You just walked into the gym, what are you going to do first? Whoa!! Not so fast! Before you go over and start lifting, you may want to do a little warm-up first. If your idea of a warm-up is stretching a little bit of this and foam rolling a little bit of that, you’re likely doing it wrong. You’re missing out on a whole big world of what your warm-up could be.
You’re also putting your body at an unnecessary risk by not doing any mobilizations, movements or activations before your training sessions. Your warm-up doesn’t have to be one of these elaborate 15-20 minute processes in order to be effective. Here is a 5 minutes warm up video that you can follow.
Your warmup needs to be effective at getting the job done. And that job is working on range of motion, muscle activation neural stimulation, getting the blood circulating, and well, warming up the body in terms of body temperature.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Warmup transitions us from the immobility of work
During the course of a day, most people are immobile, sitting at desks, creating muscles that are weak or inactive or both. They’re creating a body that slowly becoming inefficient at movement. They have poor glute activation which will leave them with weak glutes, poor thoracic spine mobility, weak hips, and a weak core and likely tight hamstrings.
What your warm-up should do is help alleviate those issues, by bringing range of motion to joints and activation to muscles where necessary. The warmup also stimulates the body to increase performance during the workout. If you are a beginner, I recommend trying WatchFit’s 7 day workout plan, the “Kick Start 1000”.
Creating a warm-up routine
Pick your warm-up exercises carefully, so that they are relevant to the workout in front of you, but also address areas of weakness. Of course there are going to be general exercises that translate to any type of workout, but you also want to be specific. To learn new warmup exercises so you can customize your routine, here are 3 minutes warm up alternatives.
At AMP, our clients take the first few minutes of every training session to warm-up with these drills as they touch on everything we want to accomplish before their training session.
Crossfit warm-up routine
You will notice that there is a little bit of a flow to these exercises as you progress from one into the next. This is done purposefully to save time and keep you in a rhythm as you go through them.
We start with this exercise because it provides great activation for the core muscles, glutes & back extensors.
2. Reach roll lift
Proper shoulder mobility is important as it has great carryover into many lifts that you’ll see in your program from overhead squats to snatches. Without working on mobility, you may not be able to get your arms fully overhead without developing compensation patterns in other areas.
3. Leg rock
Just like with the shoulders, hip mobility is equally important as it allows you greater range of motion for your Olympic lifts, squats, & deadlifts. This drill works on creating mobility through the adductors, glutes & hamstrings.
4. Dead bug
Similar to the bird/dog we started with, dead bugs can help create stability through the deep core muscles. Essentially you are moving your limbs through a range of motion while keeping a neutral spine. How many exercises in your workout do you need to keep a neutral spine? All of them!
5. Glute bridges
Glute activation is at a premium when it comes to being able to competently perform any big lift during your workout. Especially since we live in a world where we sit on our butts a lot, they can have a tendency to not work to their full capacity. Bridges can help turn on your glutes before you get to your main workout.
6. Clock rotation
This is a great drill to work on thoracic mobility and rotation. As mentioned earlier, thoracic mobility is important for shoulder and back health.
7. Squat drill- This squat mobility drill works on just about everything. The main focus is getting into the bottom of the squat, then from there it incorporates thoracic extension and shoulder mobility. Basically an ‘all in one’ drill to finish off your warm-up.
That’s AMP’s warm-up in a nutshell. Sometimes we’ll add other drills that we think a specific client may need, or even throw in a few animal based movement drills for a more full body mobility drill.
Time for the workout right? Wrong!
It’s time to take some warm-up sets of whatever you main lift is going to be that day. You’re not going to walk up to a bar and deadlift 400lbs. You’re going to take sets to get up to that weight.
Mentally warming up
In addition to your warm-up preparing you physically for your training, it’s also a good time to prepare mentally. How many times have you walked into the gym with a million things running through your head? Take the time during your warm-up to clear your head and get ready for the task at hand. Concentrate on each movement and focus on your breathing.
Additionally, any nagging aches, pains or tight muscles can be addressed during your warm-up by using a foam roller, a lacrosse ball or even through barbell smashing. If you continue to ignore your warm-ups and activations/correctives within it, you’re exposing your body to injury as poor glute activation/strength could lead to back issues or T-spine mobility leading to shoulder complications.
Rushing or avoiding a warm-up can lead to leaving a ton of potential on the gym floor. Potential that could be helping you set PR’s. For more help on warming up, here are some great Pre and Post work out tools .