[Free Template] How to Build an Effective AND Efficient Warm Up
This is the follow up article to the last, which described the easiest way to get more from your warm up. If you didn’t yet read it, check it out here… The Easiest Way to Get More From Your Warm Up
A brief recap though: The goal of the warm up encompasses a few components, but one that is often overlooked is actually physically warming up the core temperature and tissue temperature of the body.
The easiest ways to do so are to drink a hot beverage (one that contains caffeine is best), wear a sweatshirt and pants to start, and hit some low level aerobic exercise for a few minutes.
And if you really want to take it up a notch, try saving a gazelle from the dangers of the safari.
Once your core and tissue temperatures are elevated, you are ready to move into the meat and potatoes of the warm up.
And while I do believe that a warm up should have a heavy emphasis placed upon it, I also feel that many of us spend way too much time on the warm up.
By the time all is said and done it may take 20-30 minutes for us to finish the warm up. For that reason, below are the steps to an effective and efficient warm up that will leave you ready to dominate your training session.
SPECIFIC soft tissue and static stretching work.
While I always show every athlete how to foam roll the whole body, and use the lacrosse ball on several different spots such as the bottom of the feet, glutes, pecs and shoulder girdle, the best approach is to attack the areas that are the most problematic before training.
If you foam roll the entire body as well as utilize the lacrosse ball, etc. you are likely to spend upwards of 10-15 solid minutes working on soft tissue.
Instead, dedicate 3-5 minutes and attack the 1-3 most problematic spots.
For example, if you have stiff hip flexors, foam roll both hip flexers and then use the lacrosse ball or tiger tail to go over them one more time afterwards.
Do the same for any other body part that is the highest priority.
Then move on to one static stretch for each problem area, such as a half kneeling hip flexor stretch for the hip flexors.
If your entire body feels like you have to spend a significant amount of time on it, you have a bigger issue than worrying about warming up.
2. SPECIFIC mobility and activation
Just like the soft tissue work, if we are not careful we can end up spending 10-15 minutes trying to mobilize joints and turn on certain muscles.
While this is important, not every joint needs to be mobilized, and not every muscle needs to be activated.
Again, attack the joints and muscles that are of highest priority to you. Typically the stiff muscle is accompanied by an inactive muscle on the opposite side of the joint.
Staying with the hip flexor example, completing a half kneeling hip flexor mobility followed up by a single leg glute bridge is a good approach.
It is typical to find glutes that are not as active as they should be when the hip flexors are stiff. And if you know anything about me, I am obsessed with getting the glutes to work.
Not only because they perk up and look nice when they are they main player in lower body exercises, but because they are extremely important for optimal lower body function and injury prevention.
So getting back on track, by mobilizing the hip joint and more specifically the hip flexor, you have a greater chance of activating the glute by immediately following it up with a glute activation exercise (glute bridge).
Again, this is just one example but this principle can be applied throughout the entire body and should take 3-5 minutes. For more help with this just reach out to me on Facebook.
3. SPECIFIC and COMPOUND movement preparation exercises.
Staying with the specific theme, you don’t have to go through every big movement each and every session.
If the focus of your training day is the squat and chin up, make sure that your squat pattern and vertical pull pattern is addressed.
This could be some squat mobility work into a body weight squat. You can then follow this up with some forward facing wall slides and pike push ups to get the shoulder girdle moving for you.
And even better, make it more efficient by combining some qualities. Try the spiderman with rotation and hamstring to get the hips mobilized and upper extremities going for you.
There are endless options with this combination method. You just need to know what you are trying to attack and go from there.
This should take another 3-5 minutes
4. Dynamic Movement.
Lastly, you want a dynamic movement component that gets the body moving with a little more speed and intent.
This could be a series of high knees, lateral shuffles, butt kicks, carioca, skips, crawls, etc.
The goal is to get the body moving with a bit more speed, and to further increase temperature as well as range of motion of the joints.
Putting It All Together
Taking just touched upon you can create a simple template to use for an effective and efficient warm up.
- Soft Tissue (foam rolling, lax ball, tiger tail, etc.) and Static Stretching (3-5 minutes)
3-5 areas that are of highest priority for soft tissue
1-2 areas that are of highest priority for stretching
2 .Mobility and Activation (2-4 minutes)
1-3 exercises that are of highest priority for each mobility and activation
3. Movement Preparation (3-6 minutes)
3-5 specific exercises that prepare the patterns of the main training program. Best to try
and combine some movements for a more efficient flow.
4. Dynamic Movement (2-4 minutes)
5-10 higher speed movements such as high knees, shuffles, skips, etc. done in a quick
As you can see, at the very most this type of warm up should last no longer than 19 minutes, and hopefully more towards the lower end of 10 minutes.
Of course if have been training or playing sports longer and your body has more mileage on it, you will likely have to spend a little more time warming up.
But if your warm up and program are solid and both are allowing you to progress appropriately, you should notice that the warm up doesn’t need to be as long as your body is better able to recover and not being so broken down.
Attack your warm up with specificity and not only will you have a more productive training session, but you will spend less of your precious time trying to prepare for the main work of your program.
What does your warm up look like? Do you even warm up? Do you take 30+ minutes to get going? Let us know, and pass this info along!
To your health and performance,