Remember in high school when you would sit on the gym floor organized into lines of ten, and the gym coach would walk by the rows and take the role? I remember like it was yesterday! Gym was my favorite class (makes a lot of sense, right?!?!). After that, they would have you stand up, do 10-20 jumping jacks followed by some useless toe touch hamstring stretches. This was just enough time for them to get the cage of balls to roll out and unleash the craziness of gym class. Man, I miss those days!
Fast forward down the road post high school, and you probably took the same approach to your workout warm-ups, thinking it was doing you good. Shucks, you may have even done some extra stretching (3 whole minutes) before working out to make sure you were ready.
I hate to break it to you, but that’s not a warm-up. At least not one that is going to be beneficial.
Finally, warming-up up and mobilizing help prime the range of motion used in the workout. This helps reduce strain on the muscles and connective tissues and is how it helps reduce injury. But did you know that when you’re warming up, you are helping to prime the movement patterns and increase your performance? That’s right! When you go through the movements as part of your specific warm-up, you are reminding yourself of the movement patterns. The brain is subconsciously rolling through all the experience you have with that movement and starts to look for the optimal movement patterns successful in the past. Pretty amazing how the connection between the brain and the body works. And oh… if you want to optimize that connection, you should consider regular chiropractic adjustments to keep the superhighway of the nervous system, the spine, in proper alignment.
As a review, you will want to properly warm-up and mobilize to get the most out of your workouts. Now let’s get into the way you carry it out!
Every time you warm-up it should be specific to the workout you plan to perform. This means that how you warm-up for a longer cardio-based workout is different than how you should warm-up for a heavy deadlift day. The for steps to optimizing your warm-up are:
General Warm-up – Mobilization – Movement Specific Warm-Up – Performance Priming