Solid Warm-Up = Solid Workout
Warm-ups are an essential part of a proper training program. Without a solid warm-up, you may put yourself at risk for injury, inefficiency in movements, and decrease your power output. Now, a warm-up does not need to take an hour to complete, focus on quality movements that will prepare your body in a short amount of time - you don't want to exhaust yourself before you even start your workout, do you?
As I've mentioned before, always focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY. Know what you're doing in your training session and pick warm-up movements/ exercises that will complement that and prepare your body in the correct way.
Here are some things to keep in mind about warm-ups ...
Reasons to Warm-Up
(1) Decrease Risk of Injury
Preparing yourself for a training session will ensure your body is "awake" and ready to take on the loads, intensity and stimulus that it will be exposed to - this will help decrease the chances of making a sudden explosive movement to an ill-prepared muscle resulting in a strain.
(2) Preparing Body for Movement
Increase blood flow, activate muscles to be used in training, and increase in body temperature will help you get the most out of your training session.
(3) Nutrients to the Body
As your body increasing in temperature (you start to sweat and your heart starts pumping a bit), your blood starts carrying nutrients and oxygen to your muscles which will help you move better, but also assist with your body's recovery process!
How to Construct a Proper Warm-Up
Okay, so you get the point that it's important to warm-up before a training session, but now you should understand how to construct a proper warm-up to help you get the most out of your workout. There are so many different ways to warm-up the body, so you have to figure out what works best for you and what prepares your body best for movement.
Here are some example of things I use - feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need specific explanations!
(1) Dynamic Movement (Low Intensity)
- Easy Skip with Arm Swings
- Lateral Skip
- Lateral Shuffle
- High Knees
(2) Dynamic Stretches
- Leg Cradle
- Quad Stretch
- Bowling Hamstring Stretch
- Forward Lunge with Overhead Reach
- Lateral Lunges
- Toe Walks
- Knee Hugs
(3) Dynamic Movement (Increased Intensity)
- Lateral Shuffle
- High Knees
- Carioca (knee drive)
- Tapioca (no knee drive)
- Progressive Sprints
(4) Muscle Activations
Note: These are in no particular order, just some common exercises I utilize depending on the focus of the training session
- Glute Bridge (double/single)
- Iron Crosses
- Hip Crossovers
- Top Leg Lifts (side-lying)
- T-Spine Rotation
- Bird Dog
- Scapular Push-ups
- Squat to Overhead Reach
- Hip Circles (forwards/backwards)
- Fire Hydrants
- Diagonal Arm Lifts
- Y's, T's, W's, I's
Sometimes you have to play around with your warm-ups, try different things and see what makes you (or your athletes) feel best. As long as you're taking the time to properly prepare your body, you're on the right track!
If you want to see a basic warm-up I've done with athletes - check out a video I did for a coaching evaluation class this past year in grad school.
What's your favourite warm-up exercise? Comment below!