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10 Simple warm-up exercises you can do with any workout

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed. is a personal trainer, freelance writer and entrepreneur who works with a wide variety of fitness clients. She's the founder of the popular website, - Girls Gone Sporty, and she's the host of the High Impact Blogg...

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout

The key to a killer warm-up routine is combining heart-boosting cardio moves with multiplanar active stretching exercises.

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Becci Burkhart, Images provided by Laura Williams

Luckily, you don't need a treadmill or any other equipment to fire up your muscles and prepare for the main event. Perform each of the following exercises for 30 to 60 seconds for an easy five- to 10-minute warm-up routine.

1. T-jacks

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

T-jacks are like the kissing cousin of jumping jacks. They're essentially the same move, but reversed. Start with your legs together, your arms extended laterally from your shoulders. Hop your feet out laterally as you bring your arms down to your side, then immediately hop back to start.

2. High knees

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Stand tall, your feet hip-distance apart. Jog in place, but draw each knee as high as you can in front of your body. Make sure you land softly on the balls of your feet with each step, your knees remaining slightly bent.

3. Butt kicks

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Continue jogging in place, but instead of bringing your knees up in front of you, kick your feet back, bringing them to your glutes with each step. You may want to lean slightly forward to help maintain your balance.

4. Hacky sacks

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Continue jogging in place, but draw each foot as high as you can toward your body, the inside of your foot facing up as your knee and hip rotate out laterally. Reverse the movement and land softly on the ball of your foot before switching legs. It should look as though you're kicking a hacky sack between your feet on the inside of your arches. You can swing your arms, tapping your opposite foot with your opposite hand as you go.

More: The 7-minute workout you can do without any equipment

5. Squat walk

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

With your feet hip-distance apart, your weight in your heels, tip your hips back and bend your knees, lowering your hips toward the floor. When you're in a squat position, step one foot out laterally to the side and follow it with your other foot. Step two to three steps in one direction, then return to start, maintaining your low squat throughout.

6. Windmill

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Stand tall, your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, your arms extended laterally from your shoulders, forming a star with your body. Tighten your core and tip forward at the hip with your body straight and tall, twisting your torso as you go to touch your right foot with your left hand. Tighten your hamstrings and glutes to reverse the movement and return to start before continuing on the opposite side.

7. Spider planks

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Start in a plank position, your core tight and your body forming a straight line from heel to head. Maintaining the plank, draw one leg toward your same-side elbow, rotating your hip outward to bring your knee to the outside of your arm. Return to start and repeat on the opposite side.

8. Plank to Downward Dog

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

From a plank position, your core tight and your body straight, press your hips up toward the ceiling, extending your arms from your shoulders so your body moves into an upside-down V shape, or a Downward Dog. Hold for a second, pedaling your feet to get a stretch through your calves and hamstrings before returning to the plank position.

More: 5-Minute partner workout that will give you a full-body burn

9. Plank to low lunge

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

From a plank position, your core tight and your body straight, draw one foot forward, placing it on the ground to the outside of your same-side hand — moving into a low lunge. Hold for a second, then return to plank before repeating to the opposite side.

10. Twisting side plank

Warm-up exercises that are perfect for every workout
Image: Laura Williams/SheKnows

Start in a side plank, either balancing on your palm or your forearm. Extend your opposite arm up toward the ceiling (or sky) and follow it with your eyes, looking up. Hold for a second, then bring your free arm down and in front of your body, reaching it into the space between your body and the floor. Continue to follow its movement with your eyes as you reach it as far as you can under your body without losing balance. Hold for a second and then return to start. Perform this on one side for 15 to 30 seconds before switching sides.

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