5 Minute Runners Warm-up Stretches & Exercises

Whether you’re a runner getting in your easy #morningmile or you’re in the throes of half marathon training, DONT SKIP the WARMUP.

It can be tempting to skip the warm-up and dive right in. Doing so doesn’t just save you time. It also increases your risk of injury, like muscle tears and overuse injuries. The warm-up prepares your body for the upcoming session.

Of course there will be occasions when skipping the warm-up can’t be helped, but it’s especially important to make time for the warmup when you’re running intervals, doing speed work, or a race.

The following happen gradually during a warm-up:

  • Body temperature is increased
  • Heart rate is increased
  • Blood flow to working muscles
  • Increases the range of movement of your joints

Every body is different and every person has their own injury history, so your warm-up needs to be specific to your needs. Don’t just do whatever someone else is doing! That being said, we will provide you with a well-rounded warmup appropriate for beginners to advanced runners as a place to start.

The 5 minute Runners Warm-up

Here are the four movements you should do as part of your daily warmup before running.

Leg swings front to back

This exercise works your hip through its entire range of motion, both front to back.

How to do a leg swing front to back:

  • Stand with your feet together beside a sturdy object. Place one hand on it for balance.
  • Keeping your core braced and moving with control, swing your leg straight out in front of you, then back behind you as far as is comfortable.
  • That’s one rep. Perform 8-10 reps then switch legs.

Leg swings side to side

This movement warms-up your inner and outer thighs. You might also feel the side glute of your standing leg working to keep you balanced.

How to do a leg swing side to side:

  • Stand with your feet together and facing a sturdy object for balance.
  • Keeping your core braced and moving with control, swing your leg straight out to your side, then in front of your body as far as is comfortable.
  • That’s one rep. Perform 8-10 reps before switching legs.

Reverse lunge with a twist

This move gets your core, hip flexors, quads, glutes, and hamstrings warmed up.

How to do a reverse lunge with a twist:

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Brace your core.
  • Without arching through your lower back, step one foot behind you and lower into a lunge.
  • While lunging, slowly twist at the torso from one side to the other.
  • Press through your front heel to step your back foot forward. Lower your arms.
  • Repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep. Perform 8-10 reps per leg.

Lateral squat

This exercise prepares your side glutes, which play a vital role in keeping your hips, knees, and even ankles working optimally.

How to do a lateral squat:

  • Stand with your feet about double shoulder-width apart.
  • Push your hips back as you bend one knee as far as is comfortable or until your thigh is parallel with the floor.
  • Pause for 2 seconds, then slowly push through the heel of your bent leg to return to standing. Your feet will stay in place throughout the exercise.
  • Alternate sides. That’s one rep. Repeat for 8-10 reps per leg.


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About The Author:

Megan Sparacio is a certified personal trainer who writes on health and fitness. She has over five years experience writing well-researched pieces aimed at helping folks reach their fitness and lifestyle goals.

Megan is passionate about staying up-to-date with and communicating methods to help others make lasting changes in their physical fitness and behavior and mindset. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, running and lifting, and painting.

She currently lives in Tennessee and also works as an NASM Certified Personal Trainer.