How to properly warm up for a workout?

A lot of us live life on the run (pun intended) and it would be easier to start the workout right away.  With the cold weather open us it is even more crucial to have a well put warm up routine, muscles get tighter in the cold vs a summer day in July.  There are different routines you can have and no one specific warm up routine is the best one. Find which warm ups best fit you and stick to that routine.

                The question is why warm up? I am a high school coach as well and get this question from high school athletes more than any age group. The reason for that is experience, the seasoned runner have experienced an injury or performance issue due to the lack of a proper warm up. The goal of a warm up routine is to warm up the muscle (creating blood flow) to avoid injury, create better performance and you can also have an opportunity to work on form.

Here is an example of dynamic stretch routine we do on our Monday Night Interval (at LHS 6pm).  We suggest doing these drills 10-15 yards.  These dynamic warm ups help activate large group of muscles.   There are many more drills out there but here is a good started set. Remember to stay up right or stand tall.

-Standing need hugs: You’ll start out by bringing up your knee and holding it for a second, then bring the knee to your chest and holding it for a couple of seconds, remember to stay upright. While you bring your knee up, pop up on your toes.  This drill will stretch out the hip flexor, glutes, and hamstrings.

– Table top: This is crucial for the hip flexor, especially for does who sit all day. It is important to open up the hips. This drill is very similar high knee hug, but you’ll pull up on your ankle and your knee will go to the side.  You’ll hold for a couple of seconds and find your balance. This drill excellent for the hip and opening things up.

-Quad pulls: Bring one leg and try not to bring it up right away. Remember to grab your ankle from the back of you and not your shoe. Each time you do this motions you’ll take one step forward. Remember to give a gentle tug every time you grab your ankle This will hip stretch out your quads and hips.

-Butt kicks: This warm up should be done slow. Number one mistake on this warm up is runners will do them as fast as they can like they did in PE class. Goal is to warm up the muscle, not pull them. You’ll start out by being up right and slowly begin kicking your (trying to) butt while having a slight lean forward. This drill will stretch out the quads and hamstrings.

-Running high knees: This drill is combining the high knee hug and butt kicks.  Once in again this drill needs to be done slowly to warm up. When doing the running high knees you want to bring your knees to hip level and bring your heel close to your butt/hamstring as close as you can. Lastly remember to land mid foot while doing this drill. This drill will stretch out your quads, hamstrings and calves. 

-Scoops: First we are going to start out with front straight and back leg bent. The front leg will have the heel touching the ground while toes are pointing up the sky and your back leg is planted flat.  Pop your butt back, causing you to lean forward from the hips and look straight ahead to force that back stay straight. Lastly, you’ll scoop your hands from your butt to back of your calves, heels, toes and up to the sky.  This drill will stretch out your hamstrings and lower back.

Milton Lyons