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Warming Up: Why It’s Important & How To Do It

Do you want to prevent injuries? Perform better? Warm up!

Benefits:

The appropriate warm up enables individuals to utilize their full functional potential. This means peak work capacity, increased coordination/neuromuscular control, and numerous other benefits…

  • Allows muscles to handle large loads without causing injury
  • Tissue warming increases mobility and allows muscles to contract harder and faster than if not warm. It also allows tissues to maintain tension for longer periods of time and maximizes their capacity to do work overall
  • Psychologically prepares an individual for upcoming tasks and primes the Central
  • Nervous System to coordinate movement patterns using proper activation sequences
  • Enables tasks/movements to be performed in less time

Certain factors should be remembered when developing an individual’s warmup sequence:

  • Specificity of warmups is just as important as specificity in training
  • If the body is cold, muscular contraction time is longer, and strength production is lower
  • Underlying Goal: To optimize the functional ability of the organism in general and prepare it’s CNS using appropriate movements that will allow for an optimal training stimulus.

How to warm up:

  1. Evaluate/address tissue quality, mobility, and in general, the functional state of the body (<15 minutes total)
    A. What are your imbalances or injuries? What feels tight or off? Are you hydrated? How do you feel?
    i. Taking the answers to these questions into account, foam roll/lax ball/etc. (SMR techniques) as needed (<10 minutes)
    ii. Following SMR, run through joint mobility sequence and add any additional mobility drills/dynamic stretches as needed (<5 minutes),

Foam rolling 1

 

2. Choose an exercise or series of exercises that are similar in nature to those of the coming workout. To heat the body and excite the CNS, the exercises should be performed at a moderate to high intensity briefly (1-5 minutes total work)

 

3. Begin training session with lighter loads and a focus on activation to ensure proper motor patterns. Progress towards the working loads and get after it!

 

Example warmup sequence—lower body strength day: 

1. Tissue quality/preparedness
A. Foam Roll: Calves, Quads, Glutes, Adductors
Lax Ball: TFL
B. General Joint Mobility Warmup (and client specific mobility drills)
i. Cossack Squat
ii. “Founder” Iso Hold
iii. Dynamic Couch Stretch

2. Excitation phase/High-intensity work
A. Squat Jump 4×10
B. RKC Plank 3x15sec ea
C. KB Swing 4×12

3. Train

 

Get more out of each training session, have fewer injuries, and move better—in less than 20 minutes.

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