It’s race season! And if you aren’t racing, you are probably also aiming to get in key workouts.
A proper warm-up is key to a good workout or event. It prepares the muscles and joints in a more sport specific manner. A good warm-up enhances coordination and motor ability as well as revving up the nervous system. Finally, and possibly most importantly, it prepares the mind for the work ahead. Proper mental preparation for any sport is vital and the dynamic warm-up forces athletes to focus and concentrate on the task at hand.
Your starting point should be an easy general cardiovascular warm-up lasting 10 – 15 minutes (or until you have broken a light sweat). This raises the body’s core temperature enough to enhance the elasticity of muscles, tendons, ligaments and overall joint structures and prepare you for the workout ahead. It is a time to focus and concentrate, leaving all outside distractions and stressors behind. It is time to put the phone down!
Pendulum: Warms up and stretches the hip flexors, hip extensors, hip adductors, and hip abductors.
Holding onto a stable object, swing leg forward and back. Then swing the leg from side to side.
Hurdles: Warms up and stretches the hip flexors, hip extensors, hip adductors, and hip abductors.
Lift leg as if going over a high object, forward and then backwards.
Hacky sack touches: Warms up and and enhances mobility of all the muscles of hips and adductors.
Lift right leg, sticking the knee out while you bring foot up to touch the left hand. Switch legs. Next, bring right leg up, sticking knee towards the center of your body and touch your right foot with your right hand.
Step back and forward lunge: This exercise demands core stability, hip extension and glute recruitment.
Step back with one leg so you are in a lunge position. Make sure your forward knee is properly aligned over the foot and your hips are squared. Step back your leg (do not push off with back foot, use your glutes to complete this motion) and then step forward for a lunge again. Again, make sure your knee is properly aligned over your foot and your hips are square. Only lunge as far as is comfortable for you. It does not need to be a deep lunge.
Lateral Lunge: Activates the glutes and adductor muscles.
Stand with your feet parallel, hip-width apart. Step to the right, then shift your weight toward the right foot, bending your right knee and pushing your hips back. Your left leg should be as straight as possible. Reach for your right foot with your left hand. Push off with your right foot to return to starting position.
Zombie walk: Enhances hamstring mobility.
Swing your straight leg up to waist height while reaching for your toes with your opposite arm.
Grapevine: This drill loosens hip flexors and glutes and increases hip and leg and gluteal mobility while also using lateral strength required to run with good form.
As you move sideways, cross one leg over the other in front and then behind. Hold your arms out to the side to begin; as you start to get the hang of the drill, use your arms as you would while running.
These are just some of the many warm-up exercises you can do. As Coach has often said, don’t leave your workout in the warm-up! Warm your body up easily and prepare for what is ahead.