Dynamic Running Warm up
It’s running season! One of the first questions I ask my chiropractor and sports therapy patients is if they do more than a casual jog to warm up when they set out for their run. All too frequently, they sheepishly reply with a “nope“. It is important to start out with a very casual jog to increase general circulation and warm up the body, but you should then transition into a dynamic warm up to isolate stretching specific muscles involved in the run.
Running is one of the most complex forms of exercise in that it uses so many muscles so we want to do everything we can to prevent injuries from occurring!
As mentioned, first start out with a casual jog for about five minutes. Moving in the direction you want to continue with, bring one knee to your chest and raise onto your toe with the other leg. Repeat with the other side. Continue this for about 30 meters. This will warm up your hamstrings and calf muscles.
Next, I like to encourage my patients to perform an inch worm (or caterpillar). It does require putting your hands on the ground so hopefully you don’t shy away from it merely because you might gets your hands a bit dirty!
Start by rolling your head forward and then follow with your torso until your hands are on the ground (if you are feeling a strong stretch in your hamstring, it is ok to start with your knees slightly bent). This is very similar to a rag doll position in yoga, and you then end up in a downward dog. Now, walk your hands forward until you are in an outstretched position; a plank. Stay there for a few seconds and then slowly walk your feet back towards your hands (if you need to bend your knees while doing this- it’s ok!). Roll your torso slowly up and finish with your head so you are once again in standing position. This dynamic stretch really helps warm up the back muscles, the hamstrings, and the quads. Repeat 5 times.
Increase the speed of your jog slightly and do a few shoulder rotations and arms swings in the process.
Lastly, you should do a “spiderman”. It involves a repeat of the rag doll, downward dog, and plank positions. However, this time, you will bend one knee and bring your foot as close to your hand as possible. Hang out there for a few seconds and then bring the other foot up so it is resting beside the other hand. Really engage those gluts and hips and pry your knees as wide apart as they are comfortable spreading. Use your shoulders to aid in the stretch if need be. With a wide stance, slowly roll your torso up, and then your head so you are once again in a standing position. This stretch really helps open up the hips, stretches the groin, and continues to lengthen the lower back muscles.
As you are continually moving in a forward direction and you are constantly moving body parts, you should notice your overall time isn’t being compromised too much!
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact the clinic and set up a consultation.
Have a great run,
Dr. Crysta Serné
Vancouver Chiropractor and owner of Vitality Clinic