Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dynamic Warm-Up Routine

In the past three weeks of training logs, I've mentioned the dynamic warm-up routine I do prior to all runs and workouts. I checked with Melanie, my trainer, and she said it was okay to share. In fact, she said it was great to "share it to help other people."

There are lots and lots and lots of articles about the importance of warming up. I just always ignored them. This training cycle, though, I've been really diligent about properly warming up prior to a workout and foam rolling after, and so far I'm feeling great.

Here's the routine Melanie taught me. I do this:

  • after a 1/2 mile warm-up on the treadmill before each weights workout,
  • before any easy run, and
  • after a slow mile warm-up for any speed or tempo running workout.
I also try to move my arms, shoulders and neck around, increasing mobility. A tight neck and shoulders on the run can definitely slow you down if they tighten up, and if you work at a desk all day, you likely suffer from some tightness there.

Dynamic Warm-Up Routine

For each exercise, I aim to do ten, taking a step between each one to keep my body moving throughout this routine. If it's something like a knee hug, then I do 20 so that each leg gets ten stretches.

I asked my dad to snap some pictures of me demonstrating the stretches when we were at the beach last Wednesday. And yes, I am trying to smile in all these shots, but sometimes I forgot and instead just look kind of pained. I promise these exercises are not painful, though!

Knee Hug

Pull your knee in to your torso and hug your shin as close as you comfortably can, stretching your hamstrings and glutes. Ideally your knee should reach up to your armpit. Gently lower your leg, step forward then repeat on the other side.

Quad Stretch

BAD form here, sorry Make sure your thigh is forming a straight line from your torso, not veering out.

That's better...

Lift your leg behind you with bent knee and grab your foot without leaning forward -- hips and torso should be in a straight line, stretching both your quad and hip. Release, step forward and repeat on the other leg.

Hip Stretch

This can be added after the quad stretch if your hips are particularly tight (mine always are). It's essentially a walking pigeon pose. Grab your foot with the hand on the standing leg side and your shin with your other hand. Slowly let your knee hang as much as possible, creating a figure 4 if possible, stretching out your hip flexor. Gently release your leg, step foward, then repeat on the other leg.

Bend and Squat

Known as the more forward of the Legally Blonde pick-up moves, first you fold at the hips and (try to) touch the ground with your fingers, stretching your hamstrings. Stand up straight, then take a step forward and do a body weight squat. Hinge at the hips to sit back with weight in your heels, without letting your knees knock inward, stretching your hamstrings and glutes. Stand up straight, take a step forward and repeat.

Walking Hamstring Stretch

Hinging at the hips, bend over with a straight back. As you bend, try to keep a straight line from your head to the foot of the lifting leg, stretching the hamstring of the standing leg. Move slowly at first as this is a deeper hamstring stretch than kicking your leg forward (hence why I like it!). Slowly lower, stand up straight and step forward, then kick the other leg back. 

Side Lunge

Lunge laterally to one side, keeping a straight back and sinking into the heel of the foot on the bent leg. Keep the other leg straight with the foot on the ground. Next, lunge toward the other side. Push off that foot to bring both legs together before repeating. I do five in each direction.

Happy stretching!


  1. I've finally, *finally* made dynamic stretching and foam rolling priorities since ramping up my running. Both make such a difference during workouts and definitely help the recovery process too.

    1. They really do make such a huge difference, especially for us non-pros who don't get massages frequently!