When it comes to running, not all warm-ups are equal.
As a Physical Therapist and running coach, I’m often asked about my favorite warm-up exercises.
Traditionally, runners will resort to leg swings, toe touches, and a few torso twists to warm up.
The key to a good warm-up is to target as many regions of your body as possible.
Here are three lunge variations I love to use with my runners. These lunges will target not only your hamstrings, but also your hips, spine, and upper body so you can start your runs feeling loose everywhere.
Watch the video to learn the exercises:
Lunge with Twist
Balance on your left leg with your hands together at your chest. Go into a lunge on your right leg while you twist your upper body to the right. Then come back up to a balance. Do 10 on each side.
By keeping the back leg straight, you will loosen up the hip flexor. Adding the twist will get into the spine and loosen up the front of the right hip also.
Lunge with Reach
Drop into a lunge with the right leg again. Keeping your right arm at your side, bring your left arm over your head in a “C” position as you lunge. Do 10 on each side.
This will get the outside of your trunk loaded and your hips moving more. If you keep the back leg straight, you can also target the front hip.
Lace your fingers together and reach your hands over your head to the back of your neck as you lunge. Then bring your arms back down in front of you when you straighten up. Do 10 on each side also.
This will elevate your ribcage and extend your midback. It’s a great warm-up for anyone who sits bent over at a keyboard all day. The exercise will straighten you in the other direction and get everything moving again.
A proper warm-up targets multiple regions of the body – and is key to keeping you running your best.
These three lunge variations are phenomenal to use as warm-ups because they will help loosen up your entire body. The looser you feel going out on your runs, the less likely an injury will creep up on you.
While warm-ups are important, regular strength training is necessary if you want to run injury-free long-term.
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