I have a confession to make. I am a self-proclaimed stickler for warm-ups. While it may not be the most exciting part of a training program, it is where we can have the most immediate results in terms of moving better, dramatically decreasing the chance of injury, and just plain feeling better.
With middle school and high school athletes, the warm-up gives us the first opportunity to teach athletes how to train without taking short cuts. That means each movement drill starts behind the start line. And each drill does not end until they pass the end line. And proper full range of motion is used without slacking. This is when we start to teach athletes to be team leaders and captains.
As for adult members, the warm-up is often the first opportunity to perform any kind of dedicated movement during their day. As a result we need to take the time to properly prepare the body for the rigors of that days training session. Just jumping right into complex movements or strength exercises would be a great way to increase your likelihood of suffering an injury. As coaches our #1 most important responsibility to our members is to prevent injuries during the training process.
A proper warm-up should accomplish the following things:
- Mobilize Joints
- Activate Muscles
- Increase Core Body Temperature
- Prepare the Body for the Movements to be Performed in Training
Merely hopping on a treadmill (or, even worse, an Elliptical) only accomplishes one of those things.
A great warm-up could include a combination of the following:
- Supine Hip Extensions
- Supine Leg Lowers
- Quadruped Thoracic Spine Extension/Rotation
- Squat to Stand
- Walking Knee Hugs & Leg Cradles
- Reverse Lunge with a Twist
- Forward Lunge to Instep
- Walking 1-Leg Hip Hinge
- Lateral Lunge
- Bear Crawls
- Straight Leg Skips
- High Knee Skips
- Butt Kickers
- Lateral Shuffles
This is far from an exhaustive list. Notice though, this warm-up begins with glute activation on the floor (which EVERYONE needs), continues with a few mobility exercises focused on the hips and thoracic spine (also, which EVERYONE needs), then goes to some dynamic mobility/flexibility exercises, and finishes with dynamic movements.
I would go so far as to say this is the most important part of any training session. To maintain long term durability and get more out of your training become a stickler during your warm-ups. You will likely start to move and feel even better!
And for today’s ditty…how bout a little Soundgarden!!