WARM UP OR DIE
Okay, well, not really.
You won’t die if you skip the warm up, but your results will.
And your goals will.
And your joints and muscles and performance will.
And if you skip it long enough, you’ll no longer be able to work out.
Wouldn’t that suck?
So please don’t skip it.
And here are 3 ways on how to do it correctly:
1. HONOR YOUR JOINTS
The joints in our body alternate functions. The two functions are Mobility and Stability. Mobility means to produce a desired movement while stability means to resist an undesired movement.
Each joint then serves a purpose. When a joint (such as the ankle) cannot perform it’s purpose (mobility), it gets passed off to the nearest joint(s) (in this case, the knee).
When joints are forced to take over functions that they are not meant for, injuries occur. So take someone with stiff ankles. When they squat, their knees are taking over more of the movement. With time, this will cause wear and tear on the knee and most likely an injury.
So what should we stretch/mobilize to prevent this?
==> The joints meant for mobility.
They are primarily:
- thoracic spine (ie upper back)
2 other critical areas that we have to activate (or wake up) are the glutes and the scapulae. When we “turn on” the glutes they help save the lower back and when we do scapulae work, they in turn become more stable, which then allows the shoulder to do its job (move through full range of motion).
Here is a youtube playlist to help with all of this.
2. GET THE BLOOD MOVING
Increasing blood flow to our muscles is actually where the term “warming up” came from. You can do this by doing any of the following aerobic activity: walking, jogging, jump rope, jumping jacks, etc.
You can foam roll.
A foam roller is a simple bar of elastic foam.
When the body lies on it, it pushes against the body and provides resistance. When the user rolls up and down on the foam roller, they experience a kind of pressure-facilitated massage. When the pressure is applied, it works to temporarily push blood through the various avenues of the body.
3. PRIME THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
If we are planning to do a high-intensity workout or want to set a personal best, our results lie in our ability to “get up“. This “getting up” or ability to get excited leads the way for how fast and strong we will be in our workout.
Contrary to popular belief, becoming strong and resilient to fatigue isn’t a muscular thing; it’s a neurological one.
That is, it’s in our brains.
So how do we bring our brain up to speed for a workout?
- Drink coffee
- Turn on exciting music (dubstep anyone?)
- Start your sessions heavy
This last one is critical. Even if we are planning a high-rep bodybuilding type workout, we want to start our workout lifting heavy singles and greasing the proper movement patterns.
When it comes down to it, we can only do 1 rep at a time. If we can make that 1 rep better, then that whole 20 rep set is going to improve.
Note: You do not have to lift external weight to achieve this. Complex gymnastic moves such as hand stands and static frogs work just as well. Resistance is Resistance.
- De-stiff your joints
- Feel the pain and get the blood flowing
- Practice before you go “bawlz out“
It should not take longer than 15 – 20 minutes and the workout itself should be no more than 40 (on average).
In the end, failure to address the warmup will cause just that: FAILURE.
Skip at your own demise.