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Dynamic Warm Up: Pre-Running Exercises
Recently, my Physical Therapist gave me some pointers on a pre-running flexibility routine which she called the “Dynamic Warm Up”. It is important to warm up, especially before doing speed work or explosive type movements. The warm up increases the heart rate, redirects blood flow, increases deep muscle temperature, and improves viscosity of joint fluids.
The basic idea of the routine is to do some basic leg stretches while moving/walking. I have used this routine now a couple times, and for me it’s been a useful routine to stretch and warm up as I walk the 3 blocks from my house to the trail that I run a basic out and back route on.
Here’s my description of this routine.
Do each of the following sets for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remember to keep good posture and think about the motions and technique of each movement.
- Heel Walking: This is pretty obvious. Walk on your heels. Pay particular attention to not have your forefoot touch the ground. You should feel a good stretch in your calf muscles.
- Toe Walking: Again, obvious. Walk on your toes, taking care to not touch your heels to the ground. You should feel a good stretch in your shins and the tops of your feet.
- Front Grabs: Walk forward lifting your forward moving leg up high to your chest. Grab the front of your lower leg and pull your knee up to your chest. Alternate each leg with each step. You should feel a nice quad stretch.
- Twist Grabs: Similar to Front Grabs, but pull your shin toward your chest rotating your knee outward. You should feel a glute stretch.
- Hurtle Steps: Good warm up for your hip flexors, groin, and glute. As you take each step swing your leg up and out as if stretching it over an imaginary hurdle at the side of your body.
- Skip: You know… just like when you were a kid! It might look funny, but it’s good for you.
- Forward Lunge: Do a forward lunge with each step. Feel the stretch in your hip flexor for the back leg and a slight stretch in the quad of your front leg.
- Strides: Take short running strides focused on proper technique. Remember good trunk rotation, stride length, and speed.
- Grape Vines: Running side-ways; start with right foot forward, left foot back; bring left foot forward toward the front of the right foot (heel of left foot passes in front of toes of right foot); step right foot forward; then bring left foot forward, this time behind the right foot (toes of left foot pass behind heel of right foot). Do this for 30 seconds, then face other direction and repeat leading with left foot.
- Butt Kicks: Run with with exaggerated knee bend such that back of lower leg kicks back of hip and heel touches your glutes.
Isometric Exercises For Runners