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Professional advice and guidance for aspiring actors.

How to Warm Up as an Actor

Actors are performance artists and their medium is themselves. If you want to be a successful working actor, it’s important to learn how to prepare your body, voice and mind for the work.

Every good high performance athlete has a warm up routine they do daily, it’s your job as an actor to do the same for yourself.

When your instrument is warmed up and ready to perform, you feel your best and produce your best work. Developing a great warm up as a part of your daily acting habits is a small action that has a massive impact on your acting development.

Your warm up is a great way to center yourself on set. When your warm up is a part of your work routine, your body recognizes the movement as a cue to settle nerves and get ready to have fun. Get used to doing your warm up in your trailer before going to set and you’ll find yourself performing with more and more confidence.

Here are some great warm-ups that are guaranteed to help you perform on the set.


Becoming physically and vocally limber and mentally relaxed helps you prepare for any performance. Warm-ups are critical for actors. A good warm-up will lower anxiety, connect you with your breath and set you up for success regardless of how physically or mentally demanding a role may be.


A great warm up routine is short and sweet and covers the big three: your body, your voice and your mind.

Warming up your Body for Acting

Your body is your instrument, and taking the time to get yourself physically ready for the work will set you up for success in your acting work; whether it’s an audition, a class or a performance on set.

  1. Gentle Moving - Always start your warm up slowly and mindfully to get your blood flowing and muscles moving. Shuffling your feet or lightly bouncing on your toes is a great way to get started. Dancing around to your favorite song is a fun option too!

Pro tip: Pick a song for your warm up that reflects the mood of your work for the day. Working a comedy scene? Pick an upbeat       fun song! Working a dramatic monologue? Go for your favorite moody ballad.

  1. 10-1 Limb Shake Out - Starting with one arm, shake it out counting down from ten, repeat with the other arm, then one leg and then the other. Once complete, start again with your first arm, this time counting down from 9, then 8, 7, 6, all the way down to 1 shake with each limb. This body shake out is a great way to release tension and get your energy flowing.
  2. Lion Face, Sour Face - This is a common technique used by actors since it warms up all your many facial muscles. Doing this exercise allows you to get your whole face warmed up and relaxed so that all your impulses can naturally flow across your face in your acting work.

Here’s how to do it:
Open your eyes and mouth as wide as possible, and stick out your tongue; like a lion, then close your eyes, pucker your lips and scrunch up your face as hard as you can; like you just ate something really sour.

Switch back and forth between your lion face and your sour face 4 or 5 times.

  1. Full Body Stretching - Whether it’s touching your toes and arm circles or a few rounds of sun salutations, ending your body warm up with a great stretch relaxes your body and starts getting your mind centered for your acting work.

Vocal Acting Warm-Ups

An actor’s voice is a major part of the actor’s performance, so warming up your voice before tackling a scene for an audition or for performing on set is a crucial step in your warm up routine. Enunciation, projection, resonance; warm up your voice to make sure you can nail your vocal performance without damaging your vocal chords or your confidence.

Here are some of the best vocal warm-ups for actors:

  1. Gentle Humming and Sighs - Just like when you start your physical warm up, it’s important to start your vocal warm up with mindful ease. Your vocal chords are sensitive, so treat them with care with some gentle humming and sighing to get things going.
  2. Lips Trills - Using two fingers, lightly press your cheeks together so that your lips pout slightly. Then take a deep breath and slowly release the air until your lips gently vibrate together, holding until just before you run out of breath. Keep your face relaxed throughout and repeat 5-10 times.
  3. Tongue Twisters - Repeating these can help to loosen your mouth muscles and improve the pronunciation of intricate lines. Start by reading each through slowly, then repeat three more times, getting progressively faster with each read. Here are some fun tongue twisters to add to your acting warm up routine:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Betty bought a bit of butter. But the bit of butter Betty bought was bitter. If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter. But a bit of better butter will make my batter better. So, Betty bought a better bit of butter.

She sells seashells by the seashore. The seashells she sells are seashells I’m sure.

To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock, awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock, from a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!

  1. Dive Bombs - Take a deep breath and then make a “Ah” sound starting at a medium high note and then slowly sliding down to a low note. Repeat three or four times.

Mental Warm Ups for Actors

Now that you’ve warmed up your body and your voice, it’s time to get yourself mentally warmed up for your work. And no, that doesn’t mean anxiously repeating your lines over and over again in your head. It means the complete opposite, in fact! Taking a few moments at the end of your warm up to get yourself in the right mindset will have a significant impact on your acting work.

  1. 2 Minute Meditation - Sitting comfortably with your eyes closed, focus your attention on your breath; how does the air feel moving in and out of your nose and mouth? Breathe in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 4. If you find your thoughts straying to what you’ve got to do later or what happened on the last episode of your favorite tv show, no worries! Just gently bring your attention back to your breath.
  2. Character Thoughts - The final exercise before starting work on your acting scene, is to prep your internal monologue. Get your imagination flowing and take a few minutes to start thinking like your character. What’s on their mind? What are they feeling? What are they worried about? What did they have for breakfast that morning? What’s going on for them right before the scene you’ll be playing? This exercise is simple and oh so powerful. It will allow you to ground yourself into you character and open you up to experience the events of the scene fully.

Experimenting with different warm-up exercises is vital for any actor. Try the ones outlined here and then explore and find others to try to! Once you have your favorites, make them a regular practice and you’ll soon find that your warm up becomes a habit that propels your acting work to new heights.

Like anything else in life, consistency is key. Success as an actor isn’t luck, it’s the result of dedicated commitment. When you’re ready to be a full time actor, check out the Laura Mac Method online courses and get all the information, training and support you need to become unstoppable. Your acting dreams can be a reality! And the Laura Mac Method team is here to help you every step of the way.