Less is More For Warm Up Exercises
I get that many people spend their days hunched over a computer or at least seated. I get that other people have their share of injuries that require just a little bit more to prep for heavy lifts. And I get that corrective and functional exercise is very en vogue as it allows you to play doctor with yourself and others in hopes of feeling better. But I DON’T get why so many people need a half hour for their warm ups.
Too Much Warm Up
If the interwebs serve you well, you will find that in order to begin most types of intense lifting or exercise one must proceed through a laundry list of mobilizations, activations, prehabs, rehabs, neurological stimulators, physical educators, natural movements, primal movements, and pagan rituals. If you fail to do so you may experience spontaneous combustion.
People these days spend too much time “warming up” with some amalgamation of the previously mentioned modalities. Spending time nursing their wounds to perfection while neglecting their real goals. There’s a time and a place for serious bouts of this type of work, but if you’re not in physical therapy you’re probably overdoing it.The average person should be able to warm up and prep for training in about 10 minutes. A bit longer if you spend days shackled to a chair or desk.
Warm Up Solution
To warm up quickly and well, pick a basic full body exercise like jumping jacks. Do those till you start to get a little sweaty and your heart rate picks up. Once you’re a little warm, foam roll if you need it. If something tight is restricting you in the upcoming activity, stretch it as well (yes, I said you can stretch in a warm up.)
Then quickly perform an activation drill for whatever you may need in the upcoming workout. Do another set of calisthenics to get warmer. Now begin your first exercise with warm up sets working toward your work sets. Bam! You’ve set a new warm up speed record, with less complication and stress than ever before. Here’s an example warm up to deadlift:
- Loose, hardstyle kettlebell swings, 1 minute
- Foam roll hips and glutes, front of thighs, outter thighs, groin and inner thighs, 3 minutes
- Lunge stretch for hip flexors, 1 minute
- Butt band activation drills, 1 minute
- Swings and BW king DLs, 2 minutes
- AND Deadlifting
That’s 8 minutes total to deadlifting! Swap out any calisthenics, stretches, or activation drills that work well for you, but the goal is to lift weights, not to warm up real good. So prioritize what you need in your warm ups and get to it.
Needing More Warm Up
If you feel you need longer to warm up, I suggest you add some additional calisthenics to make sure you are actually getting warm. Then, if you have to loosen or activate, get it done and move forward. There is no magic number of sets and reps to get excited, activated, and awesome. Fix a movement pattern or activation issue with whatever it takes and move forward to the work out.
More Than a Warm Up Issue
If you still can’t get loose or activated, upright or whatever, you probably have an issue that won’t just be corrected in a warm up. You likely need to practice that activity often throughout the day so you can develop the skills to be loose, active or whatever you may need. Next workout set a 10 minute timer, prioritize, and beat the clock with your warm up. You are not that broken!
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