All About Warm-ups

by | October 24, 2017 | Fitness

Do you consider your walk into the gym a warm-up?

How about your walk down the stairs to your home gym?

Do you hop on a bike for 3-5 mins to get prepped for exercise?

What do your warm-ups look like?

We know that warm-ups can not only prevent injury in your workouts but they can also increase your performance. You actually get better bang for your buck when you use a solid warm-up.

You can move faster, you are stronger and you can go through a larger range-of-motion. All things that contribute to a better workout, a better result and a better body!

Warming up not only physically gets you ready for the exercise you are about to do, it prepares your mind as well.

How many things run through your head in a day?

Hundreds?

Thousands?

Well, in order to get the most from your workout, you need to park that shit and get your mind right for exercise.

Your workouts should be about quality not quantity. You want to get in, get out and get on with your life. Therefore, in order to get the most out of your program, you need to be 100% focused and present.

Being focused and present is a skill. A skill that many people cannot just do. We need time to practice this and your workout is a great time to do it. The added benefit of being focused and present when you exercise is that this skill can transfer to spending time with your family and crushing your day-to-day tasks.

Here are 8 characteristics of a good warm-up:

A. Breathe

We just talked about bringing your mind into a state of exercise. This starts by disconnecting from the world you just left and entering into a world of squats, deadlifts, iron and sweat.

We love focused breathing exercises to do this.

Again, this is also a perfect opportunity to work on those skills of being focused and present.

Our breathing exercises involve balanced breathing.

Basically, we have a balanced amount of breathing between our chest and our belly.

The way we breathe affects the way we walk, sit and exercise. So, by putting some focused breathing into our warm-ups, we can start to optimize our posture and positions to safely exercise without destroying our bodies.

B. Turn on that butt, turn on that prime rib

There are very few times in a workout where we would say:

“Less glutes”

“Whoa, that is way too much tightness in your abs”

So, if your workouts require you to fire up your abs and butt muscles, we should look to address this in the warm-up.

Being able to fire up the abs keeps our backs safe and ensures that we are getting all the benefits we can from our exercise.

Firing up the glutes makes them look good, makes you move better and also helps keep your back safe.

C. Flow

We structure our warm-ups to be as efficient as possible. With that, we don’t like to waste time moving between exercises without some sort of flow.

We like to start on our backs on the ground, then onto our sides, then onto our hands and knees and then into a standing position, then to a wall if we need to.

That way we are simply moving from one movement to the next without wasting time bouncing around from one position to another. You start on your back for an exercise, then do a quarter turn onto your side, then do another quarter turn onto your hands and knees, then stand up. The whole thing flows beautifully and doesn’t waste a second!

E. Individuality

Everyone is different.

Some people need to work on mobility and others, more on stability.

Some need more time to warm-up, others need less.

Some people can handle more technical exercises, some people cannot.

Some folks have tight ankles, some have tight hips and some people just walk around like the tin man.

Everyone will be a little bit different and the warm-up should reflect your particular needs to get the most from your workout.

F. Progress from single-joint to multi-joint

We start with smaller exercises that work one joint, say a wall hip flexor mobs  and then move to a Spider-man lunge with hip lift in the warm-up. Both of the exercises work on mobility through the hip but we start with an isolated motion and then progress to one that is more integrated.

G. Increase body temp

Sauntering through your warm-up is just not going to cut it. Move at a decent clip as you go through your warm-up.

You should be slightly sweaty by the end of it.

One trick you can use is to layer up. Try starting your warm-up with a sweater and sweat pants on and once you are finished, layer down.

I. Preparation for the stuff you are about to do

Your warm-up ultimately should prepare you for the exercises you are doing in your workout.

If you are deadlifting in your workout and need to groove the pattern of firing your abs and not arching your back – do some deadbugs or even some slow hinges with ab contraction in your warm-up.

Are you lunging today and you need to work on the flexibility in the front of your hip? Work some hip flexor mobs into your warm-up.

J. Foam roll – before, after, another time…whatever.

We love foam rolling.

We do it every day.

I don’t think anything has had quite the impact on my performance and mobility.

It just doesn’t really matter when you do it.

You can do it before you warm-up.

You can do it after you work out.

You can so it as a stand-alone session.

Just make sure you do it!

You can find some great tools to foam roll with here, here, here and here.

Also, feel free to check out our foam rolling and lacrosse ball rolling series.

Show me what you got

Here is a sample warm-up we used with one of our clients who has the following:

Good technical proficiency with exercise

Good body awareness (former dancer)

A tendency to arch the back

Good flexibility other than some tightness in the front of the hips

A1. Fetal breathing x 8 breaths

A2. Hip flexor mobilization x 8/sd

A3. Deadbug x8/sd

A4. Half get-up x 3/sd

Repeat x 2-3

Wrap-up

A good warm-up sets you up for awesome workouts and over time, great results. Also, it gives your mind the opportunity to transition into exercise and even own the skills necessary to be more present with your family, to build better relationships and to be more productive in your day-to-day.

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