June 16, 2020 3 min read

Taking a closer look at your warmup may be the advantageous “unlock” you’ve been looking for in your quest for running faster and farther than you ever thought possible. However, once you start pushing your body past its comfort zone (meaning increasing speed and distance), your risk for injury increases substantially, and in the case of sprinters, exponentially. The best way to increase your performance goals is by ditching your old warmup and adding a “dynamic” warmup. The difference between a traditional warmup and a dynamic warmup is night and day.

Why should we warm up?
The reason for a warmup should inevitably be to prepare ourselves for the upcoming run, sprint, workout, training session, practice or competition. At the most basic level, warming up increases your core body temperature. A higher core temperature increases blood flow and circulation.

What’s wrong with a traditional warmup?
Traditional static stretching and basic calisthenics will still increase your core body temperature, blood flow and range of motion, but it won’t improve local blood flow, proprioception or spatial awareness. It also won’t enhance joint mobility or decrease your potential for injury. The dirty truth is that there is zero net gain when doing a traditional warmup. It certainly isn’t bad for you, but studies show it won’t benefit you either.

So why use a dynamic warmup?
Only a dynamic warmup will prepare your body for what you are about to do with it. It focuses on exercises specific to the needs of your upcoming run or workout. It not only gets the heart pumping efficiently, but also activates muscles and tendons to make them more elastic, pliable and resilient. A dynamic warmup will also:

  • Increase local blood flow
  • Improve proprioception
  • Increase range of motion
  • Reduce your potential for injury

A proper warmup should include your core
To properly warm up you must understand the role that the core plays. The core coordinates force production and transmission throughout the entire body. Running is not just a lower body exercise… it involves the entire body. Everything is connected through your core. Warming up your core then creates optimum energy transfers and zero energy leaks.

Is there anything else to consider when warming up this way?
When you warm up or prepare to move, there are certain considerations that need to be made:

  • Addressing the specific movements you are preparing for
  • Placing emphasis on increasing local and total body temperature
  • Turning on or activating the hips because they govern all movement above and below your waist
  • Moving the body through functional range of motion patterns and taking advantage of the neural pathways that can assist in aiding your system to yield intended results

Unlock your performance
It is paramount to always use dynamic movements during the warmup that have a functional range of motion and express movement variability. That is to say that you are not vainly repeating movements along a linear plane, but are expressing movement and power through all planes of motion.

Dynamic warmup is an effective bio-hack, increasing and improving global and local core temperature, blood flow, oxygenation, proprioception, range of motion, elasticity and mitigating risk of injury.

Remember to prioritize the warmup within the construct of your run or training session. Use the “Goldilocks” rule when considering your dynamic warmup. Don’t make it too long or too difficult, and don’t make it too short or too easy, it needs to be “just right”!

 – Coach Michael Cummings


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