photo credit: pilotfitness.com
In the realms of strength and conditioning and physical therapy, we some times get stuck in a rut or stuck doing what we have always done because it is easy. Instead of programming for our clients and patients effectively, we do the same old exercises and wonder why people are disinterested or plateau with their results.
Sometimes I've seen trainers or coaches tell their client to hop on the bike or treadmill to warm-up. Other times, they will jump right into the training session.
On the flip side, I have seen people roll around on the foam roller for many minutes, ie. 30-minutes, to loosen up those "tight" spots. The reason you are at the gym is to get a training session in. Not to roll around on the foam roller for the majority of the time.
Doing some quick and easy self-myofascial release (SMR) that takes a few minutes at most is the way to go. If are you are dealing with some aches or pains or have some particularly problem areas like tight hips or shoulders, then you can devote a little bit more time to those areas.
Personally, I try to keep my SMR session to 1-2 songs on my IPhone so that I know I'm not spending too much time. I'd be a liar to say that I haven't spent a long period of time warming-up in the past. Currently, I try to keep it simple and hit the areas I know I will be focusing on during my training session.
We DO want to make sure we address any areas of dysfunction during our SMR session. The way we would know that is through an assessment.
For example, if I assess someone and notice they have limited overhead mobility, you can bet we are going to incorporate some soft tissue work with the foam roller or the lacrosse ball to:
photo credit: Pearson Education, Inc.
If someone lacks hip mobility in the sagittal or frontal planes, we are going to work on:
photo credit: www.raynersmale.com photo credit:www.drpeggymalone.com
Make sure to always assess each and every client to find out what they need for their mobility work. On the flip side, not everyone needs "mobility" work. Someone may feel "tight," but in turn they may actually need activation exercises to improve stability in various areas of the body to decrease said tightness.
So, now that we have covered the SMR portion, we want to have our clients or patients perform movements in their dynamic warm-up that are going to mimic the movements they are going to be performing during their training session.
I stole this from Eric Cressey and the staff at Cressey Sports Performance in regards to structuring a warm-up. We want to start on the ground with ground-based movements such as:
Then progress to more upright positions such as tall or half-kneeling with:
Then progress to eventually standing with movements such as:
Your warm-up should not take longer than 10 minutes MAX! That includes SMR AND a dynamic mobility piece. The main objectives to our warm-up are:
Since I have tried shortening my warm-ups, I have noticed that I have had better training sessions. Remember, when you are doing warm-up sets of squat, bench, deadlift, etc., those are considered warming-up as well. By shortening your pre-workout warm-up session, you will gain valuable time during your non-working sets by grooving good movement patterns for the lift you are going to be performing.
Try shortening your warm-ups and let me know what you think!
Here I will be writing and posting about topics ranging from physical therapy, injury prevention/reduction, and strength and conditioning.