Every runner has their own individual warm-up, but most share a commonality: focus on the muscles we think we use most during our jogs—those of our lower body. It’s a flawed approach.
“Enjoyment and performance depend upon the body working as a unit,” says Pete Egoscue, co-creator of Elev8d Fitness, a new premium home fitness program brought to you by the experts of Sonima. Too many runners skip upper-body work in lieu of calf stretches, not just in their warm-ups but in general. Because of this, Egoscue can usually spot runners even in street clothes. “Their lower-body muscles such as the quads and calves are quite developed but their upper body is very slight,” he says. “Their shoulders are rounded forward and they’re in a forward flex position.”
That positioning can have countless detrimental effects, creating a feedback loop that perpetuates dysfunctional posture. “If you’re just concentrating on your lower body and not paying attention to your upper body, several things happen that provide inefficiency and degradation of performance,” Egoscue says.
The main issue is functionally: You lose efficiency of the counterbalance of the shoulder load joint, one of the eight major load joints in the body. Without proper shoulder functionality, runners often see a trickle-down effect.
For one, you lose the flexion-extension and straight ahead action of the leg. Runners in particular need to move forward in an efficient way, Egoscue says. Think about it: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. However, if your feet turn out (a common issue for many of us as modern day life doesn’t promote a vertical flexion-extension posture), you’re not able to access your full potential. “Your talent is writing a check and your body can’t cash it,” Egoscue says.
Connecting your body’s load joints can lead to running proficiency and performance. Elev8d Fitness warm-ups and cool-downs work your entire body and load-bearing joints through full ranges of motion. Plus, a post-workout cool-down puts the body back in ‘neutral’ when you’re finished, Egoscue says. This gives you the ability to meet your run talent with an efficient body, furthering an effective fitness routine.
Ready to be a better runner? Try this running primer: