Track and Field Warm Up Exercises
Beginning a work out with an effective warm up session is crucial in almost any sport, but warm ups have an especially high impact on success among track and field athletes. The track and field warm up exercises in this video can help runners, vaulters, long jumpers and sprinters loosen and lengthen active muscle fibers before putting the body through a high intensity workout. Even more important, dynamic track and field warm up stretches like these can open circulation to the muscles of the core, arms, and legs. Improved circulation means more efficient oxygen and fuel delivery to hardworking muscle cells, which can result in faster reflexes and greater results for each degree of energy expended.
In an earlier era, stretching and warm up exercises were considered independent of one another and were believed to serve separate purposes; stretching lengthened and loosened muscles and increased flexibility while warm up exercises elevated heat and blood flow. At this point, research has proven that athletes gain the most benefit from “dynamic stretches”, or multi-purpose movements that combine the benefits of both.
Athletes and coaches can follow along as Trevor Theismann of Kbands Training takes viewers through a series of dynamic stretch motions designed around the demands of track and field sports.
Dynamic Track Warm Up: Resisted High Knees
The first of these dynamic track warm up exercises will depend on the resistance of the Kbands training bands, which should be strapped in place around the athlete’s upper legs. Once the bands are in place, the athlete can move down a 10 to 15 meter stretch of track at a slow run with knees elevated as high as possible at every step. The exaggerated knee lift will pull the hip flexors, glutes, adductors, and abductors of the legs against the resistance of the Kbands.
As athletes move down the track in a series of resisted knee lifts, they’ll need to focus on arm engagement as well. Since active arms translate to active legs, the elbows should be bent at 90 degrees and the arms should stay in motion for the entire warm up exercise.
Dynamic Track Warm Up: Resisted Karaoke
The next set of moves in this dynamic track and field warm up is called the karaoke step. The move is lateral, so athletes will need to work both sides of the body equally by moving down the track and back up in opposite directions. At each step, the body should move sideways and the legs should alternate. The right leg should land in front of the body, then the left, and so on. Every step should bring the knees high, and the trunk should stay loose and rotate fully. Since the muscles of the core are essential to speed during the sprint, athletes should focus on the range of motion in the torso, hips and lower back. Again, the added resistance of the Kbands Training bands will make the targeted muscle groups work harder, which will raise circulation and increase the value of the exercise.
Dynamic Track Warm Up: Resisted Hurdlers
The final dynamic stretch in this track and field warm up set is called the “resisted hurdler”. This move is executed at a slower pace, which increases the tension on the muscle groups that are targeted by the stretch. Athletes will move down the stretch of track at a walk, and at each step, they’ll lift the knee all the way up and rotate the leg forward at the hip, like a gate. Coaches and runners can watch the athlete in the video to see how he works his leg and hip slowly against the resistance of the bands, keeping his body straight and aligned.
Since this move activates different muscle groups when completed in a forward and backward direction, athletes will need to spend equal time on both, beginning with the forward motion. As the knee rises and reaches around, the foot should stay directly under the knee. This will help the athlete keep the energy of the move concentrated in the hip muscles. Athletes should stay under control and not let the knee leak outward or come forward too fast.
As runners reach the end of the 10 to 15 meter stretch of track, they’ll reverse the move and go backward. This means they’ll raise the knee in front of the body, then open the gate and plant the foot behind themselves as they back up. During the entire move, the hip line should stay perpendicular to the line of motion.
Dynamic Track Warm Up: Putting the Moves Together
The three dynamic stretches of this track warm up should be completed forward and backward three times each with the Kbands leg resistance bands in place. Once the athlete has gone down the track and back three times in each pattern, the muscles should be warm and firing, and the blood should be flowing in keeping with a slightly elevated heart rate. At this point, the Kbands can be removed, and athletes can complete one final round of each stretch with no added resistance. Runners should maintain a wide, high, exaggerated range of motion and take full advantage of the loose free feeling in the muscles at this point.
Dynamic Track Warm Up: Striding Out
Before moving on into an intense track workout, runners can complete one last warm up move, which will consist of a set of six 10 to 20 meter sprints. Athletes can line up at the starting point and complete the six sprints at a pace that feels comfortable and readies the muscles and joints for the workout ahead.
For more track and field exercises, including warm ups, strength training, and complete workouts, athletes and coaches can visit Kbands Training.com and explore the track and field section of the site. Kbands Training.com also offers detailed information about the Kbands resistance bands. Find out how these simple bands can improve performance by increasing leg drive, lateral quickness, core stability and hip strength.
Track Training Equipment