Dynamic Warmup for Runners

Warmup for Runners Injury Prevention Run Warmup Stretch

If you’re a runner, it’s likely that you’ve experienced some sort of discomfort, ache or pain along the way. In fact, it’s been reported that as many as 90% of runners miss training time each year due to injuries. Fortunately, running pains are not necessarily an inevitability.

A good warmup, prior to exercising, loosens up your body and gets the blood flowing, gradually raising your heart rate to make it easier to get into a good rhythm. Dynamic stretching before a run has shown to help with poor posture, faulty running mechanics and injury prevention. It can also work wonders in terms of improving your range of motion. If you experience aches and pains during or after your run, try this warmup to help and combat the likelihood of injury and give yourself a little peace of mind so you can run longer and stronger!

Estimated Time: 10 Minutes

Sunrise Stretch

Warmup for runners physical therapy dynamic warmup run injury

Where You’ll Feel It: Pecs and Mid Back
Lie on your side, bend both knees up toward your chest and place your bottom hand on top of your knees. Place your top arm out in front, reach up toward the ceiling and continue the rotation as far as possible. Hold for 2-3 seconds. Allow your head and chest to follow. Return to the starting position and perform 10 times each side.

Leg Swing

Leg Swing Exercise Dynamic Warmup Runners Run Injury

Where You’ll Feel It: Hamstrings and Hip Flexors
Swing your leg forward as high as you can and as far back as you can with controlled speed while keeping your knee straight and trunk upright. Perform 10 times on each leg.

Quad Stretch

Quad Stretch Warmup for Runners Exercise Stretch Dynamic Warmup Injury Prevention

Where You’ll Feel It: Thigh and Hip Flexor
Stand on one leg, grab your opposite ankle and pull your foot towards your butt. Keep your standing leg straight and the heel on the floor. Reach overhead with your other arm. Make sure that your bent knee is directly under your hip. (Optional – you can lift your heel and come up onto your toes). Don’t let your back arch. Hold for 3 seconds. Perform 10 times on each side.

Donkey Kick

Donkey Kick Dynamic Warmup for Runners Exercise Physical Therapy

Where You’ll Feel It: Glutes, Not Your Back!
Place a mini band around your knees. Start on your hands and knees. Align your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Engage your core by lightly bringing your belly button closer to the spine. Keep your core engaged and lift the right knee back like a kick. Think about kicking your heel towards the ceiling but avoid arching your back or twisting your hips. Perform 10 times on each side.

Runner’s Side Plank

Side Plank Dynamic Warmup for Runners Run Injury Prevention Stretch Exercise

Where You’ll Feel It: Core and Glutes
Lie on your side with your body and your legs in a straight line (like you are in a toaster slot). Bend the bottom of your knee 90 degrees and keep the top knee straight. Draw your belly button in towards your spine and engage your abs. Lift your hips up towards the ceiling, keeping your elbow stacked underneath your shoulders. While holding the plank position, bend your knee toward your chest and straight out to starting position (mimic running). Perform 10 times on each side.

Runner’s March

Runner's Side Plank Dynamic Warmup for Runners Physical Therapy Exercise Stretch Injury Prevention

Where You’ll Feel It: Glutes
Place a mini band around your ankles. Engage your core by lightly bringing your belly button closer to the spine to maintain neutral lumbar spine. March your knee up to hip level, pause for 1-2 seconds and then return to the starting position. Focus on slow, controlled movement. Drive the standing leg straight by squeezing your gluteal muscles. Perform 10 times on each side.

Side Steps

Side Steps Dynamic Warmup for Runners Runner Injury Prevention Physical Therapy Exercise Stretch

Where You’ll Feel It: Glutes / Outer Hips
Stand in a semi-squat position with your feet hip width apart and a mini band around your ankles. While always keeping tension in the band, take small steps to the left (Your stance should not be wider than your shoulders at any point). Focus on pushing off the trailing leg vs. reaching with the lead leg. Keep your knees pushed apart and your toes pointed straight forward. Repeat while moving to the right. Perform 10 steps to each side.

If you have any questions or any pain with these exercises, please consult a Therapydia physical therapist.

Back to School: 3 Tips to Avoid Posture Pain and Discomfort


Summer is nearing the end and that means so long to summertime hiking, biking and swimming, and hello to back to school book reading, screen staring and desk sitting. In the classroom, proper posture can be difficult to maintain. Heavy backpacks, sitting for long periods of time and hunching over computers can all take a toll after a while. Not surprisingly, the harmful effects of poor posture and strength can lead to more serious aches and pains down the road.

Next time you sit down at your desk consider this: Your head carries the most important organ in your body—your brain. The human head weighs on average between 10-11 lbs (that’s the size of a heavy bowling ball!) so it’s important to make sure the head and neck are supported throughout the day in order to avoid pain and dysfunction. The neck is comprised of vertebra, muscles, ligaments, arteries and nerves and it needs to be strong and adaptable to carry that weight around all day long.

Keep these quick tips in mind to ensure that you maintain proper posture throughout the school year. The greater focus placed on strengthening and activating these muscles, the easier it will be for these good postural habits to become second nature!

Tip #1:

When sitting, try to keep your feet on the ground. This keeps your lower back and core in a good position to avoid stress and pressure along the rest of the spine.

sitting posture desk school ergonomics physical therapy

Tip #2:

Keep computer screens and reading materials in front of, and level with your eyes. This will help you avoid prolonged bending at the neck as well as reduce eye strain and potential for headaches.


Tip #3:

Position your shoulders in a comfortable resting place when working at a desk or chair with arms. If it feels like your shoulders are up in your ears, that can put a lot of stress on your neck and potentially create problems down the road.


Making these small adjustments in the classroom can be simple and effective. Postural changes can help you avoid injury but remember that sitting posture comes from the combination of muscle strength and activation. If you have any questions, please come see one of our skilled physical therapists so they can better examine you and get you on your way to a successful start of the school year!

What is Yoga?


By Kirsten Kupras, DPT

Yoga is more than just a 60 minute class on a yoga mat. Yoga is a workout for the mind. It challenges the narrative, that little voice in the back of your head saying you’re not strong enough, you’re not flexible enough, you’re too tired. Yoga shows you that you CAN.

Bringing awareness to these elements—the breath, the mind-body connection, the sensation of exploring your limits—will translate to other areas of your life. Show up, see what will happen, take a chance rather than being afraid. Taking this approach can have a huge, positive impact on your day-to-day.

That is the real skill: not worrying about what is coming next, what may or may not happen, but teaching yourself to be in the present moment.

Yoga is the ability to sit with yourself during uncomfortable moments, on and off the mat. In a challenging pose, can you breath through the shaking muscles? Concentrate on the feeling NOT the fear.

Moving Meditation

With yoga, we learn to allow the body to breathe into whatever shows up – first in our meditative seat and then into every situation in our lives. Instead of running or reacting when something uncomfortable comes up, can we breathe into the moment and show up on a deeper level? Yoga gives us the opportunity to practice and explore this.

Yoga has the ability to reduce the sympathetic nervous system which is when we are in a stressful flight or fight state. In effect, the parasympathetic can take over which allows healing to improve mental focus, vitality, peace of mind and elevated perspective.

Start with this: Ask yourself this centering questions: What is important now? In this moment?

Get to Know Your PT: Jodie McGinlay, Therapydia Portland Physical Therapist

therapydia portland physical therapist jodie mcginlay

Therapydia Portland physical therapist Jodie McGinlay takes some time to talk about the process of PT, keeping up with the latest health gadgets and the importance of consistency.

“PT is a process and not a product. It takes consistent maintenance to accomplish goals but that doesn’t mean you’ll be in PT forever.”

When did you know that you wanted to be a physical therapist?

I had a good family friend who worked as a physical therapist for the U.S. Ski Team. She worked out of Mt. Hood and got to travel a lot. She inspired me to think outside the box and enjoy what I do.

What is the biggest challenge involved in being a PT?

Keeping up with the latest health-related gadgets.

How do you like to stay active?

I like trying new group classes but enjoy running and resistance training.

What’s your favorite song to get you motivated?

“Jumpin Jumpin” by Destiny’s Child.

What surprised you the most about the physical therapy profession?

How many different settings you can work in as a PT.

Are you currently pursuing any further education/certifications?

I’m working on learning more about new interventions with temporomandibular pain dysfunction.

What do you wish everyone knew about physical therapy?

PT is a process and not a product. It takes consistent maintenance to accomplish goals but that doesn’t mean you’ll be in PT forever.

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Smoothies and coffee.

What is the most important personality trait that a PT must have?

One is hard to say but the ability to adapt communication and teaching styles based on who you’re working with.

What do you do to de-stress/unwind?

Go for walks with friends and be outside in the sun.

Finish this sentence: On Saturday mornings, you can usually find me…

Walking around Laurelhurst park with a coffee.

What is your favorite piece of wellness advice?

Stay consistent even in small doses. Pursue things you like and not things you think you should be doing based on others around you. Motivation in health and wellness is person-specific.

Click here to learn more about Jodie and the other physical therapists at Therapydia Portland.

Get to Know Your PT: Rachel Wilkinson, Therapydia Portland Physical Therapist

Physical therapy portland get to know your physical therapist

Therapydia Portland physical therapist Rachel Wilkinson takes some time to talk about her love of food, CrossFit and the importance of adaptability in the PT profession.

“Everything in moderation. Too much or too little of one thing can be detrimental and this applies to all areas of life!”

When did you know that you wanted to be a physical therapist?

I started as a premed major and transitioned to pre-PT when I realized how much more rewarding the PT profession would be in terms of seeing patients regularly and spending quality time as a care provider.

What is the biggest challenge involved in being a PT?

I would have to say educating patients on the scope of our practice: how much we can do for them, but ultimately how we are going to teach them to help themselves.

How do you like to stay active?

My go-to is CrossFit. I love group classes because what is more fun than being social while you work out? I also love to get outside in the summertime and hike.

What’s your favorite song to get you motivated?

“Midnight City” by M83. It really builds and pumps you up!

What surprised you the most about the physical therapist profession?

I would say how few people know the extent of our educational process. The profession has advanced to a Doctorate in the last 5 years and we’ve worked hard to get there!

Are you currently pursuing any further education/certifications?

I am currently finishing a course to provide care and progressions to women returning to fitness. I would like to pursue my Orthopedic Specialty in this upcoming year.

What do you wish everyone knew about physical therapy?

I wish everyone knew how accessible PT was. Most states have direct access, meaning patients can go see a PT directly and without going through their primary care physician first.

What’s your go-to breakfast?

Eggs and sourdough toast with avocado.

What is the most important personality trait that a PT must have?

I would say you need to be adaptable. We work with a wide variety of patients and conditions.

What do you do to de-stress/unwind?

Usually CrossFit and then happy hour in Portland (I’ve got to work off those calories first!). I love the food/beer and wine scene here!

Finish this sentence: On Saturday mornings, you can usually find me…

Sleeping in and then going to our team (or partner) workout followed up by brunch (I like to eat).

What is the best piece of wellness advice?

Everything in moderation. Too much or too little of one thing can be detrimental and this applies to all areas of life!

Click here to learn more about Rachel and the other physical therapists at Therapydia Portland.

Initial Core Stabilization Exercises

core exercises stability core strength portland

No matter what sort of physical activities you engage in, a solid core is essential for staying strong and injury-free. Core stabilization exercises teach your muscles to work together, allowing your body to move efficiently no matter what you’re doing.

The following exercises are a great starting point for any sort of core-training program as they target the transverse abdominis (TA), which is the deepest core muscle that we have. A good way to think about core stabilization is that it works from the inside out. If the transverse abdominis is not functioning properly, it can be overridden by a lot of other muscles. Concentrating on, and isolating the TA is a good way to ensure that our trunk is stabilized for whatever movements we’re doing with our extremities.

Practice these exercises for 1-2 minutes each, once per day and take breaks when needed. Do your best to keep your mind focused on what your body is doing throughout.

Core Strengthening Exercises Transverse Abdominis

Transverse Abdominis (TA)

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Find your “neutral spine” by rocking your pelvis forward and backward and stopping in the middle of the two positions. Gently draw your belly button towards your spine like you’re trying to fit into a tight pair of pants. Breathe normally. Hold this contraction for 3 breaths, relax, and repeat. There should be no pelvic movement during this contraction.

Core Exercises Transverse Abdominis Marching

TA Marching

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Find your neutral spine and TA contraction. Breathe normally. While holding this contraction, slowly raise one foot a few inches from the floor and place it back on the floor. Repeat this, alternating legs for 1 minute.

Core Exercises 90 90 Hold

90/90 Hold

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Find your neutral spine and TA contraction. Bring one leg at a time up to a 90/90 position. Hold this position without your abdomen “bulging” towards the ceiling. Breathe normally. Hold for 10 seconds, relax, and repeat.

Core Exercises Quadruped Plank

Quadruped Plank

On all fours, with hands directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips with toes tucked under, find your neutral spine and TA contraction. Breathe normally. Maintaining this position, lift your knees to a hover. Hold for 10 seconds, relax, and repeat.

These exercises can be a great assessment of how well you’re able to activate these muscles. Keep in mind that this is just a starting point and a good core-training program should not stop here. Your PT will progress you as they see fit or as your abilities allow. If you have questions or if you have any pain with these exercises, please consult a Therapydia physical therapist.

Warming Up for Rock Climbers

warm up rock climber rock climbing warm up

Warming up prior to activity is important for everyone, climbers especially. A good warm up prepares the body by increasing blood flow to active muscles, increasing circulation, increasing body temperature and improving joint mobility. Getting your body moving prior to activity can reduce the risk of injury and decrease the likelihood of soreness afterward. It can also serve to help your body perform at its maximum potential so it’s important to make sure you’re warming up properly and safely. Here are a few key points to keep in mind before your next climb.


A major part of warming up is stretching, which can be broken down into two different types:

• Static Stretching is when you hold a body position for a predetermined period of time (typically 10-30 seconds). A good example of this is sitting and grasping your toes or throwing your foot up on a chair.
Dynamic Stretching involves continuous movement through your range of motion like when you practice swinging your leg forward and backward.


Getting your blood moving should be the first goal when warming up. Prior to working out or preparing for a climb, spend 10-15 minutes walking at a moderate pace, jogging or cycling to get your heart pumping. Incorporating some light cardio will help to oxygenate your muscles and keep them working magnificently.

Loosening Up

Do this by performing dynamic exercises that incorporate as many body parts as possible. Try to devote 5-10 minutes to loosening up prior to activity. Some ideas to get loose:

• Shoulder Windmills
• Neck Rolls
• Finger Flicks
• Wrist Rolls
• Knee to Chest
• Butt Kickers
• High Knees
• Trunk Rotations

Warm Up Climbs

You’ve loosened up and your body is warm, time to climb! Remember to increase your problem or route sequentially and strategically. Whether you’re bouldering or sport climbing, practice beginning your first few climbs 2-4 grades lower than your usual routes. If you can comfortably climb V3s for example, warm up with V0-V2s and work your way up. If you are a 5.11 sport climber, consider starting out with a couple of laps on 5.9/5.10. Not only is it beneficial to ease into your climbs but spectators will be WOWed by how effortlessly you zoom through them! 🙂 Utilize your first couple of routes to help you wake up your stabilizer muscles. Incorporate some rest into your warm up climbs to avoid pumping out early, you want to make sure you get to all of your projects for the day!


Remember to balance activity with rest. Occasionally you may hear someone say that they’re “pumped,” this usually indicates feelings of tightness, swelling, burning or pain due to lactic acid buildup (the PT brain never shuts off!). This usually occurs when a climber performs too many moves in a row. Like with any physical activity, there needs to be time for your muscles to recover from fatigue. All that said, find a good balance between incorporating rest into your warm up and not waiting too long—you don’t want to let yourself cool down completely.

Most importantly, listen to your body, pace yourself and rest appropriately so you can maximize your climbing time!

We hope these warm up tips and tricks will be helpful to you during your next climbing session. Keep an eye for more climbing-related physical therapy information on Therapydia. Until next time, rock on!

Get to Know Your PT: Kurt Gilbertson, Therapydia Lake Oswego Physical Therapist


Therapydia Lake Oswego physical therapist Kurt Gilbertson takes some time to talk about changing the perception of the recovery process, the power of instrumental music and his love of soccer.

“The under-appreciated side of wellness is the mental. Wellness needs to be fun and enjoyable because it is lifelong, and no person has enough motivation to constantly do something they don’t enjoy.”

When did you know that you wanted to be a physical therapist?

I was a 3-sport athlete in high school, most interested in soccer. My sophomore year, I had a serious injury and found physical therapy. I returned to soccer my junior year, had the same injury and lost all college recruiting. I thought to myself “I was diligent with PT, why did this happen again?” It was then that I found my passion of changing the norm of returning to sport/life training within PT to make sure my journey as a patient is not experienced by my own patients.

What is the biggest challenge involved in being a PT?

I think the main challenge within PT is that we live in a world of instant gratification but the PT world is forced to live in delayed gratification. In the sense that Amazon can deliver a TV to your doorstep in 2 days (sometimes same day!) and you’re watching the Timbers that day, but it takes 4-6 weeks for injuries to heal, and then longer to return to your sport/activity of choice! You can’t change how the body heals but you can change the perception of that recovery process, which makes PT such a rewarding job.

How do you like to stay active?

I am quietly very competitive, so my activity tends to revolve around sports (I am actively seeking pick-up soccer/baseball/basketball/football/ultimate games!) However, I have picked up yoga which I love doing with my wife, Lindsay. We walk our pup Bennett twice daily and we are excited to explore the beautiful hiking in the PNW. And soon enough, I’ll get back into the gym.

What’s your favorite song to get you motivated?

I am always influenced by emotional instrumentals, similar to those in movies. “The Mighty Rio Grande” by This Will Destroy You always kicks me into gear.

What surprised you the most about the physical therapy profession?

How unknown we are to most people. The amount of times I’ve heard, “I wish I found you years ago,” breaks my heart.

Are you currently pursuing any further education/certifications?

I just sat for the Orthopedic Specialist (OCS) Exam in March 2018. I am scheduled to sit for the CSCS exam this Summer. I am fascinated by the developmental work of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), the role of breathing in Postural Restoration (PRI), and the role of connective tissue chains in Structural Integration (ATSI) of which I plan to take some courses of each this coming year.

What do you wish everyone knew about PT?

That PT is a process and that process does not end when pain is no longer there. Pain is a gift that alerts you when something is wrong, but just because you turn off the alarm doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still take care of the reason why it went off. I’d also like to add that PT is more than stretching. I like to say, stretching gets you out of pain, strengthening keeps the pain away.

What’s your go-to breakfast?

You can’t go wrong with eggs, bacon and hash browns!

What is the most important personality trait that a PT must have?

Empathy, active listening, and expert questioning. You said three traits right? 🙂 But really, we collaborate with genuine people who more often than not have suffered for years, seen way too many doctors and know more about medicine than they ever should. It requires empathetic compassion to connect, the ability to hear the subtle cues of motivational factors to understand, and the ability to have laser questioning to find the root issue. “A smart person gives smart answers, a genius asks great questions.”

What do you do to de-stress and unwind?

Playing and watching soccer, walking with Lindsay and Bennett, building furniture and listening to music are typical de-stressors for me.

Finish this sentence: On Saturday mornings, you can usually find me…”

Half asleep at 4:30am watching Liverpool games and then sitting with Lindsay on the porch drinking coffee.

What is the best piece of wellness advice you’ve ever received?

The under-appreciated side of wellness is the mental. Wellness needs to be fun and enjoyable because it is lifelong, and no person has enough motivation to constantly do something they don’t enjoy. Exercise, prayer, reading, writing, cooking are all forms of wellness if it improves your perspective on life.

Learn more about Kurt and the other PTs at Therapydia Lake Oswego here

3 Simple Exercises to Improve Your Posture


Proper posture means that you’re using the most efficient amount of energy to keep your joints aligned. When aligned, your heels, knees, pelvis and neck are all stacked on top of each other and your body moves much more effectively, reducing the probability of injury. Poor posture can lead to issues like TMD, neck pain, headaches and even shoulder pain. Remember every time your mom told you to “stand up straight”? She had a good reason for doing so. Poor posture in any position, even when lying down, takes its toll on the body.

Give yourself a posture check with these exercises to ensure that your poor posture isn’t negatively affecting your body’s function in the long-term.

Bilateral Shoulder External Rotation


• Start by wrapping a resistance band around your hands.
• Position your arms at your sides with your elbows bent 90 degrees and your hands about shoulder width apart.
• Pull the resistance band apart by squeezing your shoulder blades together and rotating your shoulders.
• Pull apart as far as you can, keeping the 90 degree bend in the elbow and pain-free.
• Keep good neck posture with the back of your neck long and your chin dropped slightly (not poking forward).
• Hold for 5-10 seconds and repeat 10 times for 1-2 sets.

Wall Field Goal Post


• Positioned against a wall in a mini squat position, or seated with good posture, start with your hands together in front.
• Raise your hands up over your head and keep them together and then out into a position like a football field goal post.
• As you move your hands out, feel the stretch in the front of your chest and squeeze the shoulder blades down and back.
• Try not to arch your upper back and keep a good neck posture (chin slightly dropped, back of your neck long).
• Hold for 10-30 seconds in the field goal position.

Seated Head Nod-Chin Drop


• Find a good sitting or standing position: If sitting, put your weight on your sit bones or just in front with your ribs stacked over your pelvis, roll your shoulders up and then down back, “setting” them.
• Drop your chin slightly while making the back of the neck long (imagine a string pulling up from the crown of your head). This is a small gentle motion (not forceful).

If you have any questions or any pain with these exercises, please consult a Therapydia physical therapist. We can tailor an exercise program based on your unique body and individual goals.

Is Your Shoulder Mobility Limiting Your Climbing?


An activity like rock climbing is a great way to shake up your normal exercise routine, not to mention it’s a thrilling and affordable full-body workout that can improve your overall strength, coordination and endurance. Whether you’re a seasoned climber or brand new to the sport, climbing is an intense and dynamic activity that requires proper shoulder mobility for maximum efficiency. The movements involved in rock climbing place a great deal of stress on the shoulders, among other areas, and can frequently cause overuse injuries and muscle imbalances if the surrounding muscles are not strong enough. These issues may result in limited range of motion, stiffness and pain around the upper extremities. As physical therapists, we work to educate our patients on how they can decrease their risk of injury while also improving efficiency. So what exactly do we mean when we say “shoulder mobility”?

The three main components for shoulder mobility include:

• The Glenohumeral Joint (ball-in-socket shoulder joint)
• The Scapula (shoulder blade)
• The Thoracic spine (upper back)


The Glenohumeral Joint

The glenohumeral joint (GHJ) is a ball-in-socket that allows your shoulder to move in all directions. If you’re a frequent climber, the muscles on the front of your body may become tight, pulling your shoulders forward and rotating them inward. As a result, the muscles on your back and your shoulder blades become weakened. It’s important to make sure that you have a good balance between muscle strengthening and stretching to improve your shoulder mobility.

The Scapula

When you raise your arm overhead, your shoulder blade—aka the scapula—should rotate upwards in relation to the shoulder joint. This movement is important for full shoulder range of motion. Muscles that assist with upward rotation are Serratus Anterior, Middle Trapezius and Lower Trapezius. If these muscles are weak and have difficulty coordinating together, your shoulder joint and shoulder blades can’t work together effectively.


The Thoracic Spine

Your upper back has a natural curve, but the rounding is often accentuated with poor posture due to the movements involved in climbing pulling muscles and joints forward. Obviously this hunched position is not ideal when it comes to posture and can unfortunately lead to muscle imbalances due to decreased thoracic extension. Thoracic mobility into extension is a key component for shoulder elevation.

So, what now?

To improve your climbing efficiency and to ensure that you’re not putting yourself at risk for injury, talk to a physical therapist today. They’ll address your strengths and limitations while providing hands-on treatment to improve glenohumeral, thoracic and scapular mobility, along with any other trouble areas. There are a lot of exercises out there that can help to improve your performance and ensure that you’re not at risk of injury; your PT can design a custom exercise program unique to you.