Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Warming Up Is Cool

When did it become that the "cool" thing to do is to not warm-up before your workout? Didn't we learn in grade school that you have to do your jumping jacks and run around the track once before you start the calisthenics, mile run or play your sport?

No matter what organization you look at, you will find a protocol that recommends you do something before you engage in your exercises. But what exactly does a warm-up consist of? Walking, jogging, pushups, stretching? Which one and how many of each? So many questions!

I don't think people quite understand the importance of a proper warm-up. I have had clients compliment and enjoy way more workouts when a proper warm-up is performed before our session. So lets chat a little bit about what might be included in a good warm-up.

Someone who I think has the warm-up down is Todd Durkin. I have had the recent pleasure of purchasing and reading through Durkin's new book and it is AWESOME. All trainers out there I think would really dig it.. tons of useful information presented in a very comprehensive manner and easy to flip through. If you are a weekend warrior or an everyday athlete looking for some new routines take a peek. 

This statement says it best, "The purpose of a warm-up is to get your body moving, begin raising your body temperature, stretch your muscles, move your joints, and get the energy pathways working so that the proper fuel is getting to your muscles. A proper warm-up will prepare your body for the workout, and will make the work feel easier than it would if you started out cold."

It is understood that increasing the body and muscles temperature is important in the warm-up but remember that when you increase blood flow throughout the body and to the working muscles, you increase the delivery of oxygen because oxygen is transported in the blood (our main transport system) along with other nutrients. So if you are doing a total body workout, be sure to warm-up your ENTIRE body and all of your joints. If you are doing an upper or lower body workout, warm-up each respectively. More blood = more oxygen and nutrients = better workout = faster results!

Try something like this:

Cardiovascular warm-up for 5-10 minutes
Dynamic warm-up including different multi-joint movements
Mobility drills for the hips, shoulders and spine (especially thoracic)
Foam Rolling!!!
Perhaps even a few core exercises (plank or side planks are good here)

A very underutilized piece of equipment in the gym! The all mighty foam roller!

Please consider foam rolling extensively.. we really should get in the habit of keeping our fascia healthy (that is a whole other blog post..)!

 Here are a couple of my favorites:

This is for the thoracic spine (T-spine)

This is for the Tensior Fascia Latae (main hip flexor)

Get in the gym and crush it - go from good to great! - but remember the cool thing to do is to warm-up first. Cheesy yes.. but I love it. 

"The only time that success comes before work is in the dictionary." -Vince Lombardi

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