dynamic warmup

Runner’s Dynamic Warm-up and Cross Training

To help you get race-ready and maximize your training, Vonda Wright, MD, medical director for the new UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, recommends that all runners add a dynamic warm-up before their runs and scheduled cross training days. She says it’s important for runners to “strengthen the whole body” to help prevent injury.

Based on her experiences as a runner, as well as her knowledge of sports medicine, and orthopaedic surgery, Dr. Wright leads a marathon training group, Total Body Cross Training for Runners. This video, taken from a recent training session, includes dynamic warm-up exercises and cross training drills that can be easily included in your training regime.

Dynamic Warmup

Dr. Wright discusses a dynamic warmup for runners as being “all about activating all the muscles we need for running, moving the joints, and getting our blood pumping.” A dynamic warmup routine uses active stretches and movements to really activate the body as opposed to more traditional, static stretches.

Without a targeted warmup, many runners report feeling like the first couple miles of a run are spent warming up. Dr. Wright, as well as other UPMC Sports Medicine experts, recommend the dynamic warm-up in order to allow you to make the most of each mile in your run.

Try the following active stretches as part of your dynamic warmup:

  • Leg Swings
  • Hip rotations
  • High knees to chest lunge
  • Activator
  • Prisoner squat
  • Jumping jacks
  • Walking on heels
  • Walking on toes
  • High kick skips
  • Hip swings
  • Reaching to the sky on both sides
  • Squats


Adding cross-training to your marathon training routine may seem counter-intuitive. It can seem strange to focus on fitness areas other than running while training for such a long race.

Dr. Wright summarizes, “running is 1,000 steps per mile on your right foot and then it’s 1,000 steps per mile on your left foot. That gives us thousands and thousands of opportunities to get hurt.”

To help prevent injury and keep your body in top shape, Dr. Wright suggests taking days off from running to focus on strengthening your core, glutes, and arms. This practice is called cross training and can make a big difference for runners.

Dr. Wright also recommends the following cross training exercises to use in a circuit:

  • Half squats
  • Front planks
  • Side planks
  • Vertical leaps
  • Monster walk using an elastic training band
  • Runner’s lunge
  • Push-ups
  • Jump rope

To learn more about running tips and the services we offer at UPMC Sports Medicine, call 1- 855-93-SPORTS (77678) or visit UPMC Sports Medicine.

Have you tried a dynamic warmup or cross training in your marathon training plan? If not, how do you train for a half or full marathon?

Watch another video from Dr. Vonda Wright about specific marathon stretches: