Why are Dynamic Warm-ups Important?

Every time the Summer Olympics rolls around, I am fascinated by the track events. 30 minutes of pageantry and drama leading up to what amounts to a 10 second run get’s a little old sometimes, but what they don’t show much of are the pre-sprint warm-ups these elite athletes do. I always thought, “they must feel weird skipping around like a 7-year-old.” Even when I became a runner I thought that, which shows how little I understood the concept of a dynamic warm-up.

It used to be that in order to perform at your best and not get injured as a runner, you had to stretch before you ran…or moved at all. Well, we know better than that now, but then it became an issue of warming up first, then doing some static stretching. Then that was debunked (not to mention it took time away from your run). So what is the best way to warm-up before your run?

Enter the Dynamic Warm-up. At first this collection of pre-run moves looks awkward, and might make a person self-conscious (which is why I do them in the dark before my pre-dawn run…no one else in my neighborhood is up and looking outside at 4:30 am). These exercises are designed to mimic running movement and/or activate the muscles used during a run without causing damage.

If we think of this type of warm up as starting your car and letting it run for a few minutes in cold weather, we can understand that doing so is the best way to care for your body before putting it under stress.

So in my video, I showed you most of the moves from the Train Like a Mother Club “Silly Toes” Warm-up. Moves from the tiptoes and back on your heels, as well as some type of butt-kick and leg extension move are the basics of getting your muscles warmed up. The best part about having done this warm-up before every run for over a year is that I have figured out which muscles I need to use to run effectively without compromising my health. In short, I found my butt.

A dynamic warm-up needn’t be long or complicated. 5-10 minutes of these skips, kicks, and bends are enough to send the blood to your muscles and the message to your brain that you are getting ready to work.

Although it doesn’t happen often anymore, I have forgotten to warm-up before a run, and I’ve felt it. This is like the Star-Spangled banner before a football game. It’s like the previews before the movie. The dynamic warm-up prepares you for what is to come.  

Here are a few more resources for the Dynamic Warm-up. Feel free to check these out and maybe even mix and match a few before your next run:

Runner’s World First Moves

The Mattock Dynamic Warm-up

The Run Experience, How to Warm-up

Please let me know what you think in the comments, and thanks for stopping by.