Dynamic Stretching Warmup For Runners

Jennifer Purdie
by Jennifer Purdie
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Dynamic Stretching Warmup For Runners

There are many benefits of stretching, however timing each type of stretch during your workout matters. If you do any static stretching before you head for a run or ride, you’ll probably want to change your routine. “Passive stretching actually switches the muscles off,” says Meghan Kennihan, a NASM-certified personal trainer, running and cycling coach.

Studies prove this true. Pre-exercise static stretches impede performance, according to a review of 104 articles published between 1966 and December 2010 in top-tier databases such as PubMed, SCOPUS and Web of Science.

Rather than simply quit stretching before a workout altogether, you should try switching to a dynamic stretching routine. Dynamic stretching helps you prepare your body for physical activity, gain flexibility and increase power.

Above all, a “body more capable of handling force and tension is a body more protected against injury,” says Mike Clancy, certified strength and conditioning specialist, a personal trainer and owner of Mike Clancy Training.

Clancy recommends spending 5–10 minutes isolating and conditioning each joint through its range of motion. This “will open up the muscles, tendons and ligaments associated with common exercise motions.”


James Shapiro, MS, a NASM-certified personal trainer, says runners don’t usually take advantage of dynamic stretching for performance. He offers an easy warmup to counteract this:


Swing your legs to the side. This dynamically loads the glute medius into a stretch and then engages it.

20–24 repetitions, 10–12 per side


Simply walk with a knee tucked to your chest with every step. The excessive flexion allows the hamstrings to stretch near where general soreness occurs.

20–24 repetitions, 10–12 per side


Walk like Frankenstein with straight-leg kicks, reaching with the opposite hand. This is a general walk that loads the hamstrings for a stretch.

20–24 repetitions, 10–12 per side


On hands and toes, bend your knees and extend your arms forward. Then begin swinging forward and back as if you were about to jump out of your seat. Constant motion helps warm up the quads, knees and ankles.

10–12 repetitions


Menachem Brodie, a triathlon coach, and head coach at Human Vortex Training, provides these advanced dynamic stretches:


This helps endurance athletes open tight areas. Lie on your left side and place a foam roller under your right knee. With your right hip flexed to 90 degrees, move your left arm across your chest and then around your body in the shape of a rainbow and bring it back.

8 reps per side (one side in full, then the other side)


Stand against a wall. Raise your arms to 90 degrees, keeping them against the wall. Move your arms above your head and then back down to 90 degrees. This movement gets the mid and lower traps fired up, along with the spinal stabilizers and deep abdominals.

6–10 reps, depending on how challenging they feel

About the Author

Jennifer Purdie
Jennifer Purdie

Jennifer is a Southern California-based freelance writer who covers topics such as health, fitness, lifestyle and travel for both national and regional publications. She runs marathons across the world and is an Ironman finisher. She is also a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. You can follow her on Twitter @jenpurdie.


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