Far too often the simple things get overlooked while I’m warming up. I do the same things most days and typically choose from the following: run, bike, row, air squat, lunge, strict pull up, and then maybe move a barbell a little bit. My stretching both before and after is minimal. A lot of days I’ll basically jump right into a simple workout and use the first round to warm up. I justify all of this as lack of time for training, but it’s no more than me being lazy.
Before each and every workout there is a window of opportunity. Most days there are at least 5 minutes where I’m waiting for somebody else to be set up. They are in the bathroom, putting their accessories on, joking around, whatever. There is a period where I could be making meaningful changes. What kind of changes? Pick a scenario:
Today I have Overhead Squats, Snatches, Push Jerks, Handstand Push Ups, etc. My shoulder mobility sucks. My lats are glued down and my scaps don’t have great range. I also have been experiencing a small amount of pain with certain movements. I should spend my 5 minutes smashing/rolling out my lats, or with a lacrosse ball in my upper back, or get a buddy to floss my shoulders for me. I could also lay on a roller and open up my thoracic spine, or maybe spend a few minutes in child’s pose.
Today I have all kinds of Squats. My coach keep reminding me of my questionable depth. Heavy weights crush me in the bottom of my Squat. My hip, knee, and/or ankle has been bugging me every time I go heavy at all. I should spend 5 minutes warming up with perfect goblet squat holds. I could also floss my achilles/calves/quads/hip flexors to help achieve quality range of motion. I could also sit in couch stretch or dragon pose for a couple minutes.
Today I have Pull Ups, Muscle Ups, Sumo DLHP, DB Snatches, etc.. My biceps burn out fast and my pull disappears. I also have been dealing with some wrist and elbow pain. I could spend my 5 minutes doing wrist and forearm stretches in all directions, using the floor to push into. I could have a friend floss my wrist/elbow/biceps and move through range of motion. I could take a lacrosse ball and smash the area where my pec and shoulder meet to help relieve tension. I could also lay in twisted cross for a few minutes.
I hope by now you’ve picked up on the fact that when I’m talking about my problems, I’m referring to all of yours. We know there is a never ending need for necessary maintenance to be done on your body post workout, but let’s think about it from the other point of view. If you prepare you body to move more easily and efficiently through range of motion during your training day, there should be a lot less wear and tear on your joints and tissues. Improving quality of movement not only makes you feel better, but sets you up to be more successful in each and every training piece.
Stop throwing away that 5 minutes right before you start each piece and get the most out of your training day. Maybe I’ll start doing the same.
Written by Seth Page