The perfect, all around, ready for anything warm up is tough to achieve. Although there is no one-size-fits-all warm up, there are several effective movements to help prepare your body for physical activity. We just need to understand some basic principles first.
Before attacking any activity that is going to put extra demand on your body, above normal daily use, you should appropriately prepare your muscles and joints for the awesome movements that they are about to perform. This means hip mobility before squats, t-spine rotations before golf, shoulder swings and circles before shoveling snow. The level of attention you decide to pay to a movement, position, muscle group, or joint is going to depend on two things:
- 1. What movement/activity you are trying to prepare for? and
2. How does your body feel in response to your warm up?
If your quads are still tight after completing a warm up, then listen to them and focus more attention there. If your traps are bound up and you’re going to deadlift (i.e. help a friend move) then grab a lacrosse ball, rubber athletic band, foam roller, or PVC and do some more work! The number one principle we need to understand as bodies that move, is that we MUST listen to our bodies. Even the best of intentions can be ruined by not listening.
Understanding the two aforementioned factors, here are some tips for an all-around, effective warm up.
- • Perform movements that open the body to being active and mobile, such as – dynamic/active stretching, light conditioning, plyometrics and/or, resistance band work.
- • Avoid static stretching and yoga-like “hold” stretches – despite all that P.E. class taught us, these are best utilized during a cooldown, NOT for a warm up. Think about this: If we’re about to go running and we want to prepare for that movement, does it make more sense to do toe-touch holds or high knees? High knees.
- • Focus on the major joints first and move to your smaller ones – Hips, Spine, Shoulders, Neck, Ankles, Wrists.
- • Take your time, don’t rush the process – a good warm up should take between 5 and 15 minutes depending on how you feel and the level of physical activity you have planned for your workout. In life, to succeed we need to be prepared; a workout is no different.
- • Activate your core (!!!) – plank, sit-ups, bear crawls, you pick! This will make it easier to recruit your core when needed. Don’t underestimate how much your core should be involved on EVERY movement. Deadlift – engage your core. Pull-Up – engage your core. Single-arm overhead reaches with no weight? Engage your core.
The Ultimate Warmup
With all this in mind, here’s an example of a warm up that I recommend to prep the body for whatever challenges the day has in store. Practice good form, be deliberate with your movements and remember warming up is not a competition. You can do this as your AM wake up, pre-workout, mid-workout, or when you’re restless on the couch. Just get moving!
100 yards/2 min – Light Jog
20 yards/30 Sec – Chicken Walk
20 yards/30 Sec – Forward Lunge w/ rotation
20 yards/30 Sec – Cradle Walk w/ rotation
20 yards/30 Sec – Spiderman w/ dip & rotation
20 yards/30 Sec – 3 Way shoulder swings (hor., vert., circles)
20 yards/30 Sec – Carioca
20 yards/30 Sec – High Knee Power Skips
3x 30 sec – Plank/3x 15 Sit-ups
Bam! Under 10 minutes and you’re ready to kill it. Go Conquer. #HTD.
Teddy Cox is a member of the Health Warrior Sales Team based in New England. He is also a personal trainer (ACE – PT|FNT). You can reach Teddy at HTDFit@gmail.com or 508.446.6341.