Warming up for a workout is important if you're going to run the workout to your potential. A bad or inappropriate warm-up often leads to a slower workout. And because most of you are only doing one or two workouts a week (in addition to your weekly long run, which is arguably the most important workout of the week), you need to make the most of your workout opportunities.
A proper warm-up should include the following:
- movement in all three planes of motion
- focus on joint mobility
- jogging portion to improve enzymatic function of the aerobic enzymes
- strides that are run faster than the pace you'll run for the workout
Move in All Three Planes of Motion
Human motion can be described with just three planes of motion. The sagittal plane is motion that is forwards and backwards, so running is primarily a sagittal-plane activity.
The transverse or rotational plane describes motions like a golf swing, where the body is moving around an axis from the head to the feet. There is a bit of transverse motion involved in running; for example, when your right knee comes up in your stride, your left hand and arm come up as well. The hips are facing slightly to your left, while your shoulders are facing slightly to your right. Thus, there is a constant oscillation between the shoulders and the hips in running. Contrast this with a golf swing, where the hips and the shoulders move in the same direction during the each phase of the swing.
The third plane of motion is the frontal plane, which describes movement from side to side. Think of a shortstop moving to his right to get a ground ball.
You should be familiar with all three planes of motion because when you do a warm-up that challenges you to move in all three planes, you have a better chance of staying injury-free. Most of you came to running after being active in other sports, yet after miles and miles of running, your body only moves in the sagittal plane, which is part of the reason overuse injuries are so common in runners.
Warm-Up Move #1: The Lunge Matrix
We want to "wake up" as many muscle groups as possible before we start running. So how do you do this? In my opinion, the Lunge Matrix is the best way to get your body moving in all three planes of motion.