6. Warm-up: a well kept secret
To get ready for a workout, you must increase your body temperature by a progressive jog (15 to 20 minutes) followed by progressive functional ballistic (dynamic) stretches.
This one has been really effective for reinforcing good running habit. It starts with some light running at a very low effort. Follow this up by a few dynamic movements to improve range of motion and improve elasticity, and you my friend are ready to roll. The trick here is to not over do it on the stretching, and the keep the movements functional. Functional indicates that they will mimic the movements of the activity you are warming up for.
Three of my favorites;
1) Front to Back Leg Swings: Standing with a strong natural colum a knees slightly bent, take one leg and swing it behind you to resistance then to the front of you to resistance. Start slow and gradually increase your range of motion. Start with 20 on each leg and keep your posture through out.
2) Side to Side Leg Swings: This one can be a little easier facing a wall or fence. Standing arms length away with a strong natural column and knees slightly bent, take one leg and raise it to the side to resistance. Then take that leg and cross the body to resistance. Work to keep your torso stable while promoting range of motion in the lower part of your body. Start with 20 on each leg and progress slowly, each time going just a little farther.
3) Standing Leg Pull-Getting back to the ready position (strong column, knees slightly bent) you will work one leg at a time. The object here is to pull the foot from the ground, like it is just slightly stuck, engaging the hamstring and not the hip flexors. The foot comes off the ground with as little sound as possible and the heel goes in a straight line to the butt. Keep it smooth and keep it quiet. Once you have mastered this standing, this is a great one to practice while jogging very slowly.
All of the above can be practiced barefoot, which will also help to strengthen your feet and develop your body’s natural stability. We’ll post video of the following exercises on the site under the Natural Running Resources section
If you have a favorite dynamic warm-up, we’d love to hear about it.