Friday, January 30, 2009

How to Warm-up

In general, warming up for 5-10 minutes on a piece of cardio equipment is a waste of time (unless it is for special populations, injured client, overweight, etc). If this is your warm-up, stop now. If your trainer warms you up this way, find a new trainer. If you are a trainer warming up your clients this way, SHAME ON YOU!! I hope you are not charging them for those 5-10 minutes. If you are, your a thief.

People need to move, stretch, and activate the muscles they are going to be using in their workout and in their sport. Warm-ups should start with slower movements that are a bit more static in nature. Progressively the movements should become more dynamic. Really, with a good warm-up, you should not be able to tell when the warm-up ends and where the workout begins.

Here is how we warm-up our athletes and clients:

Activation: We spend a few minutes with some mini-band walking and small exercises to turn on muscles that tend to be asleep. For most, this is the hips and scap stabilizers.

Movement Preparation: From activation, we get a little more dynamic and will roll right into some movement prep. This consists of lunging, squatting and crawling variations.

Movement Skills: Again, we get even more dynamic and progress into things like skipping, shuffling, cariocas, speed ladder work, etc.

That is pretty much what our warm-up consists of. From there we move into power work, with plyos, med balls, olympic lifts and variations of the olympic lifts. And next would be our strength work.

Warm-ups should always have a rhyme and a reason. Ask yourself, what, why and how. What needs to be warmed up? And what would be the best way to accomplish that? Hopefully your answer is not a treadmill.