Instead of wasting time with static stretches, incorporate this fitness tip, a dynamic warm-up routine, into your workout program. Whether you’re a distance runner or a sprinter, a personal trainer or a weekend warrior, this prep program will get you and your bod ready to move.
I’ll tell you something up front; static stretching is a waste of time as a warm-up. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, static stretching consists of all the old school stretching movements like bending over and touching toes, sitting on the ground and touching toes, sitting on the ground with the soles of the feet together, etc. And I really hate when people do these kinds of stretches “cold,” or before they’ve had the time to loosen up and get the muscles warm. There’s actually research that indicates performing static stretches before engaging in an activity can lead to injury.
I’m a big believer in dynamic flexibility, and by that I mean any kind of flexibility work that is done while standing and usually incorporates movement. Personal trainers, strength coaches and other people in the know have been utilizing this dynamic flexibility routine into their routines for quite a while now, and even though static stretching is still used it is definitely inferior to the dynamic alternative.
Which brings me back to the point of this item, a great warm-up routine that can be done as preparation for any kind of outdoor workout. Mark off a rectangular area that’s approximately 20 yards by 30 yards. For anyone who regularly runs and trains outdoors I recommend purchasing a set of small agility cones. The cones are great accessories and make outdoor agility and sprint easier to conduct.
So back to our rectangle. Start off by walking the first 20 yards at a brisk pace, at the next cone break into a trot for 30 yards, at the next cone pick up the pace a bit into more of a jog for 20 yards and then finish the last 30 yards back at the trot pace. Don’t stop when you get back to the starting point, but walk the 20-yards. At the next cone jog briskly for 30 yards, sprint at about 75% for 20-yards and jog briskly back to the starting point. Again, don’t stop when you get back to the starting point.
This time around the rectangle, with each step bring the knee towards the chest and grab it with both hands and pull the knee towards the chest. Do this ten times alternating legs. Then as you continue on this 20-yard length of the rectangle, reach down and grab the top of the foot and bring it back towards your butt as you go, alternating legs. When you get to the cone jog briskly for 30-yards, sprint at 100% for 20-yards and jog briskly back to the starting point. Repeat this circuit. Now you can stop moving and take 2 minute to catch your breath.
In case you lost track, this warm-up includes 4 trips around the 20 X 30 yard rectangle. If you’re moving at a decent clip this should take you about 4 minutes. I recommend repeating a second round of the 4 trips to get a great 10-minute warm-up.
Feel free to tinker with my script and add any other dynamic flexibility movements during that initial 20-yard distance. You can do lunge walks, skip, hop or any other kind of movement at this point of the rectangle. As long as you keep moving and change speeds when you run, this kind of preparation routine is extremely effective and beneficial.