Early in the morning, it’s all too easy to skip your warm-up. But trainers agree that striving for more efficient movement in your joints before you ease into a workout helps your perform at a higher level and reduces your risk of injury.
Five minutes of movement prep can help you finish a jog feeling stronger, faster, and fitter. Start by tackling one or two of these exercises then continue to build onto your pre-run routine by tacking another move on each week.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms by sides. Lunge forward with right leg, bending right knee, keeping left leg straight, as you extend arms overhead and hinge back from hips, creating length in your hip flexors and thoracic spine. Return to start. Lunge forward with right leg again, this time extending arms overhead and reaching to right, pressing hips slightly to left; return to start. Then lunge forward with right leg, as you extend arms out to sides at shoulder level and rotate hips and torso to right; return to start. Repeat series 3 to 5 times, making sure movement is coming from your thoracic, rather than your lumbar, spine, throughout; switch sides and repeat.
Lie face-up with arms extended toward ceiling, directly over shoulders, and knees bent 90 degrees over hips, calves parallel to floor. Keeping shoulders down and feet flexed, engage your core and extend right arm and left leg away from you. Tap heel to floor and return to center. Immediately repeat on the opposite side (left arm; right leg). Continue alternating sides for 16 reps total (8 each side). Modify: Keep your arms still and focus on your lower body, extending one leg down to floor at a time. Once you feel stronger/more comfortable, add upper body in.
Stand a few feet away from a short box or step with right foot flat on top, right knee bent, left leg straight, toes facing forward, and arms extended diagonally in front of you. Slowly drive hips forward as far as you can, while lifting arms overhead, in the opposite direction. Return to standing position, with arms overhead, and then push hips to left as far as possible while moving arms to right. Press hips back through center and to the right, while moving arms to left. Come back through center, lower arms to goal post position, and then rotate hips, torso and arms to right as far as possible. Rotate back through center and to the left. Repeat series 3 to 5 times, being careful not to arch lower back or let left foot turn out to the side throughout; switch legs and repeat.
Start in plank position (palms under shoulders, abs engaged, legs extended behind you). Lunge forward with right leg, placing foot just outside right hand. Rotate torso to right as you reach arm straight overhead. Hold lunge/reach for about 20 seconds (or less, if you want to make the stretch more dynamic); reverse movement back to start and repeat on other side. Continue alternating sides for 4 reps total (2 each side). Modify: Place hands on a block or box, if you’re feeling uncomfortable or having trouble maintaining proper form while in plank.
Stand with feet about hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, elbows bent by sides. Jump up, landing on left foot (with right foot lifted a few inches off floor behind you), as you reach right arm across body, toward left foot. Immediately jump back up, landing on both feet. Then jump up again, this time landing on right foot (with left foot lifted behind you) and reaching left arm across body, toward right foot. Continue alternating sides, moving as fast as you can while maintaining balance, for 10 jops total.
Sit on floor with knees bent in front of you, feet flat on floor. Place hands behind hips, fingers facing away from you. Drive hips up toward ceiling as you rotate through torso, reaching right arm across body and behind you to the left. Rotate back through center and repeat on other side (reaching left arm to right). Continue alternating sides for 12 reps total (6 each side). Modify: If you have limited shoulder mobility, drive hips up and hold tabletop position for 20 seconds. Add arms in when possible.