How to get your body ready for a better workout
So what is a DYNAMIC warm up??
DYNAMIC means MOVING, so your warm up should not consist of static (standing still) stretching (i.e. sitting and touching your toes, standing quad stretch, standing calf stretch). There are a couple of reasons for this.
1) Cold muscle’s don’t stretch well, and you have a higher chance of injuring yourself when you do stretch them. Although it feels good when your muscles are tights, they are going to loosen up for you WAY more after you have done 5 – 10 minutes of easy running
2) Before a run is NOT the time to try and increase your flexibility! The purpose of your “warm-up” is to get blood (which carries oxygen) flowing to your muscles, which will allow you to work at a higher intensity. Prior to this “warm-up”, there is very little blood flowing to your muscles (and therefore very little oxygen), which is why the first 5-10 minutes of your “warm-up” generally don’t feel great. However, once you increase your heart rate (i.e. blood flow), your body has more oxygen available to produce energy.
When would you do a dynamic warm up?
Before any race OR hard workout! It may seem silly to run in PREPARATION to run some more, but when you are doing interval training (for example), it is important that you working HARD in those interval sets. If you are not properly warmed up, you might take your first one a little slower which means you just wasted that interval (too slow to properly induce any metabolic changes, but fast enough that it will cause fatigue in your next set).
What does a dynamic warm up look like?
I encourage all of my athletes to maintain a little bit of a skip during all exercises, and be sure not to hold any one pose for more than a few seconds. Once again, later in the session is a GREAT time to work on flexibility (although there are very few static stretches that I believe have any value), but keep the static stretching out of the dynamic warm-up.
Below are a few examples of some great dynamic stretches to incorporate into your routine! If possible, it is ideal to complete the following sequence with bare or sock feet!