5 Minute Warm-up Routine Before You Go Running. Or Hiking. Or Anything Cardio.

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Before any challenging cardio workout, it’s important to get your muscles activated and move your joints with a pre-workout warm-up. This prepares your body for the demands you are about to place on it and helps prevent injuries. The best way to effectively warm-up is with a combination of dynamic stretching and large muscle movements. The following warm-up plan is what I have James do before each of his 5k training runs. He has some old knee injuries that make running challenging for him, so it’s all the more important that he goes into every run with his body well-prepared. If you aren’t already doing a warm-up before running, give this one a try. You’ll be surprised how much easier your workout will feel!


Directions: Do 10 repetitions of each exercise for 5k training workouts. Do 20 reps for 10k training workouts.

Windmill Lateral Lunges: Stand with feet wide apart and your arms held straight out sideways (parallel to floor). Bend one knee, then the other (feet remain planted), while simultaneously twisting your trunk towards your bent knee.

Walking Knee Hugs: Step forward and hug your lifted knee into your chest. Repeat on other side.

Squat into Calf Raise Stretch: Stand with feet wide. Squat down, then come back up and lift heels while simultaneously stretching both hands up to sky.

Backstroke Drops: Stand with feet wide. Circle your left arm up and back, as if doing a backstroke. When the left hand gets back down, bend both knees slightly (the drop phase; like a mini-squat). Repeat on the right arm, always bending knees once your arm circles back down.

Split Lunge Rocking Horses:  Stand in a forward lunge, right leg forward (knee bent), and your right arm reaching up to the sky. Straighten your right leg as you bring your right arm down and rest your right forearm on your right thigh. Do all 10 reps on right side before repeating on left.

Finally, finish off your 5k warmup by doing 10 seconds of: (20 seconds for 10K warmups)

Fire Feet: Fast as you can run in place. (Beginners can sit and do this move.)

Butt Kicks: Jog in place bringing your heels up to your glutes. (Beginners, walk in place bringing your heels up to glutes.)

High Knee Jogs: Jog in place bringing your knees up. (Beginners, walk in place bringing knees up.)

Jumping Jacks: Unless you just moved here from Mars, no definition needed. (Beginners, do alternating side taps instead.)

After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

    1 thoughts on “5 Minute Warm-up Routine Before You Go Running. Or Hiking. Or Anything Cardio.

    1. b

      thx for this bit,
      after my 40ish years of work and flipping and having rentals, i’ve decided to try and gently reenter exercise.
      8 minute mile jogging
      > 10 minute mile slogging
      i’m slogging at present


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