As most of you have probably noticed, we tend to take our time leading you through the daily warm up. Although we split the warm up into 3 sections, we hammer the important things in a very efficient manner to get the body prepped and primed to perform at its best. A lot of times you may wonder, “Why do we warm-up for so long?” Well, I want to shed some light on what we do in our warm ups, why we do them the way we do and how they can help in making your workouts as efficient and effective as possible.
We generally split the warm up into 3 phases; general, dynamic and specific. Here is a brief break down of each:
- General – This is just movement. Most of you immediately hit the Crossover Symmetry protocol and jump on the foam roller. The best time to do soft tissue work such as foam rolling is prior to a workout, by doing this ahead of time you will make the dynamic phase of your warm up that much more effective. Some may hop on a bike, go for a jog or play a few games of knockout. During this time you are elevating the heart rate, raising the core temperature and preparing the body for exercise. If it is cold outside we may try to “intensify” the general warm-up as quickly as possible, knowing the temperature will sometimes slow this process. We then roll into our joint mobility, which begins with isolating the movement of single body parts. Here is where you would see things like wrist circles, arm circles, hip circles, squat holds, ankle circles, leg swings etc.
- Dynamic – Here, we begin moving through more multi joint drills. This is when you will see something like dynamic lengths or dynamic ROM (range of motion). Things like a walking lunge with a knee hug to the chest along with taking the forearm to the floor. Other things you may see is the agility ladder and agility drills or a track warm up with things such as high knees, butt kickers, karaoke etc. We are increasing joint movement while also keeping the body temperature, the sweat and the breathing slightly elevated. Because most people work desk jobs, these movements focus on tight ankles, hips, shoulders and the thoracic (mid-upper back) spine. These focal areas tend to get very tight due to the compromised positions of a 9am-5pm (i.e sitting, standing and working in cruddy positions).
*Note – We recommend hammering these sticky spots as often as possible. If you know you have issues in these areas, DO THEM OFTEN. If you know your ankles are tight and we are squatting, then the 5 minutes before class should be spent doing some ankle mobility. If your overhead position sucks, you should be working through the thoracic spine and shoulders to create a better position ahead of time. Don’t wait for the coach to lead you through these, if you know you have these issues, take the initiative to fix them on your own, even if it means asking one of us for an appropriate mobility protocol.*
- Specific – Our specific phase of the warm up is where you would see things that would prime the pump for what lies ahead in the strength or conditioning portion of the day. Here is where you would see banded walks, glute activation, single leg/single arm prep work, or if the day calls for Olympic work, then some barbell progressions. If conditioning is the focus then maybe we’ll be practicing the specific movements and transitions to prime the body for what you will feel throughout the workout. This is the final phase of the warm up and at this point, you should feel ready to move with power and intensity and perform at your best.
Now that we have covered the 3 phases of the warm up, one thing to be mindful of as you go through it is DON’T SANDBAG THE WARM UP! If you half-ass the warm-up, you’re only cheating yourself. As you progress through the warm up, you should be picking up speed, mobility and range of motion to get the most out of the movements. We choose our warm ups specifically to be quick and effective, but it takes a little push on your end to get the body going!*Note - As we approach the winter months it is critical that we DRESS IN LAYERS! I cannot stress this enough. I realize you feel tough walking into the gym in 40-degree weather wearing your shorts and t-shirt, but you really just look silly and cold. Just as your common sense may tell you, it takes a lot longer to warm up in the cold, especially if you aren’t dressed properly for it. Start with multiple layers and shed AT THE END of the warm-up. The more the merrier in the beginning, you can always remove clothing when needed. We are looking to have a decent sweat going when we finish the warm up and head into the strength/workout for the day.In all, we realize that warming up is NOT the most glamorous part about coming to the gym. The warm up is absolutely crucial in order to perform at our best, which means setting ourselves up for new 1 rep maxes and increased work capacity. You will never perform to your maximum potential if you choose to neglect a good warm up. Take pride in doing the small things, like warming up effectively, I guarantee it will enhance your performance in the gym.