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How to Warm up and Cool Down Like a Pro Runner

Updated 
April 19, 2021
Written by 
Jai

We all know that when it comes to working out, stretching is important to keep your body limber. But for pro runners, there is a little bit of difference in how they do stretching exercises especially when warming up and cooling down. For pro runners, there is a difference between stretches that need to be done during warm ups versus stretches that must be done to cool down after training:

Dynamic Stretches for Warm Ups

Dynamic stretches are those that you do not hold. These are exercises that warm up the muscles, joints and tendons for the training ahead. And warming up your muscles is crucial to prevent exercise related injuries.


Static Stretches for Cool Downs

Cool downs for runners involve static stretches that utilize the workout-warmed muscles, allowing you to have a wider range of motion, with minimal effort. Static stretches are the types that you hold a position for a certain amount of time. You also slowly ease your body towards doing deeper and longer stretches which improves flexibility.



Runners use a combination of different dynamic and static stretches to come up with a great warm up and cool down routine. We have listed one of those combinations here, which is surprisingly simple but effectively targets the muscles you will use while running. 

These warm ups and cool downs improve running performance, reduce the risks of exercise related injury and help speed up post workout recovery. So, lace up those running shoes and let’s get to it.





The Warm Up

The routine we have here can actually be done to warm up for other types of workouts whether it be running on a treadmill or doing several laps in the pool. However, this routine is particularly beneficial for running.


Use a massage gun

Yep. You do not want to do any type of stretch exercise on cold muscles, so the first thing you need to do is “wake up” those muscle groups. And using a massage gun like HYDRAGUN is the easiest, quickest way to do it. 

Duration

30 seconds to 1 minute (max)  for every muscle group. Adjust speed/intensity setting depending on your fitness level.

What to do 

“Float” HYDRAGUN on your leg muscles and hip flexors. Do not stay in one area for too long. The goal is to get your muscles ready for stretching, not give them a full-on workout. After that, it is on to the stretch exercises.



Standing Lunge going into a Hamstring Stretch

Kick off your dynamic stretches with this movement. 

Duration

5 times on each leg

What to do

  • Stand with right foot back and left foot forward
  • Inhale deeply then exhale while straightening your right leg, bending your waist forward making sure to stretch your left hamstring
  • Make sure that you keep your hips straight.
  • Switch to the other leg and repeat movements. 



Side Lunges (Standing)

Duration

5 times on each leg

What to do

  • Stand with both feet wider than the hips
  • Bend your left knee and go into a side lounge, making sure that you keep your right leg straight as you stretch your right inner thigh and groin area.
  • Slowly come back to the center and bend your right leg, straightening your left leg and stretching your left groin area and inner thigh.
  • Repeat movements on the other side.


Toe Touch(es)

Duration

4 to 5 times on each leg

What to do

  • Stand straight and kick your left leg forward, reaching for your foot/toe with your right hand.
  • Place your left hand on your hips to maintain your balance
  • Switch to the right leg and repeat the movements.


Standing Twists

Duration

30 seconds to 1 minute

What to do

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend your knees slightly
  • Twist your upper body to the left, then to the right
  • Make sure to twist at your waist, keeping your core engaged and arms relaxed
  • Keep your lower body firmly in place



The Cool Down

Like we mentioned, static stretches are done for cool downs, and are held in place longer than five or ten seconds at a time. And to expand on their cool down routine and to help them recover faster, runners supplement their stretches with recovery devices like straps, foam rollers and of course, massage guns. 



Hip Flexor Stretches (Standing)

Duration

Hold position for 20 seconds on each side

What to do

  • Stand with your right foot in front of you, left foot back.
  • Go into a lunge position by bending your right knee, lifting both your arms straight above your head.
  • Engage your core, by pulling your abdominal muscles in - this makes the stretch more intense.
  • To go into a deeper stretch, lower your hands into your left knee to come down from the stretch.
  • Hold position, then repeat the movements on the other side.



Quad Stretches (Standing)

Duration

Hold position for 30 seconds on each side

What to do

  • Stand straight
  • Grab your left ankle and pull it in towards your glutes with your left hand, to stretch your left quads.
  • Make sure that your left leg is parallel to your right leg as you stretch towards the ground.
  • Hold position, then repeat the movements on the other side.


Glute Stretches (Standing)

Duration

Hold position for 20 seconds on each side

What to do

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Cross your left ankle over your right knee.
  • Slowly lower your body down until you feel a stretch in your left glute
  • Hold position, then repeat the movements on the other side.



Side Bends (Standing)

Duration

15 seconds on each side

What to do

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Reach your arms upward, clasping hands over your head.
  • Keeping arms straight up and hands clasped together, slowly bend over to your left side until you feel a stretch on the right side of your waist.
  • Hold position, relaxing your shoulders and breathing
  • Slowly go back to the center starting position and repeat the movements on the other side.



Self Massage

Using massage guns like HYDRAGUN supplements cool down stretches. It helps break down lactic acid build up in the muscles, by boosting blood flow so you minimize post- workout muscle soreness and speed up recovery.

Duration

2 minutes per muscle group used

What to do

  • “Float” HYDRAGUN over your calves, hamstrings and glutes
  • Adjust speed / intensity settings depending on your fitness level or how sore your muscles feel.



Conclusion

And there you have it - a pretty straightforward way on how pro runners warm up and cool down before training, or a race, even. How do you prepare for training or a big race? Do you think we missed a few points? We’d love to hear about your thoughts on this topic so leave a comment and let’s discuss. Better yet, follow our social media accounts for more recovery tips.