Dynamic Warm Up Drills
Dynamic warm up drills 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 beginning 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. These exercises are good to perform before a run or strength training.
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. You should follow your run or workout with a series of gentle static stretches.
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. Do not 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.
Walking High Knees Drill
Using a short stride and bouncing on your toes, take a step with an exaggerated high stride. 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 going for about 20 meters.
Heel Kick Drill
Begin by performing a slow jog. Using a short stride and bouncing on your toes, raise your heels 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 staying on the balls of your feet with a bouncing motion. Keep moving forward for about 20 meters.
Walking Side Lunge Drill
This drill is similar to the walking lunge exercise except you will be moving to the side instead of forward. Take a long, exaggerated step sideways with one leg. Slowly flex your lunging knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground. At the same time your trailing leg should remain straight and close to the ground. Your upper body should remain in a vertical position.
Forcefully push off with your lunging leg, keeping most of your weight over your forward heel. Stand upright and bring your feet back together. Keep performing these motions so that you are moving sideways. Keep going for about 20 meters, then repeat going the opposite direction.
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.
Now 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.
Static Cool Down Stretches
Static stretches are the most commonly performed stretches. When doing these stretches you assume the specific stretch position and hold it for about 20 to 30 seconds. You should stretch only until you feel a slight pull on your muscle. Never stretch to the point of pain and never bounce or make rapid movements. Do these stretches after your training run or race, not before.
These stretches will increase the flexibility of the “belly” or main part of your muscles as well as decreasing the sensitivity of tension receptors in your muscle. When the sensitivity of these receptors are lessened it allows your muscle to relax and lengthen even further.
Some people use the terms static stretching and passive stretching interchangeably. They are not the same. Static and passive stretches are the same. The difference is in how they are performed. You provide the force required for static stretching by using an opposing muscle group, using your body weight or pushing and pulling. When doing passive stretching you relax completely and let a machine or a helper provide the stretching force.