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6 Best Dynamic Stretches For Runners - Dynamic Warm Up

Complete a round of these dynamic stretches before you hit the road.


By Mallory Creveling, Prevention

It’s no secret that consistent running puts some serious stress on the body, so before you step into the high-impact activity, it’s best to prime your muscles and joints for movement with a quick pre-run stretch routine.

“Running places a huge demand on the body—up to eight times your bodyweight—depending on pace,” says Blake Dircksen, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments Physical Therapy in New York City. “You need to prepare your body to handle that load to reduce risk of injury. And a proper warm-up preps the body by increasing blood flow to the working tissues," he says. "It also increases the core body temperature and gets the muscles and tendons ready for rapid force development.”


How to stretch before running

You don’t need a ton of time to put these pay-offs in motion. A max of 10 minutes will do—about five if you’re on a tight schedule. If you have a few extra minutes, start with foam rolling the major muscle groups, including your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves, Dircksen suggests. Then, work on muscle activation with band work or dynamic bodyweight movements. “Reviews show that holding a static stretch for longer than 45 seconds either negatively influences maximal strength and power or has no effect on performance,” Dircksen explains. Translation: Save long stretches for a post-sweat cool-down and power up on dynamic stretches pre-run.

To start your run the right way, do these six dynamic stretches, curated by Elizabeth Corkum, aka Coach Corky, a New York City-based certified run coach and instructor at Mile High Run Club. She recommends doing each move for 30 to 45 seconds to wake up your entire body before you hit the road.



1

Bodyweight squats

Targets: Your glutes, which are crucial for an efficient run, says Corkum.

How to: Stand with your with just outside hip-width apart. Send hips down and back, keeping your weight in your heels. Aim to get low enough that your hips are below knees. Push off heels to stand back up and repeat.



2

Butt kicks

Targets: The hamstrings and quads. It also helps you get your heel up behind you as you run forward, and lengthens your quads.

How to: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Kick one heel up toward your butt, with your foot flexed and knee bent. Quickly switch your feet so the other heel comes up toward your butt. Alternate sides.



3

Alternating reverse lunges

Targets: Your core and hamstrings, plus opens up the hip flexors

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your left foot back, lowering your body down so that both knees reach a 90-degree bend. Drive off the front heel to stand, bringing your left foot forward. Then, step right foot back, lowering into a 90-degree bend in both knees. Switch sides.



4

A-skips

Targets: Your entire body, including the glutes, hamstrings, and core. Focus on an efficient knee drive. Corkum says "It’ll prepare your body for hills, too."

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Pull one knee up toward your chest, driving off your opposite toe to hop up, then quickly place your foot back down. Then, bring your other knee up toward your chest, pushing off your opposite toe for a hop. Continue alternating.



5

Alternating lateral lunges

Targets: The groin for a stretch and opens up the hips, while activating the hamstrings, glutes, and quads

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot out to the side. Keeping chest up, push your left hip down and straight back, hitting a 90-degree bend in the left knee. Make sure your toes and knee point forward. Step back together and repeat on the left side. Continue alternating.



6

Jumping jacks

Targets: Improves circulation, activates the core and legs, and warms up the feet and cardio system.

How to: Stand with your feet together. Jump your feet out wider than your hips, as you bring arms overhead. Jump your feet back together, bringing your arms down by your sides. Repeat at a quicker tempo.
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U.S. Daily News: 6 Best Dynamic Stretches For Runners - Dynamic Warm Up
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