Oct 20

Warming Up

Before you begin any workout it is important that you properly warm up. This is especially true before a bleacher or stair workout This is a topic that many people, including experienced runners may not correctly understand.  There are two basic forms of stretching; dynamic (not to be confused with ballistic) and static, both of which serve very different purposes. Dynamic involves moving body parts in a controlled manner as you reach the limits of your range of motion.  Static stretching on the other hand involves stretching the body to its furthest reach and then holding that position.  Dynamic stretching should be done prior to exercising and static should be done after exercising.  Do not confuse this point.  This article from Runners World is a helpful resource concerning stretching.

Examples of dynamic stretches include high knees, butt kicks, running backwards, swinging you leg in a running motion etc.

For further examples of proper warming up for running bleachers Aurora Sports Med has a fantastic video on You Tube.

Just imagine your muscles as rubber bands, as they sit still during the day they contract and become cold.  Stretching the muscles puts strain on them and pulls them to their max, doing this with cold muscles will cause damage.  As you perform dynamic stretches you are putting your muscles slowly through the same types of motion that they will perform during the workout while running bleachers.  Static stretches can be done as part of your cool down and actually will help to improve flexibility, increase speed, and prevent injury.

In my experience new runners either under prepare or over prepare for for workouts.  If your muscles  are cold and tight they will not be able to expand and putting them through a workout will only cause harm. Dynamic stretching mimics the movements of the workout that you will do in a slow manner slowly progressing the body part (muscle) to the full range of motion. Once the muscle is able to reach the full range of motion or close to it the muscle is prepared for a workout.

After running bleachers and the workout has been completed the muscle is warm and loose and is at a point where you can improve flexibility. It is at this time that static stretching will pay off high dividends. You should spend fifteen to twenty minutes statically stretching the muscle to its fullest point. Resistance will be felt and it is important to meet this resistance and hold the stretch and push past this point a bit. The runner will notice during future workouts that they are slowly able to increase their flexibility.

Improved flexibility will aid in the reduction of injuries and improve speed. Legs will have an increased range of motion and be able to improve stride. As muscles and tendons strengthen and achieve increased flexibility you will notice that stretching in the proper manner has paid off and running bleachers will become fun and not a chore.