Warm-Up Exercises for Runners
Runners need to focus on movements that are specific to the sport of running. Arm swings and shoulder rotations are nice, but they're not as helpful as exercises that focus on the legs.
These are some of the best warm-up exercises for runners. Perform 10 repetitions per leg.
- Walking dead lifts (also called the "drinking bird")
- Lunges (front, side, backwards and rotational)
- Donkey kicks
- Hamstring raises
- Front and side leg swings
- A-skips and B-skips
I recommend a standard Warm-up Routine before your run, which includes a series of nine exercises that can be done anywhere without any equipment.
If you normally run after work, it's particularly important to make sure your body is prepared for the increased activity level. After eight or more hours of sitting in an office, you'll experience stiff muscles, tight hamstrings, stretched glutes and poor posture.
A dynamic warm-up helps counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting so you can focus on running efficiently without the tight muscles and poor hip flexibility that's common in sedentary individuals.
More: Hip Strengthening and Mobility Exercises for Runners
Warm-Up Tips and Tricks
- Try to do the warm-up routine as close to your run as possible. If you're driving to the start of your run and won't be able to sit down outside, do the sitting exercises at home before you leave and the standing exercises at your car before you start running.
- If possible, perform the exercises barefoot to develop foot and lower-leg strength. You can also do the routine after you run to help you cool down, but remember to also incorporate an effective strength workout post-run or on non-running days.
- If any exercise is too difficult, that's a good indicator that you have something to work on. But if an exercise causes you pain, skip it.
- Once you learn a series of dynamic flexibility movements, you can do an effective warm-up in as little as five minutes. Isn't spending five minutes before your workout worth it to run stronger, faster and safer?
More: 7 Experts on the Best Ways to Warm Up for a RunSign up for your next race.
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