Running Warm Up Better than Stretching

Running warm up exercises is better than stretching before a run in preventing injuries and improving movement and pace efficiency.

Warming up before forefoot running involves any form of cardiovascular activity that increases heart-rate and blood flow to the muscles which raises muscle temperature, making them less stiff and easier to move.

Pre-Run Stretching Bad

Running Warm Up Better than Stretching

Pre-run warm-ups include a slow jog, fast walk, jumping jacks, and skipping rope. Form drills for forefoot running are also a great way to warm up before running.

Benefits of Warming Up Before Forefoot Running

  • warming up before forefoot running speeds up nerve impulses and increases oxygen and energy substrate delivery for clearing waste products
  • pre-run warms-ups improve muscle viscosity which prevents muscle tearing by improving contraction effectiveness and creates a balanced motion during eccentric loading during forefoot running

Why Not Stretch?

Researchers are still unsure about the role of pre-run stretching on preventing running injuries.

The results on the matter are contradictory, leaving experts puzzled over the best ways to combine adequate stretching techniques to assess protection from injury.

However, the standard interpretation is that pre-run stretching disrupts the elastic properties of the tendon structures of the lower leg thereby compromising running performance.

Therefore, it is wise to put pre-run stretching on the back-burner until we gain a better understanding of how it relates to injury prevention and performance outcome.

Running Warm Up Better Than Stretching
Jogging before a run is a better way of protecting the muscles and tendons from injury as compared with stretching.

Until then, you are better off doing a light jog before going out hard!

More From Run Forefoot:

What is forefoot running and why you should run that way.

How forefoot running prevents injury.

Heel strike vs forefoot strike – an excellent mechanical perspective from the experts.

Best shoes to wear for forefoot running.

Use these resources to learn more about barefoot running

Easy to make pre and post-run snack ideas.


Clarkson, PM and Tremblay, I. Exercise-induced muscle damage, repair, and adaptation in humans. J Appl Physiol, 1988; 65(1):1-6.

Shellock, FG. Physiological benefits of warm-up. The Physician and Sports Med, 1983; 11:134-39.

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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