Dynamic Warm Up Drills

 

By Rick Morris

 

Dynamic warm up drills and exercises are active functional exercises in which you move your limbs through their full, natural and functional range of motion. You are not forcing your range of motions outside of what is required to perform your chosen sport of running. These are basic level dynamic drills. Always warm up with 3 to 5 minutes of brisk walking or easy running before you do these exercises. A warm up is necessary to increase the flow of blood to your muscles, lubricate your joints and raise your body temperature.

 

This type of stretching uses the momentum generated during the dynamic motion to propel your muscle into a slightly extended range of motion but not past your functional range. That makes this type of stretch very safe and effective at preparing your muscles for the activity that follows. Dynamic warm up drills help develop your speed, power and neuro-muscular coordination as well as providing flexibility. Dynamic exercises should always be done before your actual running workout or strength training session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking Lunge

 

Take a long, exaggerated step forward with one leg. Drive your knee high and reach out as far as possible.

Slowly flex your forward knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground. At the same time lower the knee of your trailing leg toward the ground. Don’t allow the knee of your forward leg to extend in front of your foot. The knee of your trailing leg should stop approximately 2 inches above the ground, not touch the ground. Your upper body should remain in a vertical position.

Forcefully push off with our forward leg, keeping most of your weight over your forward heel. At the same time cycle your trailing leg through and perform the same motion as described above.

Keep performing these cycling motions so that you are moving forward with a walking lunge. Keep going for about 20 meters.

 

High Knees Drill

 

Using a short stride and bouncing on the balls of your feet, take a step with an exaggerated high stride. Keep your stride very short - about 18 inches.

Drive your knee as high as possible on each stride. As you drive your knee high bounce up on the toes of your opposite foot.

Keep cycling your legs through this motion so that you are moving slowly forward over the ground with the exaggerated high knee motion and bouncing on your opposite foot.

Keep your foot in a dorsi-flexed position (toes up) throughout this drill. Your foot should land in a flat footed position - not heel first.  Keep moving for about 20 meters.

 

Heel Kick Drill

 

Begin by performing a slow jog. Using a short stride of about 18 inches and a dorsi-flexed foot position, kick your heels up as high as possible behind your body. Attempt to bounce your heels off your buttocks.

Most of the movement should be with your lower leg. Concentrate on raising your heels as high as possible and maintaining a very quick light stride.

Your foot touchdown should be flat footed with your foot maintained in a dorsi-flexed position. Keep moving forward for about 20 meters.

 

The Military March

 

Have you ever seen old clips of solders marching in formation with stiff, straight legs? It may look funny but they were actually doing a good dynamic drill.

To do this dynamic running exercise walk straight ahead while kicking your straight leg up in front of your body. As you kick your leg forward bring your arm and hand out and try to touch the toes of your raised leg.

Keep your legs as straight as possible and kick as high as you can. Keep marching for about 25 meters or so.

 

Power Skips

 

When we played as kids we actually were learning at the same time. The skipping that we did as young developing athletes was developing some very useful and developmental running skills. Now you can go back to your old play routine and skip for running performance. Power skips are basically the same as play skipping except they are more powerful running drills.

To perform this drill begin skipping forward with short skipping strides of about 18 inches. Keep your foot dorsi-flexed with the bottom of your foot parallel to the ground. Move forward with a powerful skipping motion. Try to drive your body as high as possible with each skip. Try for height rather than distance in this drill.

Keep your foot action very quick and light but skip with as much power as possible. Keep going for about 25 to 30 meters.

 

Arm Swing Drill

 

Standing in a relaxed upright position. Holding your arms out to the side swing them forward so that they cross in front of your body.

Now swing them back through your natural and functional range of motion. Keep doing this for about 30 seconds.

Next hold your arms at your side in a running position with your elbows flexed to about 90%. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Swing your arms forward and back in an exaggerated running motion.

Keep going for about 30 seconds. In keeping with the theme of this guide, you can perform this drill effectively without equipment. The use of light hand weights will improve your strength gains.

 

For even more dynamic warm up drills, see Bear Naked Strength Training for Distance Runners.

 

 

 

 

 

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