Getting ready to run: the dynamic warm up

Here at Jade we see many runners that have either stopped or cut back on running because of an injury.  A recent review by the British Journal of Sports Medicine estimates that injury rates to the lower body in endurance runners can be as high as 79%.   A frequent component of treatment in returning to running involves instruction in a dynamic warm up.  

Why is a dynamic warm up a good idea before running?  Although many individuals jog slowly for a few minutes as a pre-run warm up this may not be the best way to prepare the body for running.  Some research has found that a dynamic warm up vs none or static stretching helps to boost agility and power.  (Static stretching is defined as a stretch to a muscle group held for a prolonged period of time such as 30 seconds or longer).  A good dynamic warm up will take the joints and muscles through a larger range of motion than what they experience during running, lubricating the joints and increasing blood flow to soft tissue in preparation for the work ahead.  Doing this may also enable better form while running. 

A good dynamic warm up will take around 10 minutes total to perform and should target the major muscle groups with at most a very brief hold in each position.  Some exercises that could be incorporated as part of your dynamic warm up may include:  

  • Walking lunges: keep abs engaged and take a big step forward keeping your pelvis & spine in a neutral position, lowering rear leg towards the floor in a comfortable range but sufficient to produce a stretch.  Repeat 10x/side, alternating sides each repetition.
  • Tin soldiers: standing tall Extend an arm straight out in front and keeping abs engaged kick the opposite leg forward, keep the arm extended outward as though your foot will touch your toes but don't bend your back to reach your toes.  Alternate sides each time, repeating 10x/side.
 Image Source:  Workout Labs

Image Source: Workout Labs

  • Quad pulls: standing tall and keeping abs engaged, pull your ankle towards your hip stretching the front of your thigh, for increased stretch reach the opposite arm up towards the ceiling.   Repeat 10x/side alternating each repetition.
 Image source: Runners World

Image source: Runners World

In general, remember a dynamic warm up is meant to prepare your body for more vigorous activity ahead.  The list above is not meant to be comprehensive but at least a starting point.  Any exercises performed in a dynamic warm should generally be pain-free and performed with good alignment and posture.

If you have questions on how you may (or may not) be warming up for activity or are unable to perform your regular activity as you would like, give us a call here at Jade!