The benefits of active heating far outweigh any other form of static heating method in use today. In addition to being proven most effective in athletic labs across the country, it makes sense if you stop and think about it for a second.
Why do we insist on sitting up and stretching our hamstrings before jogging when that movement isn’t even part of our running stride? Why do you grab your tennis racket and make big arm circles when you’re never going to do that in a match?
The key to an effective warm-up is to mimic the movements you will perform while jogging, exercising, or playing sports. The idea is to warm up the muscles by gradually using them in the same way that you will use them while playing. By applying these active warm-ups, you will ensure that you are adequately prepared to begin your exercise program in peak condition and minimize any chance of muscle injury.
Linear active warm-ups
Active linear warm-ups should be implemented before any running activity that does not require side-to-side movement, such as jogging and running. The following linear active warm-ups allow you to warm up one muscle area while providing a gentle stretch to another.
Elevated knee walk
Begin walking and with each step raise your knee so that your quadriceps is parallel to the ground. Keep the leg elevated at the level of the shin and stand on your toes with the leg that is on the floor. Alternate legs.
Elevated knee jump
Gently jump from one leg to the other while raising your leg so that your quadriceps is parallel to the ground. This is a great warm-up for the hip muscles, so important in running.
Elevated knee race
This exercise is like running in place, but make small forward movements while keeping your upper body straight and using your hands in the running movement. Again, be sure to raise your knees high enough to maximize use of your hip flexors.
Jog in place and with the leg that is not on the floor, extend it fully back until it contacts your glutes. This exercise has two purposes; first to stretch the hamstrings and also to get the quads to go through a full movement.
Touch your jumping toes
Another great active warm-up for your hamstrings, during this exercise, slowly jump forward. Extend the leg that is not in contact with the ground in front of you and touch it with the opposite hand. You will touch your left foot with your right hand and vice versa. It’s okay to have a slight bend in your extended leg as you reach out to touch it.