Best warm up stretches before running

Woman stretching her hamstring.

Best warm up stretches before running

Stretching before running

It’s common knowledge that we need to complete stretches before running to prepare the body for what’s to come. At Pivotal Motion we’ve compiled a list of our favourite pre-run stretches that will help your body get prepared for exercise. To correctly warm up the muscles, a combination of dynamic movements and stretches should be used. Dynamic movements:


  • Incorporate movements which contain periods of stretch and release
  • Increases blood flow
  • Increase muscle activation

Before doing any stretches it’s important to get your body warmed go. Go for a light walk or jog before getting started.


Calf pump

We’re going to start from the bottom and go up from there. The calves are a very important muscle for locomotion and the calf gets injured to often. A good calf stretch is the calf pump, this one gets a good stretch down the back of your leg.


  • Start in the push up position with one leg bent slightly
  • Push your heel into the floor and straighten the leg while flexing your other knee
  • Do 15-20 repetitions per leg. You should feel your calves loosening up and ready to go!


Calf Pump


Hamstring sweep

Hamstrings are the most commonly injured leg muscle and they have a very high re-occurrence rate of injury. It’s important to get them firing appropriately before exercise to reduce their injury risk. The best hamstring dynamic stretch is the hamstring sweep. This one get’s a good stretch through your hamstrings and has a neural component to get your nerves firing correctly.


  • Stick one leg out straight in front of you gently lean into your knee
  • Sweep your hands across the ground and come back up
  • Repeat on the other leg

Do 5-10 each leg and you’ll notice you’ll be able to get your hands lower to the floor.


Hamstring Sweep


World’s greatest stretches!

This is an aptly named stretch targeting your hip flexors and abdominal muscles. It incorporates a few movements to ensure a good stretch.


  • Go into a lunge and then place one hand on the inside of the foot on the same side
  • Stick your other arm out and rotate to the sky
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds and then lift both hands in the air and go into a lunge.
  • Hold for another 3-5 seconds and then repeat on the other leg
  • Do this stretch 3-5 times per side.


World's Greatest




Scorpion stretch

This one gets your back and glutes involved, note that if you have low back pain or any injuries in the area, it should be done with caution or avoided.  Lie on your stomach with legs out straight. Lift one leg up and across your body until your foot hits the floor or until you feel a gentle stretch through your glutes. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite leg. Do 5-10 each side.


Scorpion Stretch


Arm circles

Time for your upper body. This one is well known and is good to get your arms and shoulders warmed up. Stand up straight with your arms pointing away from you to the side. Start to move your arms in small circles and gradually build to large circles before going back into small circles. Do this for about 30-45 seconds. To learn more about the functionality of the arm as well as common injuries – click here to read more.


Arm circles

Taking a little bit of time out of your day to do a proper warm up decreases your risk of injury and increases your performance. Try out these dynamic stretches before your next workout and so how much better you feel!

If you are suffering from exercise related pain, book in to see one of the physiotherapists at Pivotal Motion Physiotherapy by calling us on 07 3352 5116 or booking online today!



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