One of the many concepts that runners must confront is warm-up. Warm-up’s are tricky: what do you do for a warm-up, how to you go about it, and what are you looking to get out of it. For years, many people simply stretched, then as research trended for a more active routine, they jogged a couple slow laps and then stretched. But, stretching will diminish your body’s ability to perform at a peak level for 30-40 minutes—not the goal of a warm-up—and it has been shown to be of no real consequence when it comes to injury prevention. Today, we now know that a dynamic, active routine is the best overall solution.
Thus we work with our runners and have them use the following lunge routine before their steady runs. These lunges warm the body up, work on movements in all planes of movement, engage the core and leg muscles to build strength, and in the end improve athleticism. We do a total of five lunge exercises, doing five reps per leg. Once five becomes easy, you can consider going to ten.
1. Forward lunge:
a. Step into a lunge forward. Be sure that you keep your knee above or behind the ankle to avoid putting a great deal of tension into the knee and risking injury.
2. Side/Lateral lunge:
a. Step to the side, pushing your rear back a bit as you fall into the lunge. Be sure to keep the knee and ankle placement as described above. To do so, you may need to ensure that the center of gravity is slightly back.
3. Back and to the side:
a. Step backwards at a 45 degree angle into a lunge
4. Forward lunge as a twist
a. Same movement as the forward lunge but with an added twist. Twist your torso, toward the forward leg as you step into the lunge.
5. Backward lunge:
a. Same form as a forward lunge except that you step back into it instead of stepping forward
See this video if you have questions. He has her do them in a different order, but it is the same thing
Outside of lunges, I warm-up with the following two exercise as well:
Ankle jumps: Stationary jumps where you jump from your toes, landing forefoot first and then kissing the heel to the ground. Complete around 20-30 to work on landing pattern for faster running and explosion.
100 Ups: Literally marching in pace slowly, this video will do it best , but be sure to tense the muscle in your support leg to practice support work. This is a form exercise that is great for warm-up. Complete anywhere from 25-50 with each leg.