5 Dynamic Warmups for Speed & Agility Training

At our facility, the Boost Performance Center in Corona, CA, we work on a variety of different movements athletes will use when participating in their sport.  When people think of Speed Training linear (straight ahead) speed is typically what comes to mind. But a good speed development program will also incorporate agility and change of direction, which allows an athlete to seamlessly transition from one movement to another. With that in mind, here are 5 dynamic warmups that are movement specific, will elevate your body temperature, and will prep your muscles for a great session.

Linear Sprinting: Acceleration

Running is a single leg action so developing single leg strength and stability are perhaps one of the best types of exercises you can do in the weight room to get faster.  During our warmups for linear speed we incorporate a variety of lunges for 2 reasons that are very specific to sprinting. 1- It’s a single leg movement, and 2- It requires the absorption of body weight on one leg.  We also combo our lunge exercises to prep multiple muscles at once. Our lunge script is as follows:

  1. Knee hug lunge
  2. Lunge with knee drive
  3. Lunge with extension
  4. Explosive lunge

I always like to reinforce proper running mechanics into my warmups, so it’s important to emphasize proper knee drive and dorsiflexion at the end of each stretch.

Lateral Sprinting

Lateral running requires a lot of glute and adductor activation so we spend a great deal of time prepping these muscle groups before doing any dynamic lateral movement.  Our lateral movement prep consists of the following:

  1. Glute March
  2. Glute Skip
  3. Glute Raise
  4. Moving adduction
  5. Sumo Squats

As you can see we put a huge emphasis on hip rotation with this dynamic warmup which is a big part of lateral running and any type of change of direction.

Linear Sprinting: Max Speed

Max speed or absolute speed can best be described as the phase of sprinting after the drive phase.  It’s the moment an athlete becomes upright and leg action transitions from a piston type action to a cyclical one.  This dynamic warm up is pretty much identical to acceleration but the only difference is we incorporate core stability.  This is important because as an athlete reaches top speed it’s imperative to keep the torso from rotating as gravity forces the body to become upright. Here are exercises we incorporate before hitting sprints:

  1. Planks
  2. Side planks
  3. Single arm resisted forward march
  4. Single arm resisted backward march

Typically we’ll execute these exercises before anything else in the warmup while the athletes are fresh.  Including these into your regime will develop the stability of your trunk and spine over time.

Forward Multi-directional Running

This type of movement typically involves cutting, circular running, or 135 deg angle running.  Forward multi-directional movement requires a lot of hip rotation so we include the same exercises mentioned earlier in the lateral running warmup.  The difference here is that we include some joint isolation, mobility, and stability of the trunk and hips with the following exercises:

  1. Side lying hip adduction
  2. Supine lateral rotation
  3. Supine medial rotation 
  4. Trunk Rotations
  5. Single leg quarter squats

Backward Multi-directional Running

When it comes to backward movement the hips play an important role again but in different planes.  Our focus here is on pivoting, which is hip flexion with horizontal abduction. We also incorporate the drop lunge to hit the glutes and hamstrings. Again, same muscle activation but in different planes of movement.

  1. Backward hip pivot march
  2. Backward hip pivot skip
  3. Drop lunge
  4. Rhythm Adduction
  5. Fire Hydrants

At the Boost Performance Center here in Corona, CA we know that the dynamic warmup is the most important aspect of any speed session. This is a point I constantly make with my athletes.  A good dynamic warm up activates muscles, improves joint mobility and stability, increases muscle tissue temperature, and most important is specific to the movement that will be worked on during the session.  If you want greater adaptation from your sessions and improved mobility overtime, incorporate these warmups and raise the threshold of your training.

Ray Bass
Level 1 & 2 Coach Bommarito Performance