As a runner, if you are serious about performing your best and preventing injury, then you need to start doing both general and specific warm-up exercises before your runs, especially before hard workouts and races.
The dynamic warm-up I’m sharing with you today includes movements in all three planes of motion with a focus on muscle elasticity and joint mobility.
Image Credit – Jeremy Hughs via Flickr
So what’s a dynamic warm-up?
A dynamic warm-up challenges every part of your body that you use to run, and it has two phases: General and specific.
The general phase is about raising your body’s temperature and increasing blood flow and circulation to the muscles, which improves and promotes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles.
On the other hand, the specific part of the warm-up active your nervous system while using very similar biomechanics used in running, therefore, preparing the muscles to fire in the most running-specific way possible.
Benefits Of Dynamic Warm-ups
First of all it’s all about the heart rate. By doing this warm-up before a workout you will get your heart rate up and blood flowing throughout your body, which can help you prevent injury and premature fatigue as well as increase performance and training enjoyment.
This dynamic warm-up routine can help coordinate all of your moving parts—think joints, ligaments, and muscles—and get them to move together in the most efficient way possible. This is done by challenging your stability, strength, flexibility and mobility all at ounce.
In addition, this also will help you open up your joints and get them well lubricated, especially those within your ankles, feet, hips and spine.
Image Credit – Robb Hammer via Flickr
The Dynamic Warm-Up Routine You Need
Here are the five warm-up moves I do inside before heading out for a run.
Perform these exercises before your runs (and other workouts too) to boost your range of motion, loosen up tight muscles (especially if you are running in the early morning) and increase your circulation.
1. Toy Soldier
This move also stretches the back of your upper legs and fires up the core.
While keeping your back flat, knees straight, and core engaged, step forward, and kick your right leg straight out in front of your body up to waist level, flexing your toes the entire time. Extend your left arm at the same time as if you are reaching out to touch your right foot.
Release and change sides.
Do 12 reps on each leg.
2. Side Step/Shuffle
This is a lateral move that warms up the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and hips flexors—most of the key running muscles.
Not only that, if you perform this move as fast as you can, then it will also help you boost agility and coordination, helping you run faster as well.
Begin by standing as tall as you can with legs straight and arms hanging by your sides.
Next, step to the side by performing quick side shuffles for 10 to 15 meters to the right. On the last shuffle, land on your right foot, pause for a moment, then shuffle back to starting position. Make sure to raise your knees as high as you can.
3. Side to side leg swings
This is one of my favorite warm-up moves because the swings focus on the hip joints and hamstrings. Loose hips and hammies are vital if you are serious about running efficiently and pain-free.
Start by holding onto a sturdy chair, or a wall, then swing your right leg to your side and then back and across your torso (see the video).
Perform the move 12 to 16 times on each side.
4. Lateral Lunge
This move engages the glutes and adductor muscles and fires up the cardiovascular system.
Assume an athletic position with back straight, feet hip-width apart.
Next, step to your right side, then shift your weight toward your right foot, bending your right knee and pushing your hips back to lower into a lunge. For more, reach out with your left hand and tap your right foot.
To come out of this, extend your hips and push off with your right foot and return to starting position, then switch sides.
Do 12 reps on each side.
5. Walking Lunges
This move is vital for warming up most of your running muscles as well as increasing core body temperature. In addition, walking lunges can also increase your range of motion in your lower body. They are also necessary for improving balance and coordination.
Stand upright with your feet together, then step forward with your right foot, taking a long stride and lowering your left leg towards the ground. Make sure to keep your right knee over your ankles, toes pointing straight ahead.
Do this in a slow and flowing motion.
Next, push off with your left foot, raise up and bring it forward to your right foot, then step forward with your left foot to complete one rep.
Complete two sets of 12 lunges on each side.
6. Butt Kicks
This is a key move for warming your leg muscles in a running-specific way. Not only that, doing butt kicks on a regular basis also help you improve your running form and stride, too.
While keeping your core engaged and back flat, lean forward slightly so your chest is over the toes, then start jogging forward by bringing your heels to touch your hamstrings, in a butt kicking motion.
Make sure to keep your elbows close to your sides and ankles dorsiflexed the entire time.
Keep alternating kicking your butt with your right and left leg for at least one minute.
Here you have it!
Please perform the above dynamic warm-up before all of your runs and workouts to ensure maximum performance and prevent injury. Your speed of implementation is key here..
In the meantime, thank you for reading my post.
Feel free to leave your comments and questions below.
Featured Image Credit – Howard Poon via Flickr