Exorcise the Demons: Quadruped Spinal CARs

The warm-up. Arguably the most contested part of the entire workout. Do you stretch? Should you stretch? What kind of stretching? Dynamic? Static? For how long?

At RD, we use a combination of “stretches” to mobilize our joints and increase tissue temperature. Following the FMS and FRC systems, we approach the warm-up in a systematic way to prepare for the workout ahead. 10 minutes and we’re ready to go.

One of our most effective warm-up moves is what we call, “Quadruped Spinal CARs.” What is this? It’s a higher intensity “cat, camel,” for our yoga friends out there. This movement allows us to explore the mobility of our spine, and what segments we have control over. The more control we have over the spine, the better it will adapt to the stresses of daily life.

Here’s how it works:

1… Set up in quadruped position, on all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips. 

2… Let the chest and belly button sink down towards the floor to “sag” the spine. Look at something across the room and take a breath.

3… Start rounding your back from the bottom. Push the spot just above your butt towards the ceiling. Try to control each vertebra as best you can. Round all the way to the neck.

4… Let your head fall down. Push your hands and knees through the floor and take another breath.

5… Keep your chin to your neck and reverse the movement. Start “unrounding” from the base of the spine, controlling spot by spot until you find your start position.

We want to mobilize shoulders, hips and spine in our warm-up, among other things. Many people get hips and shoulders but forget all the joints in-between. Get the spine moving and you’ll be surprised how much more range of motion you can get from your hips and shoulders.