I tried this three-minute warm up before my upper body routine and my workout has never felt better

Warm up your body, prepare your muscles for exercise and reduce your chance of injury with this simple six-move sequence

Dumbbells on a gym floor
(Image credit: Future)

All good workouts starts with a thorough warm up, so why do many of us (myself included) frequently skip this vital step?

As a dedicated runner, I wouldn't dream of side-stepping a running warm up; I've dealt with the uncomfortable consequences once too often to make that mistake again.

When it comes to strength workouts, however, I'm much less regimented. It's bad, I know, yet my preparation rarely extends beyond the 10-minute walk to the gym and a couple of arm circles. 

But enough is enough. I've been on the lookout for a quick and easy pre-strength training warm up that I can stick to, and I think I've found it. 

This upper-body routine from personal trainer Roxanne Russell is just three minutes long—ideal for throwing in before my scheduled arm workout. 

Watch Roxanne Russell's upper body warm up

In general, when I get to the gym I just want to get on with my workout, so if a warm up takes ages it can be tempting to skip it or cut it short. However, I regularly follow Russell's workout videos (I loved this arms and abs workout), so I knew her warm up would be efficient and effective.

It consists of just six simple moves, including fan favourites such as mountain climbers and my go to, arm circles. Maybe I was having a stronger day, maybe it was the big bowl of pasta I had for dinner the night before (nothing quite like carb-loading, am I right?), or perhaps it was several weeks of following the progressive overload principle, but my workout felt much easier after this warm up. 

I do my strength training sessions first thing in the morning and generally my body takes some time to settle into the workout. The first few minutes are plagued by stiffness, lack of mobility and often lack of motivation. This warm-up helped combat this. Each movement was simple and genuinely prepared the individual muscles in my upper body for the workout to ahead. It's definitely one I'll be returning to again.

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness Writer

Lois Mackenzie is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering strength training workouts with weights, accessible ways to stay active at home, and training routines for runners. She joined the team from Newsquest Media Group, where she was a senior sports, trends, and lifestyle reporter. She is a dedicated runner, having just completed her first marathon, and an advocate for spending time outdoors, whether on a walk, taking a long run, or swimming in the sea. 

Lois holds a Master's degree in Digital Journalism, and has written for Good Health, Wellbeing & The Great Outdoors, Metro.co.uk, and Newsquest Media Group, where her reporting was published in over 200 local newspapers.