Warm Ups

20 Jun

Too many people walk into the gym and want to immediately start cranking their workout without any warm up or preparation. This is a recipe for disaster. Among other things, an effective warm up will reduce your risk of injury, increase heart rate and muscle temperature, and improve the quality of your workout.

So what is an effective warm up? It sure as hell isn’t sitting on a stationary bike for 5 minutes before jumping into the squat rack. A quality warm up should start with foam rolling. If you or your gym doesn’t have a foam roller, a hard medicine ball works just as well. Spend about 20-30 seconds on all major muscle groups (upper & lower back, glutes, IT band, quads, calves). For a great video that explains how to do it, check out Eric Cressey here: 

Now that you’ve rolled out it’s time for some stretching. A lot of people have started to hate on static stretching over the past few years – and a lot of people also now have muscles so tight that they can’t perform basic movement patterns correctly. Light static stretching before a workout is not “bad”. It will loosen up tight muscles, increase your range of motion, and allow you to perform exercises more safely and with better form. Some of the most common tight spots include hamstrings, glues, and hip flexors so spend some time loosening these areas up in your warm up. Joe D gives a very good explanation of static stretching and a lower body routine in this article: http://www.defrancostraining.com/ask-joe-test/44-flexibilitymobility.html

The last phase of your warm up should include a series of dynamic movements to get your heart rate up and prime your CNS for your workout. Think of things like bands, jumps, running drills, etc. I’m not going to go into great detail here because there are literally enough dynamic drills to fill a book. In fact, Jim Smith and Joe DeFranco did exactly that with their Amped warm up DVD and manual. It’s a simple, in-depth, easy to understand resource that I use all the time. You can check it out  more here:

Your total warm up routine should not take you more than 15 minutes from start to finish and by the end of it you should be sweating and out of breath. Try it out for yourselves and let us know how it goes!

Train hard, train smart.




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