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Whether your planning a running session, gym session, sports session
or competitive event then your warm-up ought to be a priority. There
are several reasons for this but at the forefront of your mind should
be injury prevention and joint health.
So here are just a few things to aim for...
Foam Rollers and Self myofascial release tools are readily available
now, see your local lifestyle sports for a range of these. The
internet is flooded with videos on how to use them, but really they’re
quite simple with only a few general rules. The clue is in the name
really, so just use them on soft tissue (muscle), don’t cross or put
pressure on your joints. Areas to concentrate on before running are
quads, IT band, calves and feet.
We touched on this before in a previous article, but think about
exercises or movements that will gently take your ankles, hips and
thoracic spine (upper back) through their range of motion. Again a
quick youtube search will see some good examples, but here’s a quick
circuit to try at home before you go out, the only equipment you’ll
need is a wall so no excuses...
1. Wall ankle drills. Stand with one foot about an inch away from the
wall, keep your heel flat on the ground and tap your knee to the wall,
you should feel a gentle stretch at the front of your ankle. Aim for
8-10 repetitions and repeat on the other leg.
2. Leg Swings. Standing upright find something to hold onto at arms
length. Gently swing your leg to a height you’re comfortable with.
Keep your upper body posture tight and tall, and try to get the
movement from your hips. You should feel a slight stretch in your
hamstring at the top of the swing. Aim for 10-12 on each leg.
3. Hip Circles. On all fours, start with one leg and take your knee to
your elbow, out to the side and then straight back, creating as big a
circle as you can. Try to keep your spine solid and straight and get
the movement from your hip. Aim for 10-12 repetitions on each side and
repeat with the other leg.
4. Thoracic Rotations. In the same position as above on all fours,
take one hand and place it gently on the back of your head, keeping
your hand there touch your elbow to elbow and then rotate the opposite
direction towards the ceiling with as much rotation as possible. Turn
your head in the same direction and try to get the movement through
your mid back. Aim for 10-12 on either side.
Repeat those exercises in a circuit fashion two or three times.
When you think about your dynamic warm-up above, gradually increase
the intensity as you move through it, a good rule of thumb is that you
should have a light sweat as you finish them.
This is something that many don’t consider, but while you’re making
your way through all these it’s time to ‘switch yourself on’ for your
task ahead. Think about your workout or session and walk yourself
through it in your mind.
There you go, a few quick ideas to help guide you through a warm-up,
once you’ve finished those start into your run with a gentle walk,
long strides or gentle lunges before you take your intensity
up....trust me, your body will thank you later having done a good