P.E. Classes Warm-ups Part 4

I am going to do the high school one first. This one is to prepare their bodies for a basketball game. I will list the exercises then also break them down and explain why I chose them and how they fit the model we discussed in the earlier posts. I also would like to send you out a hard a copy and will do so in the Newsletter soon. Sign up for the newsletter for these and other workouts to come to be sent out in a pdf format. 

Make sure to do the exercises in the order that is listed. Each one is designed to lead into the following move. I will explain this more in detail on following a few of the exercises.



1. Feet Wide Big Arm Circles – 20x each direction. Stand with your feet out much wider than your hips. In this position contract your glute (butt) muscles and your quadriceps (thigh) muscles. Now holding the contraction in these muscles the entire time, raise your arms out to the sides at shoulder height. Keeping your torso still start to make large circles forward with your arms. Try to keep the arms as straight as you can. Once you have completed the repetitions forward, then repeat, now with a backwards circular motion.

The reason for the contraction on=f the glutes and quads is that I am assuming the kids have been in a seated position for much of the day. This would mean that the muscles responsible for the positioning and movement of the pelvis have received little stimulation at this point. So the contraction is the chance to re-establish the signal from the brain to the muscle fibers responsible for providing proper positioning of the pelvis. This will also pay help to put the lumbar spine into the proper position as well. The arm circles are to work on the 4 directions of the shoulder we discussed in the previous post.

2. Standing Lunges – 10x each leg. Place your right leg out in front of your left so the feet are at least 3 feet apart. Now place your hands on your hips. Keeping your shoulders up high and your back slightly arched as you bend your left knee and lower it towards the floor. Stop just a few inches before the floor and come back up to the starting position. Repeat up and down and then switch legs.

I like doing a move like this following the previous one because it helps to reinforce what you were trying to accomplish in the first one. Here you are now introducing range of motion into the hips based on the fact that you have already supplied some stimulus to the muscles responsible for the hips. This is also a great way to get some extension into the hip flexors. Finally we also get our flexion/extension demand in our hips.

3. Feet Wide Windmills – 10x each side.  Stand with your feet out much wider than your hips. Now Place the arms straight out to your sides at shoulder height. Keeping your arms straight, bend and twist at the waist as you lower your right hand towards your left foot. Once down, return all the way back to the starting position. Now drop down to the other side. Continue back and forth.

This is an old School move but I love it. Now only is is great for Flexibility in the back, hamstrings, and glutes, it also does a great job of rotation in the spine. I also like to do various type of twists on the floor but since this is for basketball I will not have them lay down on their backs on the gym floor. Not that they could not do it but I want to give an example of how you need to build your warm-ups based on what your surroundings are.

4. Standing Cats and Dogs – 10x. Stand with your feet pointing forwards and placed directly underneath your hips. Now place your hands on your knees and bend the knees just slightly. Now hold this position in your lower body and keep your arms straight as you arch your back up into the air like a scared cat and tuck your chin to your chest. Again without moving your lower body and arms still straight, arch your back down and look up towards the ceiling. Repeat up and down.

I feel it is very important to make sure you do flexion and extension of the vertebrae anytime you do rotation of the spine. I just always worry that someone may hold a slightly rotated position in their back from the twist so to help prevent that from becoming a problem I like to do the a move like this to help realign the spine. This is also one of the components we discussed in the last post that is necessary in a warm-up.

5. Feet Wide Hip Glides – 10x each direction.  Stand with your feet much wider than your hips. Now bend you hips and knees and place your hands down on the floor. Try to keep your weight in your hips by leaning back just a bit. Now keeping your hips as low as you can and your back as straight as you can, glide to your right, bending the right knee and trying to straighten your left leg. At the end of the motion, flex your left thigh as hard as you can for a second, then glide to the other side and repeat to the left. Continue to glide back and forth.

This is one of my favorite moves. I like the amount of mobility it forces into the hips and knees and ankles. I also like the range of motion it creates in the hamstrings. This move also takes care of the abduction/adduction directions of the hip that we need as one of our components of a warm-up.

6. Standing Quadricep Stretch – 1:00 min each side. Stand facing a wall with your feet about 12 inches off the wall. Now grab your right foot with your right hand and pull your heel towards your lower back. keep as good of posture as you can throughout the rest of your body. Now holding this position, squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and press your pelvis towards the wall until you feel a big stretch through the hip flexors and quads. Now hold this contraction.

This is not one of my favorites, there is just too many ways to do it wrong but I did want to add another one in to emphasize hip flexor range. I wold much prefer to do this kneeling bit again we are limited by the surface we are on.

7. Bear Crawl – 20 steps. Start on your hands and knees with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Now lift your knees a few inches off the floor keeping your back straight. Start crawling forward taking small steps by reaching out with your left hand and pulling your right leg forward. Now alternate hands and feet back and forth keeping your back flat and knees close to the ground.

This is one of the best moves around. I mention back in the early philosophy posts that this is the most important step in our physical progression. i try to put it in every warm-up and workout I build. It is a great introduction to proper movement and I also like how it places load into all 4 of the structural Joints (shoulder, hips, knees, ankles)

8. Lateral Lunge Walk – 10 steps each direction. Stand with your hands on your hips, now drop your hips into a squat keeping your weight back in your heels. Now keeping your hips low, reach out as far as you can with your right leg and then still keep the hips low as you pull your left leg back towards your right. Continue and then switch and lead with the left leg. Keep your shoulders up tall and you back slightly arched.

I chose this a good intro into sport specificity movements. This one prepares the hips for the lateral demands of the game you are about to play. 

9. High Knee Rotational Skipping – 20 skips forward and backward. From a standing position, place your hands behind your head. Now start a skipping motion as you bring your right leg out to the side, then forward like you are stepping over a trash can. Upon Landing immediately go up with the left leg and continue to repeat. Try to keep your torso still during the skips so the motion is coming just from the hips. Now repeat backwards by lifting the knee in front of you then puling it around to the side.

This one is great on a lot of levels for the specificity of basketball. What I like best is the fact that since you are skipping you will be landing in random angles in your ankles. This to me is very important to help prevent your students from not being prepared for this and twisting an ankle.

10. Hands Overhead Squat Hops – 10x. Stand with your hands straight up over your head. Now squat down keeping your hands up and your back arches, then jump into the air as high as you can. As you land, bend at the knees and the hips and go right back up. Keep your arms up the whole time.

I chose this as the last activity specific one just to prepare their bodies for the rebounding aspect of the game. The combination of explosive hip movement integrated with the angle of the shoulders.


This is a pretty quick version of a warm-up. Normally with one of my classes or especially one of our basketball teams, I wold do at least twice as many exercises, probably more. I hope this gives you a good idea of the components that go into creating a sound warm-up. Give me your feedback. I would love to hear what your expertise has to say as well!

2 Comments on this post


  1. More ways to increase your Basal Metabolic Rate through Muscular Efficiency Training wrote:

    […] the next few hours following a 5 year old around. If you are then please follow this link to a warm-up we gave you awhile ago! For the rest of you here are a few other examples of some great exercises […]

    April 7th, 2009 at 5:17 am
  2. Exercise of the Week Workout Video #3 Strength Training Program wrote:

    […] sure to follow this link to a great warm-up to prepare yourself for the […]

    September 12th, 2009 at 2:09 pm


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