When is the last time you put any real thought into the most important part of your workout – the warm-up?!
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t think about it too much. You coast half-heartedly on the assault bike for a few minutes, maybe do some casual rowing, stretch while chatting with friends, and call it good.
It’s okay to go with the warm-up flow in CrossFit classes, where our coaches – especially coach Matt! – incorporate intense warm-ups in every WOD. When you come to open gym, though, it’s important to create a warm-up that is specific to your workout. A good warm-up will have several components.
First, you need to…wait for it…get warm! Get on the bike, get on the rower, get on the ski erg and get that heart rate up. A good way to ease your body into the warm-up is to use intervals. Do at least three minutes of cardio, breaking up each minute: thirty seconds easy, fifteen seconds medium-intensity, and fifteen seconds of sprinting.
Once your body is warm and you’re breathing heavy, it’s time to warm up your muscles. Dynamic stretching is a great way to do this! Lunge and twist, spider-man walk, bear crawl, broad jumps – anything that combines muscle engagement with muscle mobility.
After dynamic stretches, take your warm-up a step farther and do movements that specifically activate what you’re working on. Let’s take squats as an example. If you jump straight into a squat workout without a proper warm-up, your hamstrings and quads will likely take on most the work because your glutes haven’t been activated. Try this next time you squat heavy, as part of your dynamic stretching:
- Ten bridge holds (3 seconds each)
- Ten single-leg bridges, each leg
- Ten fire hydrants, straight back
- Ten fire hydrants, to the side
- 100-foot monster walk
- Ten jumping squats
By doing a glute-specific warm-up, you’ve activated your glutes and are allowing them to help your quads and hamstrings to lift that heavy weight.
tl;dr: Get HOT before every workout! Now it’s your turn – what are your favorite exercise-specific warm-ups?
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