Warm Up and Cool Down Exercises

Warm Ups

Before any workout it is extremely important to warm up and get your muscles prepared to run. We do this through the active warm-ups listed below. The distance for each of these should be around 10-15 yards (approximately the length of one front yard). All of these exercises should be done prior to completing the day’s workout!! Click on the name of each exercise for a video demonstration. 

  1. High Knees: The knees should come up to parallel with the ground and the upper body stays in an upright position. Arms should have a 90 degree bend at the elbow and swing from your hip to eye level

  2. Butt Kickers/Heel ups: The heels should come high under the body before coming back to the ground. The knees still come up parallel to the ground.  Arms should have a 90 degree bend at the elbow and swing from your hip to eye level. 

  3. Cherry Pickers: The goal is jump off of one leg while driving the opposite knee. For example, when you jump off the right leg the left knee is brought parallel to the ground and the right arm should reach high in the air. Arms should swing in a more exaggerated motion as if you are attempting to reach for a low hanging cherry in a cherry tree.  

  4. Kickouts: This is a skip, but before the leg returns to the ground the toe is kicked out. The leg then remains slightly bent and the foot contacts the ground beneath the runner’s body.  Arms should have a 90 degree bend at the elbow and swing from your hip to eye level. 

  5. Quick Skip: This is a skip that focuses on quick knee drive and short foot-ground contact time. Begin by driving the right knee upward until parallel with the ground. The left foot takes one small skipping step as the right foot goes up.  Repeat the process with the left knee going up and the right taking a skip.

  6. Shuffle: Facing the right, bend knees and keep your chest up. Your glutes (butt) should stay underneath your shoulders. Keeping your hips facing the right (not forward) side-step for the 10-15 yards.  Face the same direction when returning to your starting point!

  7. Backwards walk: Walk backwards focusing on lifting your heel to your glutes (butt) and taking large exaggerated steps. 

  8. Carioca: Start with your feet a little wider than hip-distance apart, knees bent. Watch the video for the rest of the explanation --- it is a little difficult to describe without seeing a visual. 

Striders: 4 striders are completed before intervals and hill workouts and after every other workout. The distance is approximately 50 yards (approximately the length of 2.5 front yards).  For each strider, you will start from rest and increase your speed; reaching top speed at the midway point. Continue running at top speed for approximately 10 strides and then decrease speed until reaching the appropriate distance. 

Cool Down

After every workout it is essential that athletes take the time to help their bodies recover. The RMS cross country cool down consists of 3 components: Toe/Heel Walks, stretching, and abs. 

  1. Toe Heel Walks: Slowly walk on your toes 10 - 15 yards (same distance as warm-ups), then slowly walk on your heels for the same distance. Face your big toes toward each other (in) and walk on your toes (10-15 yards), then repeat walking on your heels. Face your big toes away from each other (out) and walk on your toes (10-15 yards), then repeat walking on your heels. Click on the title for a video demonstration. 

  1. Stretches: All stretches should be held for a minimum of 15 seconds. Click on the name of each stretch for a picture demonstration. 

  1. Right Arm Across then Left Arm Across

  2. Right Arm Behind then Left Arm Behind

  3. Right Leg Over Left Leg then Left Leg Over Right Leg

  4. Legs Together Toe Touch

  5. Straddle To The Right then Straddle To The Left

  6. Straddle To The Middle

  7. Flamingos (quad stretch)

  8. Butterflies

  9. Runners Stretch (Right Leg Out) then Runners Stretch (Left Leg Out)

  10. Touch your Toes (Both Legs Straight Out)

  11. Hollywoods (Right Knee Up) then Hollywoods (Left Knee Up)

  12. Lazy T’s (Left Leg Across) then Lazy T’s (Right Leg Across)


  1. Abs: Do 4-5 different types of abs listed below. Click on the name of each Ab exercise for a video explanation.