This is a step-by-step guide to my Vitruvian Qi dynamic warm up routine, the app is available now as a free download on the App Store!
This dynamic warm up will get you ready for general physical activity or sports. It will help to improve your movement and mobility and establish a foundation for health and fitness.
The Vitruvian Qi dynamic warm up comprises a series of 18 movements which are designed to raise your body temperature, get your blood and oxygen flowing, increase your range of motion and activate your nervous system ahead of physical activity.
I have developed and refined this warm up routine over many years and I believe this is an optimal sequence of movements to prepare you for general activity.
In this guide, I will go through each of the 18 movements step-by-step to explain the thinking and rationale behind the sequence. Hopefully you will have a better understanding of the “Art and Science” behind the dynamic warm up!
Please download my free app as it shows the warm up with high quality photo and video footage so you can follow along with this guide! The app also has detailed instructions on how to perform each movement.
The Vitruvian Qi is performed from head-to-toe, much like a traditional gymnastics or callisthenics warm up routine. It is performed standing up and in a fluid, flowing manner.
To begin with, it may take you some time to learn each movement, but using the app is a perfect way to learn the warm up and to refer to for cues.
The app includes full video clips where I demonstrate each movement with proper form and technique. If you are unable to access the internet, you can still refer to the high quality photos and text descriptions!
The entire dynamic warm up should take 10-15 minutes to perform, depending on your pace and the number of repetitions for each movement.
Posture and Breathing
We start the warm up with the Tadasana pose. Also known as “Mountain Pose”, this Yoga asana (posture) is a basic standing pose.
I feel it is important to learn Tadasana correctly as it helps to correct posture and relieve stresses and tensions from our modern sedentary lifestyle where we spend too much time in the day sitting down.
It is also the key foundational pose from which many of our movements begin.
From here, we move to Deep Breathing which encourages diaphragmatic breathing, filling your belly with air.
While both of these may seem simplistic, they are important foundational movements to help you establish and maintain correct posture and breathing patterns.
Neck, Shoulders, Arms
The next movement, Spinal Mobility, helps to activate your nervous system and warms up the neck and shoulder joints.
This movement is the inspiration for my take on the classic Leonardo da Vinci drawing, “The Vitruvian Man”, with my own design that I have used for my app!
Notice how in this position, my right palm is facing upwards while my left palm faces down.
In our version of “The Vitruvian Man”, the left hand is supinated in order to express as many fascial lines as possible. The Vitruvian Qi is a warm up that mobilises all of the fascial lines, which I believe differentiates this routine from other warm up sequences.
From here, we move to Shoulder Clocks, Arm Circles and Opposite Arms. These movements ensure that the warm up sequence fires up the upper half of our body, working out kinks and tightness around our shoulders. They will get the blood flowing and facilitate range of motion in our arms.
Rotation through the Core to the Hips
The next 3 movements help to move the warm up down through the torso and to the hips, and bring the fundamental rotation movement pattern into play.
Kung Fu Punch is a fun and effective way to safely engage rotational movements. This exercise increases your range of motion and rotational ability.
The classic Tai Chi Twist helps us transition down towards the hips, and encourages circulation of blood and oxygen through the trunk.
Hip Circles take the rotational movement down through towards the lower half of the body.
The Half Moon Stretch movement is an effective way to stretch and engage the lateral movement while also challenging your balance and spatial awareness.
Cross Crawl is essentially a basic crawling sequence, performed standing up. It requires balance and works the core.
This is a fundamental infant developmental pattern that is not dissimilar to climbing. It stimulates the left and right sides of the brain, assisting co-ordination.
Transition to the Lower Half
The Spine Roll Down begins the transition through to the lower half of the body. It helps with flexibility and mobility through the hamstrings.
If you cannot touch the ground, try to reach your ankles or shins.
The Wood Chop is very effective in getting the heart pumping and the blood flowing. It works your lungs and is a fantastic whole body movement.
The Wood Chop mimics the deadlift and snatch movement patterns.
The transition to the lower body is completed with the basic bodyweight “Air” Squat. The squat is a fundamental movement pattern.
Sadly, the modern sedentary western lifestyle has meant that many people have lost this basic ability to squat correctly and fully.
We move into the final phase of the dynamic warm up sequence with a series of lunges. The basic lunge is another key fundamental movement pattern.
Warrior Lunge helps with balance and coordination and the forward/backward movement of the whole body.
Shift Lunge stimulates the side-to-side movement and helps to stretch the inner thighs.
The rotational aspect that is introduced with the Cylinder Shift Lunge helps to bridge the movements from the earlier part of the sequence with the latter phases.
Finally, the Spiral Shift Lunge completes the lunge sequence. It is a more complex and challenging movement that the earlier lunges build towards.
After performing the Vitruvian Qi dynamic warm up, your muscles should be prepped for general sports and physical activity, your nervous system should be activated and stimulated, and your heart rate and body temperature should be up. You should have worked up a sweat and your body should feel ready to go!
If you are interested to find out more about fundamental movement patterns, stay tuned for my upcoming “5 Animal Fitness” apps! These ground breaking apps offer a series of workouts that focus on the key movement patterns- squat, lunge, push, pull, bend, twist!
Cool Down and Active Recovery
You can also perform the Vitruvian Qi on your rest days as an “active recovery” sequence, or as a cool down routine after sports and exercise.
When the sequence is performed at a slow and easy breathing pace, you will find it to be an effective cool down for your muscles as well as helping to calm your nervous system and mind.
Vitruvian Qi Workout
If you enjoyed the Vitruvian Qi dynamic warm up, you can access the Full Vitruvian Qi Workout as an in-app purchase!
The full workout takes about 30 minutes to perform. In addition to the dynamic warm up routine, the full workout consists of a total of 32 exercises and movements.
It builds on the movement and mobility patterns established in the dynamic warm up. The sequence is based on animal and infant developmental movement patterns, whole body compound exercises, and balance poses.
Taken in its entirety, the movements performed in the full workout help to tone your muscles, strengthen your core, and aid your coordination.
No equipment is required for this challenging workout, you just need standing space and some room and a surface to crawl on!
Download the Vitruvian Qi app today!