Dynamic warm-up for runners

A bit of an injury update: I’m continuing to move forward. I’m seeing my PT once/week and each week we are adding in a bit more to my routine. This week I got onto the AlterG at 70 percent body weight for a single mile, mostly to provide a little stress for the hamstring which helps stimulate healing. It also served as a test for the spot. As anyone who has ever had a tendon injury knows, the pain may not show up during the run, but rather, somewhere in the next 24 hours. I’m happy to say mine felt better the next day…progress!

One of the things my PT and I discussed is the dynamic warm up. I have, of course, known about the importance of this for years, but like many runners, neglect it. Right now as I rehab, it’s more important than ever. There are many ways to go about a dynamic warm up and many moves you can incorporate. I checked in with my friend Pat, an uber-experienced runner, coach and personal trainer, and came up with these moves, which use both lateral and front-to-back movement. I also like to do moves that enhance better form, and believe that throwing in some barefoot strides before starting to run can help carry good form over into your run. Below, a sample of a simple, quick warm-up to loosen you up before the actual run.

dynamic warmup 768x1024 Dynamic warm up for runnersThat’s it. Five easy moves and about five minutes of time–I think it’s worth it, don’t you?

Do you practice a dynamic warm-up? What moves do you incorporate?

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  1. I really need to incorporate dynamic warm-ups into my routine, even if my lack of coordination makes every move a sight to behold!
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  2. Glad to see you are doing better! I don’t do those dynamic warm-ups. I mainly stretch but I really should. My runner son does those before a race.
    Kristina Walters @ Kris On Fitness recently posted..Half Marathon Training Recap – Week 1My Profile

  3. I do some of these already – front to back kick, side kick, hip hikes, walking lunges, butt kicks. Thanks for the tips to adding more!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Oat and Quinoa GranolaMy Profile

  4. I am terrible with stuff like this even though I know I need to. I usually only do them after a warm up before a race. I definitely need to get on my game as I ramp up for a spring half.
    Kimberly @ Healthy Strides recently posted..Feeding the frenzy: Core Values, Week 3My Profile

  5. I do practice dynamic warm ups. I love all the kicks and leg swings, especially right now when it’s so cold. I need something to warm me up! I am, however very remiss about strides. In my running coach class, he suggested either always starting or always ending with them.
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  6. First of all, that is so cool you got to run on an Alter-G!? What did THAT feel like? Second, I absolutely need to incorporate dynamic warm-ups. I usually only do them pre-race but, of course, I should do them whenever I’m running. Thanks for literally spelling it out…
    Allie recently posted..Reverse Bucket ListMy Profile

  7. Ever since PT I have been strict about doing dynamic warmups before a run. I do think they have made a big difference! I’m just bummed (no pun intended!) that my butt kicks don’t quite reach my butt…
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted..What’s For Dinner: Week of January 19My Profile

  8. Great news about the progress! Thanks for posting this. I *try* a dynamic warmup about 1 out of 3 times! You’re right- what’s five minutes if it’ll help prevent injury?
    I do some walking lunges with a twist and a couple other little things I don’t know the name of!
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  9. i feel like we should be neighbors and start a run club.. sigh. Great warm up! great PIN ABLE workout. ;-)
    lindsay recently posted..Crazy Cotter Work Out Round UpMy Profile

  10. I’m glad you are seeing progress on your injury!

    I need to be better about warming up before running. This will be a great workout to pull up on my phone before heading out. Thanks!
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  11. When I tore my calf a few years ago running on snow, I was put through a strict PT regime. It is tough, but those exercises truly help. I still do them twice a week even now, and I truly believe they make a difference. You will come back stronger and less injury prone from this :) I also do dynamic warmups before all my workouts, not only do they help the hard running, but they build speed, which is important for racing!

    Oh, and the pain with those kind of injuries is the worst!!!! When I had the muscle strain in the few weeks before the marathon (and particularly after my time off when coming back), it drives you crazy, it is not like a bone where you either run or dont; if there is any pain, STOP. Instead you have to play this crazy game of pushing it a little, but not too much….or you have to take 3 steps back. If you ever need someone to talk to I am here….it plays tricks with your minds, and I hated running during that time. I know some tricks if you are struggling though….dont wanna make this comment too long haha! Hang in there, each day you move one step closer to being back :)
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  12. With the coaching group in Houston, we always did dynamic warm ups across the field before getting started. Usually exaggerated knee lift/hops (while running) then butt kicks (while running) and the grapevine (side to side) plus a few others I forget… but it did seem to help!
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  13. I should do this too. My warm up is usually walking my dog, and I do a few static forward bends to wake up my back.
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  14. I do a dynamic warm-up although mine is slightly different. I do ankle rotations instead of butt kicks.
    Jamoosh recently posted..The Training RaceMy Profile

  15. How cool that you got to run on an Alter G. I’m glad it went well and you are on the path to recovery. I do think dynamic warmup is a great thing, now if only I remembered to do it before each run!
    Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..First Race of the YearMy Profile

  16. Usually my warm up consists of multiple trips up and down the stairs of my split level home–carrying laundry or other items belonging to the men in my house!! In all seriousness, I should do something more targeted, tho…

    So glad you’re recovering from that injury. I spent most of 2012 recovering from injuries, so I appreciate every run!

  17. I do a series of dynamic stretches after foam rolling. The stretches move through all planes of motion and focus on key areas (my key areas) like hips, calves, quads and adductors.
    Jess recently posted..Spring Marathon Training: Choosing a Goal RaceMy Profile

  18. I always do a dynamic warm up before track and tempo runs but should probably start doing one before all my runs. Glad to hear you are making progress!
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  19. Great warm-up:) I don’t stretch before I run but I think it’s a good idea to get my muscles a bit more limber before I take off.
    Rachelle Q recently posted..Reverse Bucket ListMy Profile

  20. I have been ready to implement dynamic warmups for a while..ready, but haven’t pulled the trigger. What a great reminder – I’m going to actually do it now! :)
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  21. Thank you for posting your dynamic warm-up! My coach has had me doing this for the past year and now it is a regular part of my training. This is such a great way to get your muscles warmed up before starting training! I wish you continued positive recovery!
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  22. I used to do a dynamic warm-up similar to that in college but now I just let my first mile or so act as the warm-up. Maybe I will start using this again and try to be preventative!!!
    Glad you are healing!!
    Kim recently posted..A Sherpa Wife I’m NotMy Profile

  23. I am definitely guilty of neglecting this. I should start incorporating this into my runs as well as a brief walk interval before jumping into my run!

    Karen @karenlovestorun
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  24. I may sometimes skip stretching after a run but I always do a dynamic warmup. I use the one recommended in ChiRunning. So glad to hear your hammy is feeling good!
    Marcia recently posted..Stuff I Don’t GetMy Profile

  25. absolutely I do a warm up every single time and I swear it’s been one of the best things I”ve done. I like to do the leg swings and knee rolls and a few lunges with twists. Then i always walk before I run :)
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  26. Love this! My PT and I were just discussing the necessity (not option) of dynamic stretching! I like to grapevine just to practice my agility so I don’t get schooled in afternoon football games with the kids!
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  27. So glad to hear that you are continuing with the forward progress. This warm up reminder is so important–I feel like we often let it fall by the wayside in training! :-)
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  28. When it gets warmer out, I’ll have to try this warm up.
    Kierston recently posted..Down To The Core: A Story About Strength and a Core Power FIT KIT Giveaway!My Profile

  29. My dynamic warm up usually involves me running slowly and chatting for the first kilometre or so. Really the only thing that gets warmed up is my vocal chords.
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  30. yeah, I should do some of those kicks and things. I never warm-up, except easy jogging before short races.
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  31. Yay!! So glad to hear that PT is going well. I too know the importance of a dynamic warm-up but I will admit that I don’t always do it. Mostly because of time or I just plain forget. I’m usually much happier when I do them though!
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  32. I’m the worst… spending 5-10 minutes to warm up is like missing out on a mile. I know that doesnt make sense, but that is how my running brain works. It’s messed up, I know.
    Pavement Runner recently posted..Arizona: All The RunningMy Profile

  33. Glad to hear you are making progress and got to run :) I don’t do a dynamic warmup, although I really should with all the injuries I have dealt with in the last 9 months. ugh
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  34. SO GLAD things are moving forward for you.

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  35. Glad things are going well and you are making progress!

    I used to be really good about dynamic warmups and stretching as we HAD to do it in HS and college for track. I’d like to get back to the place where it’s second nature.
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  36. It’s always been cool to watch track runners do their dynamic warm-ups. A good warm up is a HUGE difference between a crappy workout and a good one. That being said, I consider myself to be a very dynamic woman, complete with firework explosions trailing behind me. (no, they’re not farts)
    Yum Yucky recently posted..Food from ‘da hood.My Profile

  37. I started doing dynamic warm up moves a while back.. in fact with age, I will jump on & off the treadmill with my HIIT & intervals to do the front & side kicks to keep these old joints healthy – it has helped! :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..How to Manage Weight Gain as We AgeMy Profile


  1. […] Dynamic Warmup For Runners (Miss Zippy) – If you’re running in these cold conditions, then a warm-up is crucial! I do all of these moves before I head out for a run. […]

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