By: Mike Aguirre
How many people do you know that step foot inside a gym head straight to the squat rack or get here a minute before their training appointment and get right into their first working set? Probably plenty gym goers you’ve seen or perhaps you’ve done that yourself once or twice. The human body is so complex that it is imperative you incorporate a great warm-up into your routine before you get your body going into its primary block of exercises. It will do wonders for you in the long run helping with decrease of injury and longevity in your joints. There are 5 components that make a warm up great and I’m going to tell you about them.
First and foremost general movement. Any type of general movement before exercise is key to increase core body temperature, increase blood flow to the muscles and should be the first absolute thing you should do. Whether that be a light jog, brisk walk, moderate ride on the bike the list can go on but just getting any type of movement to heat up your body temperature is step one.
Next is activation. Allowing you to elongate the muscles you are about to use can help with range of motion and improve balance and stability. Here at pulse we like to utilize mini bands to activate the hips, glutes and hamstrings. Such as a lateral walk with the mini bands, forward and backwards walk with the bands; again the list can go on. However, activation doesn’t just have to be mini bands you can certainly prime your muscles doing body weight movements such as a flute bridge, a body weight squat, a lateral plank walk and plenty more.
Third, a dynamic stretch. Dynamic stretching is a form of active movement that isn’t about holding a stretch but rather than taking your body through what will better prepare you for your workout or activity. Just a few great examples of those are, walking lunges with a reach, worlds greatest stretch with a rotation and open and closing the gate.
Next, movement integration. Similar to dynamic stretching in this part you want to go through specific movement patterns that you will be going through ahead of your training session. Some of the specific patterns may include an RDL, an overhead press, a push up and a squat. Typically the exercises that are in the primary block of your training session are the movements you want to pattern in this step.
Lastly is the neural activation aspect. Now that your core body temperature is up, your body is feeling loose and ready to go one last component is to fire up the nervous system and get it ready to lift some heavy weights. Incorporating these drills allows us to wake up our nervous system before we start strength training. In order to activate a muscle, a neuron must fire a signal to our brain. Neurons are nerve cells that build up our nervous system; hence why the brain is equally as important as muscles when it comes to strength. Some of these exercises include, a couple short sprints, an explosive box and a medicine ball slam. Incorporating a coupe of these exercises in your warm up will help your body be better primed for your training session and will your body will thank you down the road.
By: Mike Aguirre