10 warm-up exercises to do before your race

Warm-up exercises are an important part of an athlete’s training plan. In fact, they’re as important as the rest of the training units, within their program. And, as such, coaches often include them in the periodization model; at least until the target race. 

We always highlight how every athlete is unique. From their personality and emotional psychological blueprint to their physiology; and, even athletic goals, and aspirations. This means that each athlete responds differently to the same training stimuli. 

Therefore, the choice of periodization and training load should depend entirely on the coach. Simply because the coach is the only person who can come up with the best training plan for their athlete; a personalized plan that will help them achieve the maximum possible performance.

The two categories of warm-up exercises

We’ve already talked about the benefits of resistance training for endurance athletes; and, why endurance athletes should include warm-up workouts in their training plan. Generally speaking, most athletes usually execute routine warm-up exercises before the race. To be more precise, they execute activation exercises that help the musculoskeletal system adapt to the requirements of the race. We should clarify, again, that every athlete should follow a tailored training plan. A plan that their coach needs to design, according to their needs.

In this article, too, we’ll try to approach warm-up exercises from a general point of view. To be specific, warm-up workouts that athletes perform before the target race; and, primarily, before the start of their training. But, which are the warm-up exercises that will help the athlete get in an optimal musculoskeletal condition, before the race?

Before we answer this question, we’ve got a tip for you: Never include a new warm-up exercise — or an exercise outside your usual routine — in the training session before the race! Why? Because there’s a good chance of either getting an injury or suffering decreased performance.

Now, to get to the point, the exercises that we’ll touch on are divided into two basic categories:

  • Road drills — for land-based endurance sports, like running and cycling
  • Total body activation exercises — for swimming and triathlon

10 basic warm-up workouts to perform your best in the race, by category

To help you perform your best during the race, below we list ten workouts, separated into the two aforementioned categories. Let’s get right to it!

1. Five road drills

As with all sports, land-based endurance sports (running, cycling), too, require a 5-10 minute warm-up, at a low intensity. You don’t want any injuries, you’re about to compete in a race! After you’re all warmed up, you can start executing the top-five road drills we’ve listed for you below:

  1. Standing toe touch
  2. Skipping
  3. High knee skipping
  4. Back kicks
  5. Lunges

2. Five total body activation exercises

When it comes to swimming — or triathlon — races, you can start executing the total body activation exercises below, out of the water; and, then, complete your warm-up in the water for 5-10 minutes, always at a low intensity.

  1. Standing toe touch
  2. Squats
  3. High Knees
  4. Arm Circles
  5. Chest presses with a resistance band

Warm-up exercises tailored to your abilities and needs

Keep in mind, the ten exercises we mentioned in this article should be performed in sets; also, for specific repetitions, and duration. However, there’s a wide range of warm-up exercises to choose from and add to this list. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your abilities and needs. 

Don’t choose any warm-up workout without consulting with your coach. Your coach knows which exercises are best for you to execute before each race. Not only that, but they can also change or modify these exercises, depending on the conditions of the race, for optimal results.

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10 warm-up exercises to do before your race was last modified: April 7th, 2023 by Marilena Kokkinou