One of the most important aspects of any run takes place before you even step outside the house or onto the treadmill: warming up.
Not warming up properly means your muscles aren’t properly prepared for the exercise ahead, which can affect your performance or, worse, lead to injury.
The running training experts at Runna have pulled together the following five best warm-up exercises to do before starting a run.
Complete 30 seconds of each exercise, resting as needed, and do 2-3 rounds in total.
1a. Straight-Leg Swing
Benefits: Leg swings create a pumping mechanism, helping move fluid in and out of your joints, while stimulating blood flow in the surrounding tissue. This improves not just flexibility of the joint capsule, but also of the tissue that you’re going to be using for peak running performance.
- Stand straight, with your feet hip-width apart, and hold onto a wall or fence.
- Keeping one leg stationary, slowly swing the opposite leg forward and backward in a single, smooth movement.
- Switch sides and repeat until the set is complete. Make sure to maintain proper form and breathing pattern throughout.
1b. Lunge and Twist
Benefits: Improves strength and balance, and engages muscles one leg at a time – replicating running.
- Stand straight, with your feet hip-width apart and your arms lifted at the front.
- Take a step forward with your right leg, bend both knees and rotate your torso to the right.
- Return to the starting position and repeat the movement on the left side.
- Alternate sides until the set is complete.
1c. Butt Kick
Benefits: Engages the quads and replicates the running movement.
- Begin by standing with your feet about hip-distance apart, with your arms at your side.
- Slowly bring your right heel to your buttocks by contracting your hamstring muscle.
- Place the ball of your right foot back on the ground, and slowly bring your left heel to your buttocks.
- You can speed this up into a jog depending on confidence and ability
1d. ‘Shoo the Chickens’
Benefits: Engages the hamstrings, which are vital for strong running.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, facing forward.
- Step the leg you will be stretching forward, placing your heel on the ground a few inches in front of your other foot, with the foot flexed – so the toes are pointing towards the sky.
- Place your hands behind your back, so that the back of your hands are on your lower back, palms facing out.
- Pull the shoulders back and low, keeping the head up and chest out.
- Begin to sit back, bending the back leg and keeping the front leg straight.
- Keep the majority of your weight on the heel of your back leg, bending forward at the waist, while keeping the back straight.
- Hold this position for the duration of the exercise and repeat on the other side.
1e. Diagonal Toe Tap
Benefits: Improves speed, balance, and foot-handling skills.
- Stand with a wide base, with toes facing forward.
- Drop the chest, and with the alternative arm touch the opposite toe, so the body is stretched across.
- Rotate from side to side, to open up the body and stretch the hamstrings.
EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT: Get 15% off your Run Buddy subscription by entering the code MENSFITNESS15 at therunbuddy.co.uk