Using running warm-up techniques can accelerate the circulatory system, awakening our muscles for excellent performance. Sometimes, only a light workout is necessary to gear up for an activity. These tips can show you how to warm-up for a run efficiently.

Do I need to warm-up before I run?

Warming up before an exercise, especially running, is critical. Being limber can both prevent injuries and boost an athlete's potential.

“Warming up before running is necessary to avoid injury and prepare the muscles for training,” said Cristina Polanco, a health expert and ASICS FrontRunner member.

The benefits of warming up before running

Pre-run warm-ups provide a number of benefits to athletes worldwide. Warm-ups differ by length and substance. A number of techniques can help prevent muscle and joint damage.

Improves muscle performance. Warm-ups can stimulate muscles and improve performance by raising their temperature which in turn lowers resistance.

Increases heart rate. By increasing blood flow, warm-ups can bring an athlete's heart up to speed before a workout which helps to increase VO2 max, the peak amount of oxygen your body can utilise during exercise. Using more oxygen can aid you in running faster.

Decreases the risk of injury. A number of warm-up exercises are known to improve athletes' agility, along with boosting tissue and muscle flexibility - lowering the likelihood of injury as a result. 

10 pre-run warm-up exercises

Light pre-workout exercises or a brief jog can boost a runner's performance. Here are a few running warm-up techniques:

10 Pre-Run Techniques for Warming Up

1. Heel to butt

This pre-run stretching exercise requires bringing a heel to your butt. Run in place with each foot positioned high. This stretches your legs and helps warm-up key running muscles.

2. Knee to chest

Press your lower back to the ground and bring a knee to the chest area. While the knee is up, leave the opposite leg straight. This stretch loosens multiple muscles at once.

3. Hip Rotation

To perform this running warm-up, stand tall with your chest out and feet roughly shoulder-width apart. With your hands on your hips, begin moving your hips from left to right in a circular motion. Repeat this process, moving in the opposite direction. This exercise can stretch out the hips for both agility and strength.

4. Knee Circles

While standing with your feet together, grasp your slightly-bent knees and move both knees clockwise for a stretch. This exercise can help ensure the knees and ankles are properly stretched and warmed up before running.

5. Forward Skip

Standing up, lift a knee at waist-level while the other leg is straight. Use this momentum to push forward. Switch legs each landing. This technique may boost athletes' heart rate pre-run.

6. Shoulder Rolls

While standing up with relaxed arms, shrug both shoulders toward the ears in a backwards motion. Repeat this stretch to help relax the shoulder area.

7. Leg swings

While holding onto a wall, flex each foot and swing one leg forward and back. Switch between legs for a healthy stretch.

8. Arm circles

Stand up and hold both arms straight out and to the side. Make circular motions clockwise or counterclockwise. Including arm circles in a pre-run warm-up may help loosen the arms and actually build muscle.

9. Mountain Climbers

In a pushup position, stay flat by engaging the core. Bringing each knee to your chest while running in place. This warm-up also helps to build abdominal muscles.

10. Forward and Side Lunges

Standing up, take a step forward with one foot and lunge into a 90-degree angle. Repeat with the other leg. Lunges help build muscles in the thighs and glutes.

Before your next run, follow along with Running Coach Ben Edusei as he takes you through this set of ten movements. 

How long should I warm-up before running?

For a successful pre-run warm-up, athletes should boost their heart rate up and loosen their muscles. However, if you’re wondering exactly how long to warm-up before running, this will vary based on your particular needs. As a general rule, some experts say that a five to 10 minute warm-up that works all major muscle groups should be sufficient.

The importance of preparing your body

Although running warm-ups are essential in a fitness routine, some exercises can be harmful. Many runners try to avoid explosive movements and static stretching.

“We should avoid static stretching and intense exercise at the beginning of warm-up,” said Magdalena Nowosielska, an ASICS FrontRunner member.

Along with choosing a healthy warm-up to enhance your game, it’s also critical to wear the right clothing and gear.

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