It used to be that people just talked about preventing injuries when touting the importance of warming up before running. Now the conversation has switched to “activation”, which explains the underlying mechanisms of why warm-ups work.
When your muscles are “activated” properly prior to running, not only will you prevent injuries, but you’ll also be able to run more powerfully and efficiently because the muscles that give you the most power are turned on and engaged. Sitting at a desk all day, for example, “turns off” your glute muscles… your butt essentially becomes lazy and half-functioning. (Google “dead butt syndrome.”)
By going through an activation series prior to running, you’re waking up those muscles, getting them re-firing, and priming them for movement. Don’t believe me? Give this warm-up a try before your next run, and see if you notice a difference.
(Note: If you have more chronic/systemic activation issues, you’ll want to get with a good PT to address this.)
This quick 5-minute warm-up routine is what works for me. It’s short, but sweet, and it does everything I need it to – it gets blood flowing, activates my hips, glutes, and hamstrings, and takes me through some range-of-motion work.
The seven moves I do before every run (shown in the video above):
(Note: You’ll need a miniband, which you can buy here. They are super affordable and will last you forever!)
- 10-12 banded squats
- 5-10 each side banded hip abductions
- 5-10 each side banded glute kickbacks
- 5-10 steps each side banded lateral low walks
- 5-10 steps each side banded monster walks
- 8-10 each side leg swings
- 8-10 each side cross-body leg swings