There are numerous ways to warm up for your daily runs. Those following the latest research on running are aware that static stretching before your run (touching your toes, etc.) has shown static to be either ineffective or counterproductive.
What is the alternative to static stretching? Thankfully, runners, coaches and PT’s interested in the progression of the sport have worked to create new and more effective warm ups. For those who have yet to try these new types of warm ups they are called “dynamic warm ups” and involve movements instead of holding poses with the muscles you are going to use. Below are two of my favorite exercises which I have combined, and modified, into my own personalized warm up.
The first is from Coach Jay Johnson, whose website is a wealth of knowledge for running nerds looking for great interviews, stretches, strengthening activities, speed drills and much more. I have heard Jay refer to this warm up as both the “Lunge Warm Up” and the “Lunge Matrix.” The Lunge Matrix just sounds cooler and so that is what I often refer to it as. Some of your muscles will likely feel alive and awake the first few times you do this since it might be the first time they’ve been used in many years (if ever).
Jay’s warm up is an excellent warm up not only for its use as a warm up and strengthening tool but also because it is time efficient. Many of us struggle to find the time to run and might be asking, “How am I going to find time to add something else on top of the time needed for running?” This warm up is brief enough to easily implement it to the start of your daily run without worrying about adding too much extra time to your daily time spent running. It is also simple enough to easily memorize after a few times through.
Jay is constantly looking to upgrade this warm up. My own issue over the past year continues to be tightness in my shoulders and neck while running and so the movements below complete the other half of my ideal warm up: the upper body portion. The movements in this link are from stretching guru Phil Wharton and are the best compliment to the lower body exercises from the first video that I’ve found so far.
I am going to post a video of my version of these two warm up activities in the near future. Please leave a comment or question below about what has been your most effective warm up routine(s)? What would you like to see in a warm up routine? How important is the amount of time spent warming up to you?