risks, exercises & reasons to warm up


Warming up for a run or run is extremely important and unfortunately often underestimated!

It is however necessary to prepare your body for the effort and in particular when you do sports with impact like running. In this article, I explain the reasons for warming up well before your session and share with you some exercises to perform!

Why do a running warm-up?

When you’re just starting out, you’re often tempted to go straight for a run, thinking that it’s precisely running that will warm you up. Error !

Same top runners warm up before running (and moreover especially them!!) to have good feelings, to prepare their body for the activity and to make a good performance.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of people start running and suffer long-term injuries from not warming up before their workout. So here are my tips for running to avoid pitfalls!

Avoid muscle and joint injuries

First, warming up well will allow the joints to prepare and be well lubricated thanks to the synovial fluid in order to withstand shocks and move more easily without injury.

And yes, if we think directly of the muscles, we tend to forget the joints.

The more you warm up, the less pain you will have the next day, the day after a run. You’ll really feel it in the speed of recovery/alleviation of soreness.

During a running warm-up, the muscles must be used gently for better contraction, better use and above all to reduce the risk of strain. Moreover, to run when it’s cold you have to be twice as vigilant and make a point of warming up, because the muscle needs to warm up more.

If you embark on a split, a sprint or you make a too violent start while being poorly warmed up, you may regret it from the first second!

Improve performance and sensations

Warm up to improve your performance and avoid injuries

Without warming up, your muscles are colder and less ready to perform an effort. Otherwise, your tendons are more elastic and your muscles are better able to contract quickly.

Let’s not forget either that increasing your heart rate a little allows better oxygenation of your muscles to be able to solicit them to the maximum.

These elements therefore allow you to have an excellent race without risk of injury, while improving your performance! Warm-ups in competition are super rigorous! So if even the professionals realize them, there must be a reason, right?

Exercises for warming up before running

In fact, there are a lot of them, but the important thing is to use as many muscles, joints, ligaments, etc. as possible. The race solicits all of your legs as well as the posture of the back and the abdominals! So what to do before running? What are the exercises to do for a running warm-up ?

  • Rise of heels
  • Knee raise
  • knee balance
  • Pelvis circles
  • Not hunted and high knees
  • butt heels
  • Dynamic knee raise
  • Butt extension

Rise of heels

  1. Standing position ;
  2. Stand up straight without spreading your legs too far;
  3. Rock on your tiptoes while tightening the abdominal strap;
  4. Go back down slowly.

Do 10 to 15 climbs to warm up your calves, prepare the joints of the ankle and the foot as a whole.

Knee raise

  1. Support yourself on one leg;
  2. Raise the opposite knee to 90° gently;
  3. Rest your legs gently;
  4. Do the same thing on the other side.

Do 5 climbs per leg to allow the solicitation of the hip and the coxo femoral joint as well as the knees.

knee balance

  1. Raise the knee to 90° gently;
  2. Place your foot barely touching the ground and repeat 10 times
  3. Perform the same gesture with the other leg 10 times

We perform this exercise on tiptoe when we start to be more seasoned in terms of balance.

Pelvis circles

  1. Slightly widen the legs;
  2. Make small pelvic circles;
  3. On one side, then on the other;

We make the circles of basins for 20 to 30 seconds.

Not hunted and high knees

  1. Raise your knees while making a semi-circle to the side;
  2. Continue with a sidestep on the same side;
  3. Perform the same movement with the other leg;
  4. Not chased to the other side.

This time, we make 5 round trips, once again to work the hip well and the thigh a little.

butt heels

  1. Successively, try to touch your buttocks with your heels:
  2. Be careful not to land on the toes, but on the bowl of the foot;
  3. Try to make as little noise as possible by bending your knees;
  4. Increase the pace as you go.

We take a minute to make her buttocks heels.

The objective is to put a little dynamism and impact to prepare the joints and the heart.

Dynamic knee raise

  1. Raise the knees one by one very quickly;
  2. No need to go up to 90° this time;
  3. Try to make as little noise as possible.

This time 15 to 20 fairly dynamic seconds will be enough to work the levator muscles of the foot.

Butt extension

  1. Start on all fours, resting on your hands and knees;
  2. Bring one of your knees towards your chest;
  3. Then straighten your leg backwards;
  4. Repeat the movement without putting your knee on the ground.

We perform this sequence 5x on one leg then we try to spread more and go further 3 times. And then do the same on your second leg.

We work the buttocks and we warm up the adductors as well.

The running warm-up program

Exercises Repetitions / time
Rise of heels 10 to 15
Knee raise 5 mounted per leg
knee balance 9 to 10 on each side
Pelvis circles 20 to 30 seconds
Not hunted and high knees 5 round trip
butt heels 1 minute
Knee raise 15 to 20 seconds
Butt extension 5 per leg + 3 times in full extension

You can very well do this warm-up at home before your running session and not necessarily outside in plain sight. This allows you to take time comfortably at home and start running straight after.

beginner running program

Muscles that need to be warmed up before a run

As you have seen on the previous exercises, the multitude of exercises will work several muscles such as:

  • the different gluteal muscles (small, medium and large gluteus);
  • calf and foot muscles;
  • the thigh muscles (adductors, quadriceps and hamstrings);
  • the heart by increasing heart rate;
  • the abdominal strap.

The various movements will also make it possible to heat the upper body by the gestures of the arms for example. There you have a anti-injury comprehensive running warm-up !

Lighter warm-up before a jog

In the case of a warming up for your jog, this remains important although the intensity of your run is less. However, a little warm-up remains interesting to be sure not to take any risks.

Your preparation before jogging can be shorter, but you should still warm up the different leg muscles gradually so as not to injure yourself.

For example, you can make my video: Running warm-up (4 min)

On the other hand, you can very well do the complete warm-up before running, start gently in jogging and accelerate to really run and solicit your body.

This sequence can complete your pre-run preparation, but is not required. Take the test yourself and find out what suits you best!

No stretching before running

Stretching before running? No ! In the running warm-up that I proposed to you, there is no stretching and it’s done on purpose.

Stretching before running risks

After a stretch, the neuromuscular spindles are less sensitive, which means that we feel less pain, and therefore, we increase the chances of injury.

But that’s not all, if warming up increases the blood flow to the muscles, stretching them reduces this blood supply.

As a result, you lose the positive effects of a good warm-up before a run and you increase the risk of strains or sprains, for example.


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