3 WAYS TO SPEED UP YOUR WARM UP (WITH SCIENCE)
Warming up is like eating a marijuana laced edible.
Too much, or too little, and you're worse off than when you first started.
But if you hit the sweet spot, you'll feel like a million bucks.
Unlike that brownie/cookie/gummy, a great warm-up will also only last about 15 minutes - and has significant long term benefits.
So What's Included In A Good Warm-Up?
A warm-up serves a few very important purposes - to decrease chances of injury, encourage better quality movement, and increase tissue temperature. Notice how I didn't say stretch, do painful mobility drills and go for a run on the treadmill?
Those things are boring, ineffective, and certainly do not possess the biggest bang for your buck.
The reality is that we have been sold the idea that if you have a tight muscle, you should stretch, we need mobility to squat lower, and the best way to 'get your heart rate up' before exercise involves a piece of cardio equipment.
Let's explore the truth.
1. Instead Of Stretching, Do Eccentrics.
Stretching feels fantastic - there's no denying that. But when it comes to effectiveness, the jury's still out. Although it can help, there is also a good chance that your tight muscle is actually over worked because a neighboring joint isn't functioning properly. We'll cover that more in #2.
But the reality is, shortened hip flexors, chest muscles, and lats plague the average person and have a negative effect on the way we move and live.
Luckily, there is a solution. Oh, and you'll get stronger doing it.
Enter: Loaded Eccentrics.
They're basically your favorite exercises, done realllllly slowly.
This has been shown to greatly improve hamstring flexibility, and has the added benefit of patterning many of the exercises you'll likely be doing during your workout. Here are a few ways that you (need) to start applying loaded eccentrics into your warm-up:
- Chest Fly
- Deficit Split Squats
Videos are at the bottom of the page.
2. For Hip Mobility, Do Side Planks.
As we mentioned above, there is a lot more happening that what meets the eye when it comes to mobility. Although it may feel like our hips don't want us to squat lower, we have to first look at what's going on with your pelvis and spine.
A good way to look at the relationship between your hips and your trunk/core is similar to that of a slingshot.
Your hips are the band (mobile) and the trunk is the handle (stable).
Now imagine trying to pull back the band, but then the handle starts bending! What was supposed to be stable, is not, and now you are unable move with full mobility.
I'm still a HUGE fan of working hip mobility into your warm-ups. Think of this as a definitive 'order of operations' when it comes to your warm-up - create stability in the spine THEN mobility in the hips.
3. Skip The Treadmill, And Frolic Instead.
Remember that one of the most important things a good warm-up does is increase tissue temperature. Although a brisk walk on the treadmill will make you FEEL warm, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best choice.
Although I hate to use a buzz-word, a dynamic warm-up must be well... Dynamic! This means movement occurs with multiple joints, and on multiple planes of motion.
We also want to look at what is happening on a neurological level - does walking prime our nervous system to be powerful? I certainly do not think so.
To maximize this part of your warm-up, things like med ball slams and skips are perfect.
Putting It All Together Pt.I
I'm a huge believe in specificity a.k.a doing the right thing for YOU... So there may be some variation needed from person to person, but here's a good place to start:
Putting It Together Pt.II
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