If you are a runner who is training for an event, you will find that you need to do more than just running to build your stamina and improve your technique. While running distance will help you to get in shape, doing extra exercise can help you to improve your form. Good warm-up exercises can improve your body’s flexibility, strength, and overall performance. It helps you to become a more efficient runner, as the extra strength will build speed and will reduce the chance of muscular injury. You can incorporate strength exercises into your daily routine as a way to activate and warm up your body. Try a few of these before you head out each day.
This one helps to improve balance, focus, and core strength while engaging the glutes. You need to stand on one leg, with both hands on your hips. Stretch the other leg out to the side slightly. Draw small circles, the size of a basketball with your foot. Now draw them the alternate way. Do this for around 30 seconds and swap legs. Do both legs at least twice.
When you run, it is important that your pelvis is in a neutral position, to allow your spine to move freely without feeling locked, but still providing strong support. Before you run, try a standing version of the yoga position ‘cat cow’. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your head down and tilt your pelvis up, curving the spine. Do this as hard as you can. Then tilt your head back and upward and bring your tailbone back and up, curving the spine in the opposite direction. Repeat 8-10 times. This will stretch out the spine and shoulders and help you find a neutral place for your pelvis.
This position helps to loosen the hips and the legs while tightening the core muscles, and building the shoulder muscles and quads. You need to start in a push-up position with your feet on a bench. Then you need to bring your left knee to your left elbow. Next bring your leg over your back and try to touch your left knee to your right shoulder (you won’t be able to). Place it back and do the same with the right leg. Try to do as many as you can in one minute.
Come into the plank position. This will helps your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. You need to jump and bring your right foot up to your chest as though climbing a wall. Then on the second jump bring it back to the plank position, while you jump the opposite foot up. Repeat this for at least a minute. This will get your heart racing, and warm you up before you get running.
The problem with runners is that they often only work on warming up their legs and lower half of the body. In order to run most effectively, you need to warm your arms up as the body works in unison as a flowing machine. Bring your arms out wide. Bend them at the elbows, so that they point 90 degrees upwards. Now push your chest out and your arms back, trying to keep them perpendicular to your body. You will feel a stretch in the chest which will help you breathe more deeply, as well as in the front of the shoulder and the biceps.