4 Minutes to a Better Run
Key warm-up moves for faster miles
For many runners, a warm-up consists of the stroll out the front door. But working through a few targeted moves pre-jog can help improve performance. “I always start with exercises that dynamically activate muscle groups and patterns that directly pertain to running,” says Miriam Wasmund, a trainer in New York City and a group-fitness instructor at various Equinox locations. “For example, getting the shoulder girdle open, balanced, and lubricated so you can drive your arms efficiently can aide in a powerful stride.”
One study even found that athletes ran faster after a dynamic warm-up. In the gifs below, Wasmund demonstrates her favorite running prep plan. Do this quick routine before you head out, and feel the difference primer work can make.
ACTIVE PREP PLAN
Perform 16 to 20 reps of each move or do them for 30 seconds each, then repeat the entire series.
Transverse Pike Reach
Start in plank position. Lift your hips high to come into pike position with a tight engaged center (downward dog); reaching through the center, rotate your torso and reach your left hand to tap your right ankle, keeping your arms and legs as straight as possible. Return to plank and repeat on right side. Alternate sides continuously, coming back to plank between each.
Alternating Plank Reach Hamstring Kick-Back
Start in forearm plank position, elbows directly beneath shoulders. Extend right arm from shoulder, palm facing in, thumb up to ceiling, so that it is parallel to the ground; return to start, then repeat on left arm side. Follow with a hamstring curl on each leg, kicking right heel towards your right glute; return to start, then repeat with left leg. Alternate through both reaches and kicks to equal 1 rep.
Hip Opener Skip
Standing tall, bring right knee up to waist height to meet left elbow, then immediately open hip up to the right so that right quad is perpendicular to body. Return to start and repeat on left side. (Note: This is a dynamic exercise that can either be done from a stationary position, or in a forward-progressing skipping motion.) Use natural contralateral arm swing throughout movement.
Lateral Band Walks With Arm Drive
Stand with feet about hip-width apart, in a quarter squat position, knees slightly bent, elbows bent by sides, a band around your quads just above the knees. Keeping your hips back in an active ready stance, as if you are reaching to sit in a chair, back tall, abs engaged and chest open, take a step about a foot to the right with right foot, pushing band out to side, landing on a flat foot, as you drive left arm forward, right arm back. Step left foot in so feet are back to hip-width apart again, keeping resistance in band, driving right arm forward and left arm back. Continue this sequence for 8 to 10 steps to the right side; switch directions and repeat in reverse until you return to start. Do 16 to 20 steps total on each side.