What’s in a warm-up?
When we think about a warm-up, what are we really trying to accomplish? We want to prime the nervous system for the work ahead. The most effective warms-ups are based around a a functional movement screen (hopefully you've had one). If not, no worries! Think about a few of these concepts and add them into your preparations.
Where can you start?
1) Foam Rolling
Foam Rolling is a great place to begin. It "releases" some of the knots in your muscles and opens the window for new mobility to be gained. If we can get more mobile, then build stability on top of that mobility, you're able to move better over time.
Where do we recommend foam rolling? Quads, calves, upper back. If you have time, hit the feet or your butt (not someone else's).
We use a few different breathing variations in our team training workouts. Breathing is key before a workout because it calms our nervous system. Focusing on deep belly breaths in a variety of positions helps us calm down and separate ourselves from the day. If we can calm the nervous system, we're more likely we are to be able to change movement. People in a high stress state are going to have a hard time “downloading” the movement information we’re bringing their way. 2 minutes of breathing is a great place to be for a general warm-up.
3) Something for the spine
Your spine connects your hips and shoulders and takes a beating. Whether from driving in a car or sitting at work or running or falling, anything we can do to mobilize the spine is helpful and just feels good.
Some examples of things you can do for your spine would be a CAT/CAMEL stretch, quadruped rock backs or even just quadruped head nods take some stress off of our spine and integrate it between our hips and shoulders.
4) Something Hips
For hips, we have to consider our members and who they are. Obviously the big obstacle have to overcome is the amount of time members spend sitting. “Tight” glutes, quads and hip flexors follow those of us who sit for long periods of time, so stretching them out is crucial.
Exercises like the half kneel hip flexor stretch, spider-man front reach or brettzel 2.0 are great for hitting something hips.
5) Something Shoulders
Tight shoulders are also something our members struggle with. Sitting, poor breathing and arms constantly in front of us while driving, typing or cooking tends to slowly “lock” our shoulders and upper back over time. By getting the spine and hips along with shoulders, we’ll be hitting 3 major joint systems in the body.
For shoulders, we can think 2 things, actual shoulder joint and upper back. Something like brettzel 2.0 focuses on breath and mobilizing the upper back. Spider-man T Reach does the same.
If we want to attack actual shoulder joint, a half-kneeling shoulder rotation circularly or axially will help prime the tissue of the shoulder itself.
The rest of the warm-up is geared towards increasing body temperature. Recently, we’ve been addressing a bunch of core and glute activation exercises paired with strength or movement exercises.
For core, we’ve been loving things like dead bugs or quadruped diagonals. We’ll incorporate crawling or bridging to start using more muscle groups like gluten and shoulders, then finish with split squat variations and lateral movement exercises like mini-band lateral walks, or lateral lunging patterns.
In The End...
If you’re doing a general workout, hit as many joint and muscles groups as you can, increase your body temperature and get after it. If you’ve been through a functional movement screen, throw these exercises into your warm-up, too. If the warm-up is taking longer than 15 minutes, it’s too long! And always remember, if something hurts, don’t do it.