Running your best starts with your warm-up. So, it’s important to get it right.
Many runners were taught to warm up for a run with static stretching, like a seated hamstring stretch or a kneeling hip flexor stretch. Static stretches might loosen your muscles and make you feel warm, but there’s a better way to get ready for your run.
Wes Miller, a licensed physical therapist at Antifragile Physical Therapy, says there isn’t solid evidence that stretching before a run improves performance. Instead, you should prep your muscles with a dynamic warm-up.
Dynamic warm-ups activate the same muscles you use when you run to move blood through them, encourage neurological relaxation and improve range of motion, Miller says.
Doing a dynamic warm-up is especially important for runners who log miles shortly after waking up or after a long day of sitting at a desk. Think of your body like a car on a cold day: Long periods of inactivity cause your muscles and tendons to tighten, and they need some time to get ready to hit the road. A proper warm-up will loosen and lengthen the systems needed to move more effectively, leading to a more efficient run.