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5 Dynamic Warm Up Routines For Runners

There are so many “things” that go into a great run, the perfect temperature, the right clothing, the right gear, the right sneakers–but all of those things are all on the outside, there is so much more to making sure your whole body is ready for the physical activity! Dynamic warm ups are awesome for warming the body up to get you ready for your run!

What is a Dynamic Warm up?

According to Greatist: “A dynamic warm up uses stretches that are “dynamic,” meaning you are moving as you stretch. For decades, static stretching, which requires holding a stretch for 10 or more seconds while motionless, was the most popular type of warm-up for athletes.”

It took me a while to learn that my run will go a lot better if I took a few minutes to actually stretch versus stepping out the door to run. There has been so much controversy whether or not you should do static stretching before you run but quite honestly it’s never worked for me. When I do dynamic stretching it helps me to loosen up quicker while warming up my joints.

Here is some of the moves that I do before I workout:


Today I am sharing awesome Dynamic Warmups for Runners from my favorite Runner Bloggers in our monthly Workouts For Runners series!

Dynamic Stretching for Runners: Boosting Performance and Preventing Injury

Running is a physically demanding activity that requires a fine balance between strength, flexibility, endurance, and technique. One crucial element that often gets sidelined, but can significantly enhance a runner’s performance and reduce the risk of injury, is dynamic stretching. Let’s delve into the importance of dynamic stretching for runners.

1. Prepares the Body for Movement: Unlike static stretching, where stretches are held for a certain duration, dynamic stretches involve moving parts of your body and gradually increasing reach, speed, or both. This kind of stretching activates the muscles, preparing them for the workload of running, which can enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury.

2. Increases Blood Flow and Muscle Temperature: Dynamic stretches help increase the blood flow to the muscles and elevate muscle temperature. This ensures that muscles and tendons are more pliable, leading to a more efficient running motion and reduced injury risk.

3. Enhances Range of Motion: Consistent dynamic stretching improves joint range of motion. For runners, an increased range of motion in the hips, knees, and ankles can lead to a more effective and biomechanically sound stride, which can boost speed and endurance.

4. Improves Neural Activation: Dynamic stretching activates the neuromuscular system, sharpening the mind-muscle connection. This heightened neural activity ensures that muscles contract more efficiently during your run.

5. Reduces the Risk of Overstretching: Because dynamic stretching involves movement and doesn’t push muscles to their maximum length, there’s a reduced risk of overstretching, which can lead to strains or other injuries.

6. Mimics Running Movement: Many dynamic stretches closely resemble the biomechanics of running. For example, leg swings, high knees, and butt kicks are movements runners naturally incorporate into their stride. By doing these stretches, you’re warming up in a manner closely aligned with your main activity.

7. Sets the Right Tone for the Workout: Starting with dynamic stretches can mentally prepare a runner for the session ahead. The body becomes alert, the mind becomes focused, and the tone is set for a productive workout.

Examples of Dynamic Stretches for Runners:

  1. Leg Swings: Holding onto a wall or post, swing one leg forward and backward, then side to side, to open up the hips and warm up the hamstrings and quadriceps.
  2. High Knees: While standing, rapidly bring your knees up towards your chest, one at a time.
  3. Walking Lunges: Take a step forward into a lunge, ensuring your knee is aligned with your ankle. Push off with your back foot and bring it forward into the next lunge.
  4. Butt Kicks: Jog in place, kicking your heels up towards your glutes.
  5. Arm Circles: Extend arms out to the sides and make small-to-large circular motions to warm up the shoulder joints.

Incorporating dynamic stretching into your pre-run routine can be a game-changer. It not only physically prepares the body for the demands of running but also aligns the mind for the workout ahead. So, before you hit the trail or track next time, take a few minutes to engage in dynamic stretches and notice the difference it makes in your performance and how you feel during and after your run.

Getting the body warm before running is fantastic, and you won’t regret it. Use any of these routines to get your body warm and ready for an awesome run!

Do you warm up before physical activity or do you just wing it?

If you liked these dynamic warm ups be sure to check  out:

5 Unconventional Tips For New Runners

Must Have Hydration Tips & Tricks For Runners

6 Must Have Treadmill Workouts For Runners



Monday 9th of January 2017

I waiver between just heading out the door for my runs and doing a dynamic warm up before I leave the house. Unfortunately, sometimes it depends on if I'm nursing an injury or tightness. If I feel good, I just go. Being more consistent with my warming up is something I definitely struggle with!


Friday 7th of October 2016

I'm always short on time, and rarely take the time to stretch properly. I know that it's awful, and I should really stretch more. Definitely need to try out these stretches next time I get to work out!


Thursday 29th of September 2016

I can't start a workout or run without doing a dynamic warm-up! Makes such a difference in just how I feel and certainly how fast I feel I can run.


Wednesday 28th of September 2016

I have never considered this but I certainly will. Unlike Dr. J, I'm less long distance and I'm more short, intense bursts of inspiration. I now know there's a name and even a category for that in running!

Dr. J

Wednesday 28th of September 2016

I am a long time long distance runner! I mean over 100,000 miles long. I never stretched before running, just started slowly and picked up speed as I went. However, I am also a martial artist. Oh yeah, I also hate to stretch, lol but I do constantly. I used to do static stretching and ALWAYS pulled something sooner or later. Then I wised up and now only do dynamic stretching as you suggest. NEVER injured myself that way, so far :-)