Standing Warm Up Routine

Here's a simple follow along warm up and joint mobility routine that is perfect to use before a training session or as a daily health practice to nourish the body-mind.

The first three are Qi Gong exercises to boost energy and stimulate the nervous system.

The routine continues with joint mobility exercises to oil the joints helping to improve their range of motion while unblocking and increasing the flow of internal energy.

Regular practice of this routine will also improve circulation, co-ordination and proprioception 

You can follow the video below and get further description with the instructions in the txt below. Enjoy and post any questions in the comments section blow.


1. 10 Dragons running through the forest

10 dragons running through the forest is a traditional qi gong exercise to help clear thoughts and release tension from the mind. The 10 dragons are your fingers in the forest is your hair.

Create a claw shape with your hands and bring them up to hair line. Run the fingers tips through the hair all the way to the back of your head and the beginning of the neck. Feel the dragons eat the tension as they storm across your head.

2. Face Wash

This movement stimulates the five external organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue and mouth. The eyes relate to the liver, ears to kidneys, nose to lungs, tongue to heart and mouth to spleen. So from the external organs, the energy will go back to the internal organs.

Rub your hands together to generate heat. Then as if you have face wash on your hands rub them all over your face. Don’t miss a spot

3. Kidney Massage

Traditional Chinese Medicine states that the area around the kidneys is where the bodies energy is produced. By stimulating this area it can boost your energy.

Turn your hands into fists and rub your knuckles up and down around your lower back. You should feel this area getting warmer

4. Neck Circle

Keeping your chin parallel to the floor and shoulders still start to create a circular movement from your neck in a clockwise direction. Then change to an anti-clockwise direction

Pay extra attention to make sure that your head moves around the back of the circle as well as the front. We spend far to much time with our head protruding forward as we listen to others and look at mobile screens. Following this movement correctly will help you to free the cervical vertebra and muscles around them.

5. Chest Circles

Place your finger tips on your shoulder joint. If your mobility doesn’t allow this try placing your fingers on your chest instead. Create circles from the chest. Move slow, smooth and relaxed.

This exercise does a wonderful job of freeing up the chest and shoulders to help upper body posture. Try your best to be aware of the breast bone and make the chest circles come from that point.

6. The Egyptian

Take your arms out to the side with hands in line with shoulders.

One palm should face up to the sky with the other facing the floor.

Rotate the arm from the shoulder joint so that the palms face the opposite way. Imagine wringing out a tea towel. Stretch right through to the finger tips to make the arms feel as long as possible. 

You should feel this exercise loosening the shoulder joint helping to increase it's range of movement. 

7. Chest & Shoulder Opener

Start by holding your arms out straight at chest height.

Turn and hands to fists and draw the elbows back behind your body for 3 controlled beat

 Next take your arms back out to chest height this time with your palms facing up. Keeping your arms parallel to the ground and straight take them to the side and behind you for 3 beats.

The third move is to take one arm up and one arm down. Beat both arms backwards for 3 beats. Change side and repeat

Alternate the three movements using an even tempo for the desired number of rounds.

Feel this exercise stretching the chest and shoulder muscles and joints, helping to open the upper body improving posture and range of moment.

8. Side Reach

Place your feet shoulder width or just a little wider apart. Put your left hand on your left hip and right arm in the air with wrist above shoulder.

Shift your weight onto your left leg, lengthening through your spine and reaching your right arm over to the left. Breath in as you reach, feeling your ribs expand. Allow your spine to lengthen, creating space to help the vertebra open. Come back to the center as you breath out and repeat moving in time with your breath. Once you have performed the desired number of repetitions repeat in the other direction.

While moving imagine your between two panes of glass. You can only lean to the side there is no room for twisting. Open and expand the rib cage to improve lung function and upper body mobility.

9. Rock & Roll

Interlace your fingers together and place your hands by your belly with palms facing up. Step the right leg diagonally forward by around a  foot. While breathing in, lift up off your heals, rolling your wrists so  palms rotate away and then face the sky while raising your arms overhead.  Follow your hands with your eyes. Feel your body grow taller, imaging the crown of your head lifting to the sky with your hands.

Pause for a second and as you let go of your breath lower the arms while rolling the wrist so hands finish back at the belly with palms facing up and dropping the heals to the ground. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions. You can then switch side by taking the left leg forward.

This exercise helps to improve shoulder and upper bock mobility. When used in conjunction with the breath it will also expand the rib cage for improved lung function.

10. Corkscrew

Place your right palm behind your head with the knuckles of your left hand on your lower back.

Take a deep breath in as you lift through the spine and rotate to look at your right elbow. Feel the stretch through your chest and upper spine. When you need to exhale rotate back to the start position. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions before repeating on the other side.

This exercise is great for opening the chest and shoulders while also improving the spines rotation.

11. Spinning Drum

Keeping your arms relaxed, twist through your upper back and allow the arms to swing freely.

Guide one hand to tap your chest while guiding the other to tap your kidney area. The hands swap as you twist to the other direction. Keep a momentum going, imagining that you are moving like a spinning drum.

Allow the head to move with your body.  

Think of it as a massage for the spine and internal organs as you twist like a pepper mill. At the same time the arms are getting the blood flowing by tapping the body.

12. Hula Hoop

Take a shoulder width stance and place your fists behind your back around your kidney area. Circle the hips as if spinning a hula hoop in slow motion. As your hips press forward gently lean the body backwards, as your hips move backwards lean your body forwards.

This movement helps to mobilise the lower back and hips while also helping blood flow around the internal organs.

13. Standing knee to elbow

Start with feet hip width apart. Shift your weight into your right foot and lift your left knee to your right elbow. Keep posture tall and straight. Alternate sides.

This movement helps to improve co-ordination and proprioception as well as developing deep core strength.

14. Knee circle

Pick your right leg up with both hands so your knee is hip height. Point your foot to keep your ankle still and focus on your big toe. Imagine drawing circles in the sand by circling from your knee. Repeat the circles clockwise and then anticlockwise. Repeat on the other leg.

This movement is great to oil up the knees in preparation for exercise to come.

15. Standing Ankle Circle

Using both hand pull your right knee close into your chest to feel a subtle stretch. Point your ankle  and begin to draw circles from your big toe. Make the circles as large as possible. Change legs

This movement will oil up the ankle joint and help it maintain a full range of movement. This is vital for a strong movement foundation.

16. Forward Bend

Stand with your feet hip width apart feeling them connect with the ground below. Take a deep breath into prepare. On the exhalation soften your hips, unlock your knees and fold forward. Relax your neck and spine while softening the chest. Allow your hands to lower to the floor. Breath deep into this stretched position while trying to lift your bottom to the sky, helping you take the hands closer to the floor.

Move with your breath by lengthening and expanding on the inhalation and relaxing on the exhalation. This will help improve lower back and hamstring flexibility.

Hold this position for 5-7 deep breaths  

17. Backward Bend

Stand with your feet hip width apart and place your palms on your lower back for support. Take a deep breath in to help you to lift your chest and sternum to the sky, As your chest lifts and opens start to curve backward allowing the neck to continue with the spine.

Move with your breath by lengthening and expanding on the inhalation and relaxing on the exhalation. This will help improve upper back and waist flexibility.

Hold for 5-7 deep breaths.

18. Prying squats

Interlace your fingers together and place your knuckles by the tip of your chin. This will naturally allow the elbows to sit by your ribs.

Feet should be around shoulder width apart with toes turned out to 45 degrees. Hinge at your hips sticking your bottom out and sink down so that your elbows go inside the knees, gently easing them open. Try and put your bottom as close to the ground as feels natural. Shuffle your feet about to make it more comfortable which may also help you go lower. Your heals must stay flat on the floor.

Drive back up to standing and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Think sink into your hips. Keep the weight in your heals with chest and chin up to keep a straight spine.

This exercise is perfect to open the hips, improve posture and lower body strength.

19. Wood Chop

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hands by your side.

Take a deep breath in as you lift your arms over head for a full body stretch.

As you breathe out squat and let the arms swing down between your legs to the bottom of the movement. Take a deep breath in and rise back up to the full body stretch. Make sure you look forward at all times and lift up through the chest.

Keep the movement flowing and in time with your breath for the desired number of repetitions. This is great for softening the body and getting the heart pumping!

20. Shake Off

Shake your arms and legs in a relaxed way to keep the body feeling loose, soft and young.

Shaking is great to release tension as well as reinvigorating the cells of the body.