Torso Rotations

The classic twist from side to side followed by a clap and ‘let’s go’ actually has value. This old school motion gets you moving in what’s known to bio-mechanists as the transverse plane and is useful for preparing you for a variety of activities.

Examples of Transverse Plane Motion

  • Golf swing

  • Baseball swing

  • Swinging a cat

  • Tennis shot

  • Rugby player passing the ball

  • Someone walking with extreme ‘swag’

  • Boxer throwing a punch

  • Martial artist throwing a roundhouse

  • Dancing a merry jig

As you can see, torso rotations are as useful a warm up pre-sport as they are pre-night out; a truly multi-purpose warm up.

They are also good to do in the morning as they can help get rid of any cricks and cracks that may have accumulated from being static for too long (sleeping), sitting too long or simply from not rotating in a while, perhaps due to a lack of ‘swag.'

Standing Hip Circles

The classic swinging of the hips in circles is another exercise that has stood the test of time. It might look amateurish but it’s actually pretty effective.

It takes your hips through flexion, extension, adduction and abduction… which is a fancy way of saying it moves your hips in all directions.

Your hips are key for sport and training, so it's always good to loosen them up. It’s best to fix your stare straight ahead and avoid direct eye contact with anyone when performing this move.

Jumping Jacks

Perhaps the oldest calisthenic exercise in the book, jumping jacks are still a good way to get the blood pumping, warm your muscles up and put a spring in the step.

Similar to skipping, the low intensity ‘jumping’ nature of this movement will get your leg muscles tuned in to the task at hand. Do them with or without the arms and go for 30 seconds to a minute at a time.


All three of these exercises can be done on the spot, require no equipment and will help get you prepped for your session. They were useful 50 years ago and are just as useful now!



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