Seriously, Take Your Warm-Up Seriously

Seriously, Take Your Warm-Up Seriously

By Coach T. Elliott Field

Typically, there are two different types of warm-up: general and specific. Normally in class, the “general” warm-up is done during the “warm-up” segment of class. It includes non-specific movements that are of relatively low stress and intensity. This allows the body temperature to rise and increase work capacity and functionality of the body. Numerous studies show that with an increased muscle temperature (within safe limits) that muscle is able to contract more rapidly and more intensely.

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Next, the “specific” warm-up is most often done in the “skill” segment of class. This type of warm-up primes the nervous system for the forthcoming movements that are about to be executed. Basically, you are telling your body that this is what I want you to do and this is how I want you to do it. If you move poorly during this time, there is a good chance that you will be moving poorly during your working sets. When in a time crunch, for exercises involving high intensity movements (weightlifting/power lifting/sprinting), a “general” warm-up may not be as advantageous as a “specific” warm-up. Furthermore, a primed, well-heated muscle is stronger and able to withstand significantly more force without being injured. Conversely, too vigorous of a warm-up may lead to a decrease in performance, specifically prior to endurance events and in athletes who are untrained.

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Okay, okay. Soooo whatcu tryin’ to say, Elliott?

Well, while we definitely encourage socialization and a friendly, talkative atmosphere, if you really want to get the most out of your training, move well, perform at a relatively high level, and reduce the risk for injury, then minimize the “chit chat” during the warm-up(s) and focus on what you are doing and how you are moving.

(Small rant incoming…)

During Open Gym, I see people come in, grab a foam roller or sit on an assault bike, and then (cue the DUN DUN DUNNNNN) just stare at their phone and passively pedal the bike or foam roll without being mindful of what they are doing. I do not think that they are realizing just how long they are staying on the one leg and switching to the other before they snap out of their phone coma and remember that they are supposed to be warming up. An effective warm-up should only take 15-20 minutes. Working out by yourself is hard enough, so please do not add a poor warm-up and an increased risk for injury to the mix!

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To recap:

Come in. Hit the warm-up with focus. Spend an appropriate amount of time practicing your high skill movement with very lightweight (more than 5 reps). Next, get to work (maybe with some small talk in-between lifting sets). And THEN, after the workout is complete and the endorphins are flowing, drink your recovery shake and chit chat as much as you want.

Remember that you came here for professional-level strength and conditioning. Don’t waste it.

P.S. – Did you know our coaches are available for Personal training? Email me at [email protected] to set up a session!