Understanding the warm-up
To truly learn how to build a warm-up for a workout you first have to understand the goal of the warm-up! A few things we are looking to accomplish by properly warming up are;
- Increase body temperature: Warm muscles are better at contracting and relaxing which is extremely beneficial to our performance in a workout and also injury prevention.
- Increase range of motion: As we warm up and take our joints through full range of motion it’ll become easier to get in that deep squat during the workout.
- Muscle priming/proper mechanics: You’ve biked for 10mins, muscles are warm, time to hit some heavy back squat right?? Well…not so fast. There are huge benefits to doing some movement specific prep to get the most out of that squat.
Learning how to create a warm-up becomes easy now that we know the goal and understand why.
Start by getting sweaty. I prefer jumping on a bike or rower as its easy on my joints especially when its cold out! Slowly build speed and intensity, once you feel sweaty, blood vessels dilated, and heart pumping, go ahead and move on.
Full Range of Motion
Air squats, kipping swings, good mornings, and any dynamic stretching is ideal here. We are prepping our joints/tendons for full range of motions. Also, we are prepping our muscles by relaxing and contracting. Avoiding static stretches during our warm-up because it can prep the muscle to relax but not contract which can lead to strength loss and sometimes increased chance of injury.
We are warm and ready to get after some specific skills/muscle priming to increase our workout potential! If today calls for heavy back squats, I’m working on glute engagement exercises. Such as; banded walks, glute bridges, or lunges. Since I’m quad dominant I have a tough time using my posterior chain while doing squats. By prepping/priming these muscles I increase the chances of actually using them during my lift. This has dramatically increased my weight in back squats!
Other examples of specific warm-ups would be the Burgener Warm-Up. Here we have a drill used to build muscle memory and proper mechanics before we move to a heavy bar.
At Revelry CrossFit we like to have fun and get creative with our warm-ups! Sometimes, more than anything, we need to get our mind off of work or something stressful and on the workout. Tag, jumping over your partner, and burpees to the song Thunderstruck (look it up, it’s awesome) are just a couple of ideas. Get creative, have fun, get warm, then jump into the skills and specific portion of the warm-up.
I hope this helps you think about your next workout and how you can increase performance by stepping up that warm-up game.