In Part one of Why Warm Up? The pre-workout warm up was introduced as the most overlooked and under-utilized part of most training programs. The warm up is the optimal time to prepare the body for physically challenging activities while decreasing the chances of an injury. If you haven’t already read it, have a look back here to cover the physiological benefits of a proper warm up. Part two of Why Warm Up? will break down the warm up into two components: The General Warm Up and Dynamic-Specific Warm Up.
The general warm up should consist of 5-10 minutes of low intensity activity for increasing the temperature of the body and increasing blood flow to working muscles. A few of my favorite activities for the general warm up phase include rowing, jogging, and jumping rope. I recommend dressing in layers to increase your body temperature faster and breaking a light sweat. Following 5-10 minutes of low intensity activity myofascial release techniques such as foam rolling should be used. Using a foam roller or “ the stick” works by applying to muscle knots, also known as trigger points. By diminishing or eliminating these muscle knots movement quality is improved and mobility is increased. In other words you will move better and feel better, sounds like a good plan right? Foam roll muscles that will be worked in the upcoming workout. If you find a tender area sit on it, (you’ll hate me now and thank me later) this will release the knots over time.
The dynamic-specific warm up incorporates more intense drills to prepare the body for intense exercise. Increasingly demanding and explosive movements should be performed to increase nervous system activation and muscle activation. Examples of dynamic movements include skips, high knees, butt kicks, carioca, and lunge variations. For the upper body using resistance to bands such as elitefts bands to loosen up is phenomenal. With the bands perform pull aparts, band rows, band shoulder dislocations, and band resisted pushups. Without the bands perform scarecrows and YTW’s to activate the stabilizer muscles around the shoulder girdle.
Taking the warm up seriously will take your workouts to the next level. Immediately you should move better while feeling more awake, focused, and energized at the beginning of your workout. Overtime the added work of a warm up will increase your fitness level while improving movement quality. Spend more time on trouble areas such as the shoulders and aim to break a light sweat before beginning your workout. Use these components and drills in your next workout to dominate whatever workout is ahead of you. Taking the short cut and cutting out your warm up is a surefire way to get injured and suffer from SWS (Shitty Workout Syndrome). Get to the gym 10-15 minutes earlier and get it done!
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Copyright 2012 by Eric R Bach. All rights reserved. This material may not be duplicated or distributed without written consent from the author