Do you warm up before a run? If you do static stretches or skip a pre run warm up altogether, let me take a moment to persuade you of why you need to do dynamic stretching before a run. Today is this month’s workout round up and we are sharing five dynamic warm ups for runners!
Research has concluded that static stretching before a run actually has no impact on your athletic performance. Runners who stretch before a run don’t run any faster, but they do report higher levels of perceived effort at the start of a run. Efficiency in running relies upon stiff, springy muscles – and static stretching before a run can render the muscles just a little too flexible.
So if the results are the same but a run feels harder, why do static stretching before a run?
But you don’t want to transition immediately from rest to running, especially if you run first thing in the morning or after working at a desk all day long. Instead of static stretching, experts encourage runners to practice dynamic stretching before a run.
In contrast to static stretching, dynamic stretching improves mobility and uses controlled movements to mimic the specific motions of your sport. For runners, dynamic stretching thus improves mobility of areas such as the hips, ankles, and knees while also warming up the muscles for the repetitive motion of running.
These five dynamic warm ups for runners will warm your body up for running, reduce the risk of injury, and improve your athletic performance. I always like to throw in a short walk of 2-5 minutes before or after these dynamic stretches as well.
I’ll admit that sometimes I do the partial warm up (legs swings and walking lunges) before an easy run or long run, but before a hard workout like fartleks, mile repeats, or tempo runs, I’ll do all of these moves. Pick a couple that work for you or do them all!
Leg Swings: Stand with your legs hip-width apart. Swing your right leg forward and back, increasing the range of motion as you go (especially backwards to activate your glutes). Repeat on your left leg. Keep your knees slightly bent and relaxed. You can use a wall or table to rest your hands on for support if needed.
Lateral Leg Swings: These are similar to leg swings, except you are swinging your legs side to side instead of front to back.
Arm Circles: These will loosen up a tight upper back and help you keep your arms and shoulder in the proper position while running. Extend your arms straight out from your sides, parallel with the ground. Circle your arms forward for the number of reps, and then circle them backwards. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears and stand up straight.
Walking Lunges: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward with your right foot into a lunge, with your knee above your ankle and thigh parallel to the ground. Lift your left leg up and forward and then step into a lunge with your left leg. As you lunge, you should be traveling forward. You can let your arms rest by your sides or on your hips. One lunge equals one rep.
High Knees: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart. Quickly raise your right leg up so that your thigh is parallel with the ground, then quickly switch and raise your left leg. Focus on quickly switching legs and landing softly on the ground.
Butt Kicks: Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart. Quickly kick your right leg back towards your butt, then switch and kick your left leg back. Focus on quickly switching legs and landing softly on the ground.
Brooklyn Active Mama’s dynamic warm up will activate your glutes for powerful running:
Happy Fit Mama’s dynamic warm up works all plans of motion:
Vita Train 4 Life offers a quick and simple approach to dynamic warm ups:
Fine Fit Day has dynamic warm up to get your legs ready to run:
(Run Far Girl, our usual sixth contributor, will be back next month. Right now she’s working hard to prepare for the Rise.Run.Retreat!)
How do you warm up before a run?