We all know that warming up before you start training is important. But there is no point in warming up if you’re not doing it properly.
More and more people are making a conscious effort to get their bodies moving before they jump straight into their workout. Which of course is a good thing. But that being said, there is a huge difference between hopping on the treadmill for 10-minutes, versus completing a specific warm-up to prep your body for training.
So why should you care?
Here are a few reasons why it’s important to complete a proper warm-up prior to training
- It increases your body’s temperature and stimulates your nervous system
- It lube’s up your joints
- It provides mobility to areas that are restricted, while providing stability to weaker areas
- It preps your body for the movement patterns during your heavier lifts
Below are 3 components we like to include in every warm-up. If you take the time to go through these before you train, you will move, feel, and perform better during your workout. All while reducing your chance of injury. 😉
Step 1: Soft tissue work
At the beginning of a warm-up, we complete soft tissue work to decrease the tension of typically tight or compensatory muscle groups. Completing trigger point, stick work and foam roll work at the beginning of your warm-up helps to release your fascia—the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles. The fascial adhesions, or “crunchy nuggets” you might feel while rolling decreases your muscle’s ability to glide well; which in turn restricts your movement quality.
Here are some muscle groups we like to release prior to training. We recommend spending between 30 to 90-seconds on each area:
Hamstrings and Calves
IT Band and Lateral Quad
Step 2: Mobility work
Next we complete joint mobilizations to continue to improve movement quality. You may notice that the stretches below are not sustained for more than a few seconds. This type of dynamic stretching is recommended prior to activity. Some research has demonstrated that static stretching, (e.g. holding a stretch for a prolonged period) immediately prior to vigorous exercise can produce a weakening effect, and thus predispose you to injury. This is why we recommend completing mobilizations during your warm-up and sustained stretches at the end of a workout.
Here are some mobility drills we like to include as part of our warm-ups at BIM:
1/2 Kneeling Hip Flexor Mobility
Wall Hip Flexor Mobility
Wall Ankle Mobility
Step 3: Activation
After we have improve movement quality with soft tissue and mobility work, we add muscle activation to the mix to get muscles firing that tend to be inhibitory or weak. We complete the warm-up series in this specific order, as it can be challenging to activate certain muscle groups without first completing mobility work on the surrounding more dominant areas. For example, certain people may find it challenging to engage their glutes without first releasing their hamstrings.
Here are some of my favourite activation drills:
Kneeling Hip Hinge
Dying Bug With Coordination
Scapular wall Slides
Taking the time to run through a proper warm-up prior to starting your training session will help you attack your imbalances, prevent injury, perform better and get the most out of your workout, guaranteed.
Here’s to effective warm-ups!
If you have any questions about warming up, stretching and/or are currently suffering from an injury and require a modification to one or more of the movements above, please don’t hesitate to bring it to our attention.