We didn’t invent the dynamic run warm-up, but we use it before every run workout to get our runners ready. Whether it’s adult or youth athletes, we use a very similar routine. The motions in the warm-up help get the muscles ready to move and work to their full potential. Warm ups such as these are vital to maximizing efficiency and minimizing strain and injury potential. Coach Sally ran through the basics of this warm-up with one of youth athletes, so we wanted to share it with you!
Dynamic lunge warm-up
The first thing you want to consider when warming up (and maintaining while you run) is your posture. You should be standing straight and tall, not slouching, and have your shoulders relaxed and arms at your side. This is the starting position for the warm-up and when you get ready to run. We’ll be lunging forwards, sideways, and backwards for this part of the warm-up.
We then start with lunges. Lunge forward with your right leg first and place your weight on your front right heel. You’ll be looking for a nice 90° angle on your right leg, weight on your right heel, with your posture still upright and your core engaged. Then, rock back and stand back up, pushing off your right leg.
Next, lunge to your right side. Your feet should stay pointed straight ahead with your hips going back. Make sure that your feet remain planted without any rocking forward our backward.
Finally, lunge backwards. You will swing your right leg back and drop down, forming a 90° angle with your left leg this time. Again, weight should be on your heel with a right angle on your left leg, with good upright posture. Then, stand back up.
Put those together to five forward, five lateral, and five rear lunges. Work one leg five times through in each direction, then switch legs!
Opening up hips and hamstrings
The next warm-up we do with our athletes is called Frankenstein. Again, you’ll be starting from a good tall posture with this workout. Raise your arms out in front of you level with your shoulders. From here, raise each leg up alternating left and right so that your legs rise at or near the level of your hands. It is more important to focus on your posture here than getting your legs as high as possible. Focus on staying upright and not leaning forward. This will start to open up your hamstrings.
Next, we’ll be doing run circle drills. Think of your circular running stride as you begin this warm-up. Simple stand on one leg, your supporting leg, and cycle through your good circular running stroke. Drive down with your opposite leg, bring your midfoot down under your body, and then pause at the top. This will help further loosen up your hips and get your legs ready to repeat that motion, bringing your midfoot underneath your body as you run and cycle through.
Finally, we work on our run arms. Again, this is focusing on getting your body ready to repeat the same motion with good form while running. Drop and relax your shoulders, bring your arms up to form a 90° angle at the elbow, and start moving your arms forward and backward. It is important here to keep them in the same plane of movement and not cross the imaginary line between your nose and belly button. Bringing your arms across the middle of your body creates inefficient movement! Keep your hands, arms, and shoulders relaxed and familiarize yourself with this motion.
It’s that simple!
Spending a few minutes before each run workout or race going through a warm-up like this can be a great boost to your running performance. If you’re having trouble with this or would like some feedback, feel free to reach out or leave a comment below! We’d love to help you practice and nail warm-ups that help you run your best.