Why you should do dynamic stretches before a run


By Henry Howard


I have found that taking about 10 minutes before a run for a dynamic warmup is beneficial. There are various dynamic stretches that help warm up the muscles, which improve your running form and prevent injuries.


Some common ones include clamshells, lunges, leg swings and donkey kicks.


Dynamic stretches are different than static ones, which are highly recommended for after a run, race or other workout. Static stretches are generally where you stay in one place and hold a stretch for 30 seconds or longer.


Here are some things to know about dynamic and static stretching.

1. Move it, move it. Dynamic stretching involves movement, usually of more than one muscle group. Lunges, leg swings and torso twists are all examples that take the body through a near-full range of motion that represent similar movements to running or another exercise you may be doing.

Static or stationary stretches isolate one muscle group at a time and hold a position rather than going through a range of motion. Examples of static stretches include toe touches, standing hamstring or quad stretches, and many yoga poses.

2. Get your booster. Dynamic stretching is known to boost your performance during a demanding workout or race because it activates muscles for what they’re about to do. Research shows that dynamic stretching primes the athlete for increased muscle endurance and speed while static stretching beforehand actually leads to decreases.

3. A dynamic routine. Before each of my runs or bike rides, I do a version of the Myrtl routine that I adapted. The full routine can be found here. After completing my dynamic warmup, my muscles are loose and ready to go. This also helps prevent against injuries since the muscles are warmed up before being tested.

4. Benefits of static stretching. Given the gentleness associated with this type of stretching, it can be quite effective when done appropriately. For example, post-run, an athlete could use these stretches to help relax the body and lower the heart rate. After a weight-lifting session, a series of static stretches would help counter the previous activity and lengthen the muscles back out.

5. Five good dynamic stretches. Last but not least here are recommendations from Elizabeth Gardner, a Yale University a Yale University orthopedic sports medicine surgeon.