A proper warm-up routine is vital to maintaining your body and avoiding injury. Bellevue Club personal trainer and certified running coach Annelise DiGiacomo put together the following dynamic warm-up series specifically with runners in mind, but turns out it’s pretty great for anyone embarking on any activity.
The purpose of the dynamic warm-up is to coordinate all your moving parts—muscles, ligaments and joints—by challenging flexibility, mobility, strength and stability all at once. The benefit is two-fold: first, it warms the muscles and soft tissues for optimal performance, and second, it reduces the risk of injury from overloading inadequately prepared muscles. Precede the warm-up routine with five minutes of brisk walking, light jogging or jumping rope.
Perform each activity for approximately 30 yards, one to two times each.
Stretches the glutes
and hip flexors
Standing with a tall posture, grab one knee with both hands and bring it up toward your chest until the stretch is felt in the glutes. Maintain balance on the lower leg by firing up the glute muscles and pushing through your big toe. Hold the stretch for one to two seconds. Step forward and pull the opposite knee to your chest. Alternate legs as you walk forward.
Increases the spring and absorption of mid-foot landing and dynamically mobilizes the quadriceps by stretching the leg extensors
Walking forward or at a light jogging pace, stay on the balls of your feet. Standing on one leg, bend the opposite knee and with an exaggerated back swing, bring your heel up to meet your glute with each step. Alternate legs as you walk or jog forward.
Walking Figure 4
Increases flexibility and range of motion through the hips and glutes
Standing on one leg, lift the foot of the opposite leg toward the middle of your body. Grasp the knee and foot and pull toward your chest until a stretch is felt in the glutes. Keep your head and chest upright. Hold for one to two seconds. Alternate legs as you walk forward.
Hacky Sacks (Alternating Toe Taps)
Improves range of motion and coordination, while stretching the hip adductor muscles and engaging the hip abductors. This also stimulates the balance needed to start running.
Stand with both feet flat, lift your left leg up and tap the inside of your foot with your right hand without bending forward. Alternate legs while walking forward or hopping in place.
Heel and Toe Walk
Warms up the calves and the muscles and ligaments of your ankles and feet, while also stretching the plantar fascia and shin muscles.
Lift toes and step forward with your weight on your heels, flexing your feet so the balls of your feet remain off the ground. Alternate legs as you walk.
Step forward and rise up onto your toes as you walk forward, distributing even weight over forefoot and all toes, with your big toe being the primary support.