Joint-Friendly Low Impact Warm-up Routine

You don’t have to run or jump to warm-up. In fact, warming up with low impact exercises is a more efficient way to get your muscles ready for training. If you experience any kind of joint pain (or have arthritis), the last thing you want to do is add more pressure and tension on your joints.

You want to make sure your intrinsic core and glute muscles are active, engaged and ready for the added load or challenge. A lower impact routine will make sure you’re fully contracting and engaging each of these muscles. It also allows you to practice mindfulness and connecting more with your body.

If you’re currently experiencing hip or glute pain, I recommend you also include these 3 exercises that’ll strengthen your glutes along with the low impact warm-up routine I’ll share with you below…

It is also a good idea to keep your workouts low impact. Most of my workouts are low impact. I’ve moved away from any kind of plyometric exercises that involve jumping. I’ve actually been getting better results because low impact exercises allowed me to focus more on each contraction and challenge myself by adding additional repetitions and sets which strengthened my body more.

Recommended programs: The Back Pain Bootcamp

High Impact vs Low Impact Exercises

I got into the high impact workouts initially to lose fat. They were effective and I loved the post-workout feeling. High impact exercises include, for examplem jumping squats, jumping lunges, mountain climbers, drills, etc. But at one point I realized they were causing me a lot of flare-ups and pain (back when I was experiencing hip and back pain). After all, I was working out to be healthy so if I wasn’t feeling good after my workouts, then something needed to change.

Low impact exercises don’t involve jumping. You can still use weights but the load impact on the joints is still lower than jumping or running.

Now before you start this low impact routine, I want to mention that you can also get your muscles warmed up before you engage in weight lifting or other bodyweight exercises with self-myofascial release.

Foam rolling: Self-myofascial release will release trigger points and any tension that can alter movement and posture. I personally foam roll my quads, hamstrings and hip flexors (TFL) before engaging in leg workouts and before my warm-ups.
Related: how to release a tight TFL muscle

Low Impact Warm-Up Routine

Warm-up Exercises Breakdown:

Standing knee to chest: Before initiating this exercise, brace your core and keep your glutes tight and engaged. When you’re bringing your leg down, contract your glutes. You want to warm up your core and glute muscles simultaneously.

Alternating backward lunges: I love the backward lunge. The knee joint takes less strain with the backward lunge. Again, brace your core to stay stable and contract your glutes to make sure you’re not placing any load on your lower back or knee joint.

Low lunge and reach: This is more of a dynamic stretch exercise to open up the hips as well as activate the glutes. The reach movement will open up the chest, stretch some of the spine musculatures and get your body ready for a rotation movement.

Knee to elbow standing crunches: Stand nice and tall with proper core bracing before initiating the movement. Keep your back as straight as possible when rotating to bring your elbow and knee close together.

Dynamic lunge stretch: This dynamic exercise will open up your hips while also activating the glutes. You can hold onto the wall or a stable chair for balance. Make sure you’re keeping your glutes tight during the whole movement.

Additional Low Impact Rehab Exercises

Whether you’re currently experiencing pain or you’re looking to avoid injury, it’s extremely important to warm up and go through a series of rehab (or prehab) exercises before your workouts. I’ve mentioned core bracing and what I mean is…

You want to activate your deep core musculature to support your lumbar spine and hip joints during the workout. This should be part of the warm-up routine and activating the deep core can also be achieved with low impact exercises. Below I have some additional resources to help you strengthen your core. You can pick a few exercises and integrate them into your warm-up routine:

How to strengthen a weak core
The Deep Core Training