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Woman doing cardio stretches or stretches before running.

Try These Pre-Run Stretches For An Awesome Cardio Workout!

April 14, 2014

No matter if you’re new to running on commercial treadmills or have been an avid runner for years, nothing is worse than sustaining an injury and not being able to exercise while it heals. Warming up is often overlooked because people are anxious to get to the meat of their workout, but without pre-cardio stretches, the risk of injury increases.

Jumping right into a run with cold muscles before your body and mind have had time to prepare can actually do more harm than good, but performing just five minutes of dynamic stretching helps you stay injury-free and can actually help you enjoy a better, more effective session on the commercial fitness equipment. Focusing on the legs and core – specifically the quads, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors – will help you get that great run you’re after.

Pre-Run Stretches To Try – Walking Lunges: Lunges can help create heat in your quads and hip flexors, and they simulate the motion of running. This makes them a very useful stretching exercise. The movement also starts to warm up your whole body, preparing your heart rate to increase. To do walking lunges:

  • Start standing with your feet together and your hands on your hips.
  • Step forward with your right foot and drop both knees down to 90 degrees.
  • Push off with your back foot and step forward, bringing both feet back together.
  • Repeat with the left foot.
  • Take 10 to 12 steps total.

Hip Circles: Hip muscles can really tighten up and cause problems when running, so it’s important to open up the joints and loosen up your hips before hitting the treadmill. Hip circles are an easy movement that activates your core muscles and prepares your hips for your run. To do hip circles:

  • Stand with feet hip-distance apart with your hands on your hips.
  • Slowly start to push your hips to the right, circling in a counter-clockwise motion (like hula hooping).
  • Make six circles, then switch to the other side.

Calf Raises: The lower half of your legs need attention, too, and it’s important to prepare your calves for the impact of your feet hitting the treadmill belt. To do calf raises:

  • Stand on a step or stair with your heels hanging off of the edge.
  • Lift up onto your toes, then lower your heels until you feel a stretch in your calves.
  • Hold the stretch for a few seconds, then repeat the motion 10 times.

If you have any questions about why doing pre-run or cardio stretches are important please let us know.