Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"Warming-Up" Isn't Just About Getting Warm

I've gotten this subject posed to me at least a few times, more recently by a person that loves to prod and poke my brain more and more, but I indulge her because I can't help myself. Someone wants to talk fitness I will happily have a conversation about it for longer than some people would really care to. Sorry got off topic here, anywho the subject is warm-ups or pre-workouts. Many (internet) trainers have different things that they would like you to do for this and I will dedicate this post to the "warm-ups" that are definitely wrong, a little on why and what I personally believe is a good legit warm-up before entering Beast Mode.

Method 1: (Light) Cardio-Absolute epic fail here in my opinion, if you plan on putting in an intense workout, 5, 10 even 15 to 20 minutes on a bike, treadmill or whatever will not quite do the job. The only thing here I might consider not so bad would be a rower. Tell you why I believe this pre-workout activity is not sufficient enough. Yes you warm up your muscles and get a bit of a sweat going, if you don't you're not doing enough or you are going too easy. The problem is you don't move your joints and muscles through a full range of motion. Yes even that freakin elliptical isn't enough movement, I don't care what YOUR crappy trainer tells you, it's not enough movement through your joints. Especially if you aren't being a ninny and doing squats or dead lifts that day. Think about it, would you use a machine that hadn't been put through all the motions and just had them start the engine and say we're good, no need to get the other parts moving. Ok kind of a crappy analogy but you get the idea hopefully.

Method 2: Stretching-Just stretching is for gym teachers and yoga instructors, not knocking either profession but that's pretty much what they do for warm-up (or their whole routine), if you wanna be a beast, which I see nothing wrong with, stretching only isn't going to do the job. Honestly here, for me, static stretching should be used in 2 places, after a work out or before bed. Unless of course you are doing yoga, in which case, have fun with that ladies. My reasoning here is you are not actively going through the motions, you are just simply holding them. Again we are looking at ACTIVELY moving through the full range of the motions you will probably go through during your workout. I'm not going to shoot for another crappy analogy, just trust me if you can't quite put it together yet. A good warm-up will stretch your muscles without it feeling like you just pulled an elastic out of the freezer and tried to stretch it, turning into a fail-bag.

Method 3: Foam Rolling-Just so no one walks through here and sees me doing all of these and calls me a hypocrit, all of these things done together wouldn't be a terrible pre-workout routine. Just done individually they would turn you into a huuuuge mess the second you picked up something heavier than a purse. Back to my point, foam rolling is great, I absolutely recommend it to anyone that has tightness and mobility issues. Take it as the affordable massage that you need, but still not that expensive deep tissue massage that we all want. Soft tissue work is huge in this world if you haven't picked up on it yet and have been oblivious to the fitness realm which happens. Just foam rolling does not give you nearly enough muscle activation for a pre-workout routine. Think about how little your muscles move when being compressed by a foam roller, the space between the roller and your bone or other harder body tissue. Final answer Regis is NOT MUCH. Yes you've got all that dense tissue broken up, assuming you did it correctly, now you need to get it actively stretched so you can turn into Superman (or Superwoman) in your lift.

What I Do: First off my pre-workout routine for myself and my clients is by no means perfect or the word of god, so let's get that straight. I start by rolling out the legs, upper back, lats, shoulders and anything else that happens to be particularly moody that day. Don't go back and forth as fast as you can, nearly useless, go fairly slow and you'll only have to go over it a few times most likely. Once done that work on to mobility work, top culprits for this are usually, hips, shoulders and thoracic spine. Knock those out and go through a dynamic warm-up, I like to keep the ones for me and my clients to about 6 or 8 movements, pretty much cover all the bases with those; Lunge Tuck (Spiderman to some), Warrior Lunge, Hip Flexor Lunge, Foot to Hip, Heel to Butt, Single Leg RDL Reach, Over the Gate Step and Groin Pivot. I will eventually get into posting videos of some of these when I find good down time for me and a helper. I have posted these movements in a little montage below. Pre-workout with all of this should take you about 15 minutes, maybe 20 when you first start out, but as you get use to it more and more it should shorten the time. Anything longer than that you can probably eliminate some of the stuff by prioritizing what needs to be done and what you want to do. These routines should also leave you a little bit sweaty, usually my gray shirts have got a nice line around the neck starting with sweat. Remember not all routines are the same and even this general format is not for everyone but it is just exactly that, a general guideline, if you want one tailored to you, ask your friendly neighborhood health professional.

I will preface the video with the fact that remember I am not the most graceful gazelle nor am I perfect. I am far from it, but working towards that perfection is always better than sitting on your tail and doing nothing. I also apologize for it not being the most advantageous angle, couldn't find a helper, but I had all kinds of time surprisingly so had to take advantage of it.

I hope this post has helped you in your quest to become a beast. In the event you have a comment, question or concern feel free to voice it. Take care out there and get after it.

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