Warm-Up Exercises for Acting Classes

Updated April 17, 2017

Acting, like so many other activities, requires a decent warm up. Actors and student actors need to warm up their vocal chords, because tight vocal chords make a voice sound weak. Physical warm ups are good for loosening up muscles and creating body awareness. Short warm up exercises are great way to start any acting class.

Vocal Warm Ups

Tongue and Lip Exercise: Students repeat: ta, ta, ta, ta; da, da, da, da; bah, bah, bah, bah; ma, ma, ma, ma. Start out slowly, then get faster and faster, all while enunciating clearly.

Tongue Twisters: The teacher reads several short tongue twisters aloud, then students repeat them loudly and clearly. The teacher can use a book of tongue twisters or any that they might already know from memory. Tongue twisters help improve diction. Some examples include: - Little Lillian lets lazy lizards lie along the lily pads. - Nine nice nieces never noticed nine nice nieces noticing nine nice nieces. - Sheila shall surely show her shining seashore shells. - Thick thistles throbbed in Thelma Thimble's thumb.

Choral Reading: Choral reading requires students to read a poem or song lyrics in unison. The teacher can display the words on a projector or hand out copies of the words. Hard copies allow students to keep the poem or lyrics with them to use in future warm ups. Students can speak in different tones and inflections, first quiet, then loud, high-pitched and low pitched, slow and fast.

Physical Warm Ups

Chain Reaction: Students stand in a circle, arm's length apart. The student who starts the chain reaction performs a short movement --traditional or creative, easy or difficult--like a jumping jack, twirl or any kind of motion. While making the movement, the student will simultaneously make a vocal noise. The following person in the circle will repeat the movement and noise, then make up one of her own. The next student will repeat only the one previous movement and noise, then perform his own. This continues around the circle and ends with the person who began.

Stretches: Stretching helps students create awareness of their body and limbs, and gets muscles ready for movement. They can be done in silence or with music. Students should perform traditional stretches that warm up the arms, legs, torso, neck and back. Common stretches include reaching with the arms, sitting with legs straight and touching the toes and rolling the neck slowly in half-circles without ever rolling it too far to the back.

Shake It Off: After stretches, students can gently shake different parts of their body, starting at the head and ending with the toes. This is a good way to get blood flowing through the body.


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About the Author

Laura Rico has been a journalist for more than five years in Michigan and California. She began her career as a staff writer at two community newspapers before accepting an assistant editor position in Northern California. She currently works as a page designer/copy editor and freelance writer in Holland, Mich.