Attacking Your Warmup
Have you ever felt unprepared to take on the workout at hand? Have you ever felt like your warmup wasn’t good enough? Have you ever found yourself whining through the warmup? Or just going through the motions? Have you ever taken ownership of your warmup?
I’m here to tell you that you should be attacking your warmup with intensity from beginning to end. Why because the quality of your workout and in turn your results depends on it!
A solid warmup will always begin with what we like to call a bloodflow. This can be as simple as a 400m run (sob sob sob) or more complex with light to no load movements that mimic movements we may do that day. The goal of the bloodflow stage is to elevate the heart rate quickly. This elevated heart rate gets oxygen rich blood pumping to all parts of the body which enables a more effective mobilization phase, warm muscles lengthen more effectively than cold. It also prevents a huge lactic acid buildup later on when you dive into your metcon. With quality of movement taking precedence, secondly, speed should be added to your bloodflow
The mobilization period is important and will usually consist of active stretches and joint mobilizations. The active stretches, 2-3 seconds long, lengthen muscle tissue which will improve joint function and cause less muscle fatigue than static stretches with long duration holds. Joint mobilizations, stretches with a banded distraction or a “floss,” help to create space in joints and soften tissues attached immediately to the joint so that it can move more freely. Your mobilization phase should also be attacked, not with speed but with focus. We should be properly engaging our core while fighting to add additional range of motion with each repetition.
Once muscles and joints are primed, the next phase is activation. The goal here is to get the muscles considered the “prime movers” to become active. This is important in preventing improper muscle groups from dominating a movement. A classic example is the quad dominant squatter. The glutes tend to be inactive so the quads, a synergist group, designed to assist in the squat, become the prime mover. This can lead to a slough of other movement deficiencies as well as knee or hip injuries down the road. Activation can be as simple as a body weight movement that targets a muscle group or a banded movement that trains a neuromuscular response (mind to muscle) coaxing the right muscles to “fire.” Get your brain and your body on the same page!
The next phase is your focused warmup where we build movement patterns for the day. Regardless of skill level or experience, close attention should be given to this phase. Movements progress from simple to more complex and in turn the way your body moves should progress in the same manner. All movements CORE & POWER are highly beneficial to each person regardless of the track you are choosing for the day. CORE movements often set a great base for POWER movements and the POWER PVC warmups will increase your comfortability with new movements. Any carelessness during this phase will reinforce bad habits and lead to movement faults during your workout. I know none of you want anything screwing up your gainzzz. This phase also allows us to start loading, adding weight to movements slowly, so that we aren’t hit in the face with a heavy deadlift having not lifted a weight yet. Finally, since no one likes anyone messing with their WOD :), this is the very best opportunity of the day for a coach to help you make a movement correction for the day. The environment is slow paced, the music isn’t blaring, and you are not mentally zoned out in your WOD. This is a better time to make a focused intentional change. Attack your focused warmup.
Moral of today’s story. The WOD is only a piece of your exercise for the day. The warmup encompasses the majority of most classes and in all reality provides a large portion of the gains that are for the taking. An effective outlook on your warmup can turn the days when you walk in feeling your worst into your best WOD performances. It can change your 5:30am mood from poor to excellent in a matter of minutes. It can also be the one thing that prevents you from injuring yourself. So please, the next time Coach announces the warmup, get pumped, get ready to take it on, ATTACK it. All high speed GAINS TRAINS had a great warmup. Hop on it.