Dynamic Warm-Up: Pre-running Exercises


Running Legs

I mentioned that my Physical Therapist gave me some pointers on a pre-running flexibility routine which she called the “Dynamic Warm Up”. 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.

Happy Running.

Oh yeah, one final note. I was looking for additional documentation on this routine, and although I didn’t find any, I did find this additional reference to a set of Isometric Exercises for runners.

http://www.simplefitnesssolutions.com/products/runner.htm

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37 Responses to “Dynamic Warm-Up: Pre-running Exercises”

  1. garyd Says:

    Zappo. Thanks for sharing this routine. I actually have a guy do a “dynamic warmup” before we workout in the gym. Maybe I can incorporate some of these (we already do a couple). Bobby McGee has a little book that has some of this information in it too. I need to pick it up, but I haven’t.

  2. karlmccracken Says:

    Good reminder – I find it too easy to just head out the door. Do you have a different routine for bike-run sessions as the race season approaches?
    Karl.

  3. zappoman Says:

    Actually, for bike-run bricks I basically treat them all like race practices… I set up a little T2 at my house (or car or where ever I plan to transition) and then I just practice T2 like it was a race.

    As I’ve mentioned before, I know the guys that made the Documentary “What it Takes” about 4 world class Ironman Triathletes, and they tell me that Peter Reid ALWAYS runs after ever road cycling session he does. He basically always bricks it, even if he can only do a 3 mile run, he does it.

  4. RegiVizz Says:

    Hey, Thanks for the routine! I’ll have to incorporate these in my warm-up! (I love to skip so that should be fun! Never thought of doing that before to warm-up!)

  5. zappoman Says:

    Oh yeah, one other point… I plan to write a post about this someday in the future… but I also make a point of practicing my T1s and T2s. This is particularly good for a taper period, when you shouldn’t go out and train hard, but mentally you’re totally amped up to race. I take that energy and put it into practice transitions.

    Last year I taught myself how to do shoe-less T1s and flying mounts and dismounts on my bike for T1 and T2. I basically went out to a parking lot and practiced running up to my bike with no shoes on (shoes attached to the bike) and getting on the bike, putting on the shoes while riding away. I’d circle the parking lot, and then head back to my car, undo my shoes, slide my feet out, and practice jumping off the bike, picking the bike up and running barefoot about 20 yards… just like in a race.

    I think this gave me a significant advantage in races as my transition times are consistently top 10.

  6. noelryan Says:

    Thanks for posting this routine. I normally stretch indoors before I run, and then run straight from my front door.

    I have to say, though, doing the dynamic stretches as I walk past all my neighbours windows will feel odd – I bet they look odd!! Especially the skipping!

  7. halfawake Says:

    When I ran track/XC we called this ‘Active Stretching… You might get some more hits if you search for that.

    My impression now is that the dynamic warm ups are more important than static stretching (I think static stretching is more important afterwards, which is, of course, when you’re in a rush and don’t want to sit around :-)).

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  9. usman hafeez Says:

    this very true and beneficial starting warm up exercise thanx alote such a nice warming up training

  10. M Taylor Says:

    Sounds like a great routine, although I never like heel walking..

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  11. jessemcfarland Says:

    Great work. To simplize it for a more general workout…(other than running). Try this warm up as well. http://blog.mcfarlandtraining.com/2011/08/05/jesses-dynamic-warm-up

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