Warming up is very important. Like, very, very important. Things hurt and break a whole lot easier when they’re cold. While there are plenty of specialized movements out there, but if you’re just trying to get in a good workout and go home, you may not need to overwhelm yourself.
These are some of the go-tos that have served me well over the years:
Hop on the treadmill for 10 minutes, perform a couple sets and reps of hip circles, side lateral lunges, monster walks, supermans, and PVC overhead squats before an intense lower body workout. Before any upper body work: PVC or band shoulder dislocators, band pull-aparts, or controlled push-ups. If I plan on going extremely heavy or complete a high-intensity circuit workout, then I may spend an additional 10 minutes or so performing extra sets.
Side lateral lunges
PVC overhead squats
Simply take the first two exercises per body part in the workout for the day, find a weight that can be performed for 15-20 reps, easily (or use bodyweight). Complete one sets of 5-7 slow, controlled reps of those moves. There’s now enough blood in there to do what’s got to be done. Think about it: you’re warming the body up by getting it acclimated to the movement pattern it is actually going to be doing. Why do something different?
Now, if I plan on doing something a bit more dynamic, let’s say surfing, I then like to be a bit more dynamic with my warm-ups. Refer to this story: Supplemental exercises for enduring an ocean’s thrashing.
What you don’t need to do
1. Static stretch
Static stretches can actually make your weaker when it comes to lift time. You’re also stretching something cold. Save the statics for after the workout.
2. Go hard with the foam roller
A little bit, fine, but spending several minutes on it, maybe not such a good idea. My take is that a foam roller relaxes the muscle. I’d rather wake up and stimulate the muscle before a workout and relax it after the workout and at night. Check out this piece on Furthermore by Equinox: Stop foam rolling post-workout.