5 Quick Warm Up Standing Stretches to do Before Running

Dynamic, pre running stretches. Physiotherapist Morgan Deegan shows you her favourite pre run quick standing stretches. 

Dynamic standing stretches are ideal for warming up the body and preparing it for the physical demands of running.

Calf Gastrocnemius Stretch into a Soleus Stretch

The calf gastrocnemius muscle, often referred to as simply the gastrocnemius, is a prominent muscle located in the posterior (back) part of the lower leg. It is involved various movements, including walking, running, and jumping.

The soleus muscle is a powerful muscle located in the posterior (back) part of the lower leg. It is used when walking, running, and maintaining balance.


Stand, take a step back with one leg, keeping it straight and placing the heel on the ground.

Keep the other leg forward with the knee slightly bent.

Lean forward, shifting your weight onto the front leg while keeping the back leg straight and the heel on the ground.

You should feel a gentle stretch in the calf muscle of the back leg.

As you move backwards, bend the back knee,  which stretches the lower section of the calf.

Do each leg, and hold for a couple of seconds only. 

Repeat around 10 times. 

Hamstring sweeps

The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located at the back of the thigh.

hamstring sweeps

These can be done whilst walking or stationary. 

In a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms relaxed by your sides.

Take a step forward with your right foot, keeping your leg straight. Your toes should be pointing upward.

Slowly hinge forward at the hips, reaching your hands towards your right foot, sweeping forward. 

Swap feet.

You should feel it down the back of your legs. 

10 – 15 each side.

If one side is tighter than another, you might do more on one side.

Knee Hug Glute Stretch

The glutes, short for gluteal muscles, are a group of three muscles located in the buttocks.

knee hugs<br />

Standing tall with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Lift your right knee up toward your chest, grasping it with both hands just below the kneecap.

Gently pull your knee closer to your chest, hugging it in while keeping your back straight.

As you pull your knee in, you should feel a stretch in your glute muscles on the same side.

Release the stretch by slowly lowering your leg back down to the starting position.

Repeat the same steps with your left leg, lifting the knee toward your chest and hugging it in to stretch the glutes on the opposite side.

Not holding, just bringing to the chest, and bring it back down again.

It will loosen up as you do more. 

This exercise is also great for your balance. 

Quads Stretch

Stretching the quads before running increases blood flow to the area, warming up the muscles and preparing them for the physical demands of exercise.

quad stretch

Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart, maintaining good posture and a stable base.
Shift your weight onto your left leg and slightly bend the knee.

Reach back with your right hand and grasp your right ankle or foot. If you have difficulty reaching, you can use a strap or towel to assist you in holding onto your ankle or foot.

Gently pull your right foot towards your glutes, while keeping your upper body tall and maintaining balance.

As you pull your foot closer, you should feel a stretch in the front of your right thigh (quadriceps). It’s important to avoid any pain or discomfort during the stretch.

Release the stretch by slowly lowering your right foot back down to the ground.

Repeat the same steps on the other side by shifting your weight onto your right leg and stretching your left quad.

No holds – 10 – 15 each side.

Alternating sides.

Bow and Arrows Stretch

The bow and arrow stretch primarily targets the muscles of the upper back, shoulders, and chest. 

This stretch is important for the middle back, which is often the forgotten section of the body for runners, but really important for your forward momentum.

quad stretch
quad stretch

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and maintain good posture, keeping your spine straight.

Extend your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height, parallel to the ground.
Rotate your torso to the right, shifting your weight onto your right foot. Your left arm should stay extended while your right arm bends at the elbow, creating a “bow” shape with your arms.

As you rotate, keep your hips facing forward and engage your core muscles to maintain stability.

Feeling a gentle stretch across your upper back, shoulders, and chest.

Return to the starting position by rotating your torso back to the center, aligning your arms parallel to the ground once again.

Repeat the stretch on the opposite side by rotating your torso to the left and bending your left arm while keeping your right arm extended.

Remember, always listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified trainer for personalised guidance on stretching exercises and warm-up routines based on your specific needs and fitness level.

By incorporating standing stretches into your pre-run warm-up routine, you can optimise your performance, reduce the risk of injury, and enhance your overall running experience.

Here at Physio and Fitness Clinic, we can assist you with your sports injuries, and build core strength. Make an appointment with a physio today for physiotherapy and physio run pilates.