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Dynamic Warm-up Exercises To Do Before A Run

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Dynamic warm-up exercises runners should do include high knees and mountain climbers before a run. Dynamic Warm-up Exercises To Do Before A Run www.runnerclick.com

First, do some leg swings. Follow that up with some squats. Now time for some jumping jacks, butt kicks, and lunges. Side shuffle to the start of the trail. This is a dynamic warm-up.

And it’s exactly the kinds of exercises runners need to do before their run.

If before a run the athlete is just dropping down to touch their toes for 10-seconds and some other static stretches they are not ready for their run.

Instead, a dynamic warm-up means properly increasing body temperature to get the muscles ready to work.

It means getting that heart rate up and improving range of motion and flexibility in order to be able to run without issues.

Dynamic Warm-Up Do’s and Don’ts

A dynamic warm-up is necessary for both short and long runs, and for runners who go at all speeds.

Do include a dynamic warm-up before every run. Don’t ever skip it. It’s best to get at least five minutes of the warm-up in order to be properly ready for the run.

Runners can even go for as long as 30-minutes with their dynamic warm-up to get in a mini pre-workout in and that heart rate going.

Photo: Lauren Keating

Remember that it takes time to get the blood pumping throughout the entire body. So don’t rush through a warm-up.

A dynamic warm-up loosens ligaments and joints. It stretches and elongates the muscles. Plus, the runner already started using flexibility and mobility that is needed to be engaged during the run.

So what are the types of dynamic warm-up exercises that athletes can do before a run?

Start With Some Pulls: Knee, Pulls, Ankle Pulls, Glute Pulls

Start off slowly with some gently pulls on some key areas.

This includes a knee pull which is done by standing tall and pulling up one knee up toward the chest. Bring the leg back down and repeat on the other leg.

Then do some ankle pulls. Pull the ankle up behind so that it rests against the glute. Stand up straight without moving the back. Drop the ankle and repeat on the other ankle.

Then grab that knee and ankle with both hands and legs them in towards the chest.

Get Moving: Lunges, Leg Swings, And More Lunges

Now runners need to get that blood pumping. Do so with these following dynamic warm-up exercises: lunges, legs swings, and more lunges.

A basic lunge should be incorporated into every warm up. It is a great strengthening exercise that works the hip flexors and glutes.

Lunge alternating legs for about 20-yards, making sure to engage the core.

Spice things up by lunging and twisting using the core. With arms open wide twist to one side, the middle, alternate lunge sides and twist to the other side.

Sumo lunges are yet another variation. This is done by lunging to the side instead of extending the leg out in front.

Do some leg swings in between variations of lunges, before or after. Leg swings are also great for the hip flexors, especially for those with IT band issues.

Make sure to extend the leg straight in front and touch the toe, swinging it forward and back.

Jump, Jump, Jump Around

Photo: Lauren Keating

The next round should be all about further warming up and getting that heart rate up. So it’s time for some high knees, butt kicks, jumping jacks, and jump squats.

High knees are actually how it sounds. Raise the knee to the chest, crunching those abs. Place hands out in front of knees and aim to get them up as high as the runner can to touch their hands.

Make to really drive the knees up. And do so quickly with a hop in the step.

After the switch to butt kicks which are down by aiming toes to the glutes while running in place.

Squat and jump up high, feet leaving the ground. Finish with some jumping jacks.

Shuffle It Up

Photo: Lauren Keating

A great dynamic warm-up move is shuffling along a path first while turning to the left, then the right. Think quick feet.

There are plenty more dynamic warm-up moves to use to switch things up. This includes moves like bent knee swings.

This requires a wall for balance. Keep both hands out straight against the wall. Raise a leg, knee bent 90-degrees.

Start with a bent-knee forward swing, which consists of pulling it close to the body and then away from the chest. Do a few reps on each side and switch legs.

Now try bent-knee lateral swings, where that 90-degree knee goes toward the right then the left shoulder. Repeat for reps and switch leg.

Mountain climbers are another great exercise for a dynamic warm-up. In plank position drive up a knee at a time to the chest.

Incorporate some arms with a boxer squat punch. Squat with hands together centered. Stand up, slighting leaning to the left, tapping the right toe on the ground and punch out with the right hand. Squat. Do the same on the right.

Star jumps, toy soldiers and inchworms are more moves to try.


  1. AMANDA WOLFE , mportance of Dynamic Stretching, Fitness Blog
  2. Therapeutic Associates , Dynamic Warm-Up for Runners, Health Website
  3. Runner's World , Warmup with Lunges to Help Avoid Injury, Running Website

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