The Warmup, Just Do It!!!!
First off, I’d like to announce that after talking with Pete, I’ll be switching to a bi-weekly blog schedule as well. We will stagger our off-weeks to still allow for one blog per week between the two of us.
Today, I’m going to build on some ideas from a previous blog that I published a few weeks ago, titled “Self-Maintenance for Your Body”. I think that it touched base on a lot of different ideas for self-care, but it didn’t address the warm-up as much as it probably should have.
Since I spend 10-12 hours per day at the gym, I make a lot of observations regarding workout routines. In my experience over the last 6 years of working at these facilities, I’ve noticed a big common trend. Nobody really spends much time giving the warmup any love. I see people enter the facility and jump straight on a bench or a machine without giving ANY thought to mobility, stretching or warming up the muscles that they’re about to work on for the next hour or two. While this may seem alright for many, they don’t realize the disservice they are doing to their bodies and their recovery efforts!
Properly warming up has many benefits with the most important being the fact that you’ll perform your resistance training workout at a higher level with less risk of a progress inhibiting injury!
How I do things
I will generally start my warmup with a brisk walk on a treadmill or on the elliptical. I avoid warming up on an exercise bike because most of my tightness issues are in my hip flexors and I’ve found that sitting on a bike already puts them in a position where they won’t loosen up. I’ll go for about 5-10 minutes. The purpose of this general warmup is to raise the core body temperature, elevate my heart rate, get the perspiration flowing and, most importantly, warm my muscles and the fluid in my joints to enable better movement.
To follow up the general treadmill stuff, I’ll go into a bit more specific work on the more sore areas on my body. For me, it’s usually my low/mid back, piriformis/glutes, and my hip flexors. Most people who have long commutes to work or have jobs that involve sitting at a desk will have similar problem areas. I’ll focus on foam/lacrosse ball rolling to beat up some tight spots in my muscles, as well as some mild stretching that doesn’t exceed my normal range of motion. I talked about it a bit before, but Joe DeFranco’s Agile 8/Limber 11 has been a staple in my life for a few years now. Here is the link to this game-changing routine:
After I perform mobility work, I perform a few easier warmup sets of the specific exercise that I’m getting ready to work on. 8-10 non-challenging reps is a good benchmark for some lighter warmup sets just to get the body into the range of motion. Increase the weight through 2-3 of these warmup sets. After this, I’m confident going into my resistance training workout that I’m warmed up and at less of a risk for injury.
While in college, I put warmups on the back burner. I’ll admit that I was your typical gym bro back then. It wasn’t until I entered this field, began powerlifting, and sustained some very serious injuries that I decided to take better care of myself. I know that many of you don’t place much importance on the warmup, but I assure you that you’ll perform better, feel better, and recover faster if you place more emphasis on taking care of what hurts before it becomes a bigger issue! If you have any questions regarding the Limber 11 or need to know more about how to use the roller, feel free to ask!
Yours in Health,