Yoga for Athletes

A Dynamic Yoga Warm-Up to Prime Your Muscles for a Run

Static stretches, like you do holding a yoga pose, are useful for building strength and flexibility, but a dynamic warm-up is best before a run. In a dynamic warm-up routine, you’ll move in and out of poses without lingering in them. The goal is to move through your range of motion, priming the muscles for the work you will soon do. The dynamic warm-up helps get the appropriate muscles firing, with a special focus on the lower legs and hips. While waking up your sense of balance and focus, you’ll activate your glutes and the muscles that support your ankles. That will ensure you begin your run with appropriate muscular engagement, keeping the workload in the right muscles, which can help prevent injury down the line. Plus, all the whole routine is standing, which is perfect if you want to do it right on the gravelly road or mucky trail you’re about to run on and don’t want to put your hands on the ground.

How To: 

Before you begin your warm-up, stand in Mountain Pose for a few breaths. Set an intention for your training session, so you can enter it with a clear sense of purpose. You can use this time to commit to a mantra, set parameters for your interval pacing, or simply appreciate the blessing of being strong enough to run today. Moving through the dynamic warm-up with a focus on your breath will help set the tone for a fantastic run.

From Mountain Pose, inhale and lift your right leg into Crane Pose. Exhale and step your right foot back as you lean over your left thigh in Arrow Lunge. Inhale to lift your shoulders over your hips into Crescent Lunge, then exhale to return to Arrow, inhale to Crane, and exhale to Mountain. Run through the sequence with your left leg lifting, and do a total of 3 to 5 rounds on each side.

See also Everyday Yoga for Athletes: 5 Pre-Workout Warm-Up Poses

About Our Expert
Sage Rountree is a pioneer in yoga for athletes and an endurance sports coach. Sage is the author of seven books, including Everyday Yoga and Lifelong Yoga, co-written with Alexandra DeSiato. This sequence comes from the second edition of her Runner’s Guide to Yoga, available now. Learn more on