The Most Underrated Part Of A Workout: The Warm Up

We have all been there before. We get to the gym, head straight for the bench and start pressing. Maybe if we’re lucky we throw in a few arm circles, stretch the forearms, and do a few pushups.

However, is that going to help prime you for your session and improve your performance? Whether that be your performance in the gym or on the field.

We can get away with not doing a warm up every once in awhile, but somewhere down the road it will come back to haunt us.

So what are the goals of a warm up?

  1. Increase heart rate
  2. Increase core body temperature
  3. Reset the body
  4. Improve movement patterns
  5. Loosen up tight structures
  6. Revs up the nervous system

Although all of these products from the warm up are important, being able to reset the body and drive good movement patterns is going to decrease the wear and tear on your body during the training session.

Many people are short on time, but you don’t need to spend more than 10 minutes on a warm up before your training.

The components of a good warmup

At Byler Elite Strength Training, we use the R7 method that was created by Mike Roberston. Each representing the different stages of the training session. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to cover R1-R4.

R1- Release

The first thing we have clients do is some sort of foam rolling. After an assessment we identify what soft tissue structures need to be rolled out and released.

Foam rolling shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. We don’t need to spend 30 minutes rolling out the entire muscular system. If you want a full body massage, go to a massage therapist.

Some common areas that need attention include the calves, adductors, quads, pecs, and upper back. Check out the foam rolling technique that we use before each session.

R2- Reset

The reset portion of the warm up will be something specific to the individual. Based on the position that someone presents with coming into their training session will dictate what reset we will perform.

We will perform 1 to 2 reset exercises. These are typically some sort of breathing exercise adopted from the Postural Restoration Institute.

Majority of clients are going to present stuck in an extension based pattern. So our reset is going to work at getting them into the opposition position and improving breathing mechanics.

Here are a couple of my favorite resets that I give to extended clients.

R3- Readiness

The readiness portion of the warm up is where we are activating sleepy muscles and driving good movement patterns.

After getting clients reset, we want to maintain that position so our readiness section is going to accommodate the position that we got them in through the reset.

Once we achieve the position we want our clients in, we want to improve ranges of motion, specifically in the thoracic spine, and then get some muscles working. I love doing some sort of thoracic rotation exercise. The sidlying windmill is a fan favorite, especially when some snaps and cracks occur during the motion.

Some muscles that we want to wake up are the abs, glutes, hamstrings, and scapular upward rotators. Muscles that are going to help decrease a risk of injury during big lifts.

Take a look at some of the warmup exercises we have our clients go through.

R4- Reactive

The reactive portion for the warm up is going to include things like med ball work or jumping activities. We want to get the central nervous system primed and ready for when we get into the lifts.

For athletes, we have quite a bit going on in this section. For adults, performing just a couple different reactive exercises is going to be plenty.

Here are some examples of exercises that we will include into this section.

There is so much that we can throw into a warm up that isn’t included in this article. The average Joe and an athletes warm up are going to look a little different. 

Take some of these suggestions and add them to your warm up routine. I’m sure you’ll notice how much better a training session goes when throwing a warm up into your routine. 

If you are interested in working with me in an online setting, let me know and check out the online coaching page for more information. 

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