I know many people who love working out and training but skimp out on the quality and duration of their warm-ups and it boggles my mind. Warming up not only helps in preventing injury but aids in PERFORMANCE. That is proven science that I will just spend a little bit of time on but the real reason of this post is insight into how I warm-up for every training session. And yes, I am implying this is how you should also warm-up for every training session.
Every single warm-up, regardless of my training session includes all of the following:
Cardio. Usually around 3-7 minutes with the hopes of getting the whole body working to increase muscular blood flow and raise core temperature. I like jump rope, assault bike, C2 rower, running (if you’re good at it), or any other whole body cardio you enjoy. I like to make sure I have a bit of sweat going at this point.
Mobility Circuit. I string together a few dynamic movements to help get the proper mobility into my joints. Exercises I like here are inchworms, windmills, deep squats, long lunges, scapular glides, etc. All things that work my joints through a full range of motion and offer a bit of a stretch at the end range of motion. Individual exercises are performed slow but the circuit is moved through quickly. Usually 1 or 2 rounds. I like to have a good sweat going after finishing this.
“Muscle Activation” Circuit. This is a bit of a misnomer, our muscles are almost always “active.” The purpose of this is to get the muscles to start producing more force than usual prior to being loaded externally. Exercises here include reverse lunges, straight arm band pull-downs, band pull aparts, ‘pec squeeze’ push-ups, hanging leg raises, single leg squats to a box, etc. Just 1 or 2 rounds here.
Power Circuit. Now that I am sufficiently warm, muscles are producing force and joints are mobile I can start to worry about power production and explosiveness. Now I want to recruit more muscle fibers and make them produce force rapidly. Exercises I will use here could be ball slams, kettlebell swings, box jumps, lateral hops, single leg bounds, plyo push-ups, etc. Here I will take longer rests between exercises to allow me to really explode during each rep for about 2 or 3 rounds.
Specific Movement Prep. Fine, it’s almost time to workout. Now I prep my body for whatever main focus or main lift is coming up in my workout. For olympic or power lifts I will do some barbell complexes, empty bar sets, light sets, and specific movements to prep for those lifts. Other examples could include pose running drills for running or conditioning workouts or agility drills for sports conditioning.
All in and attacked with a little bit of hustle in about 15-20 minutes you’re ready to train. You will have warmer blood circulating through your veins, have properly activated motor units and muscle fibers to work hard and fast, decreased your risk of injury, improved your potential for performance, more blood flow to working muscles (meaning more O2 and substrate), and faster muscle contraction to name a few.
Now, get moving.