OK In Health - Peak Physique

WARM UP – How Much, How Long, Why? - September 2022

Addressing the Warm Up Controversy

By Sonya Patrick

Woman doing a pre-workout rountine outdoors

WHY? - An effective pre-workout routine helps to prepare the body by:

  • Waking up the neuromuscular system?

  • Increasing synovial fluid throughout the joints of the body

  • Introducing motor control patterns to facilitate the execution of progressively more complex exercises?

  • Improves the compliance of soft tissue

 

How Long and How Much?

There has been constant debate on the intensity and duration of a warm-up, having read that it can be up to 30mins long for endurance athlete’s is one train of thought.  I must say however, that I believe it to be an important part of working out even for us average Joe’s.  The regular 8-10 min warm-up is normally sufficient considering most people only actually perform a 60 – 90min workout at a time.

The various drills we employ need to warm up our muscles specifically for the movements that will be required of them in the activity to follow. In this way specific neuromuscular patterning will be switched on and specific, functional range of movement developed.  Below is a very brief general warm up for general activity. 
 

Pre-Workout Routine

I always like to start by awakening my body and focusing on breathing while my mind prepares for exercise.

Feet slightly wider than hip width apart, standing tall, inhale, arms come up overhead, exhale widen arms, swan dive forward, bending forward from the hips, relax top of head towards floor, fold arms and let them hang, releasing tension through neck and shoulders.  Breathe!  Gently rotate torso to right side, inhale, exhale, repeat left and back to center.  Very slowly, press heels firmly into floor, tighten quads, roll the vertebrae one at a time up to standing, rotate shoulders back, the head being the last to rise.

Then, incorporating movements for the upper body that focus on shoulder and t-spine mobility. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, a soft bend in your knees and your weight distributed evenly between the toes and heels of each foot. Raise your arms until they are parallel to the floor, with your palms facing down. Your arms should now be forming a T shape with your torso. Externally rotate your shoulders so that your palms now face the sky. Reverse this action and try to get your palms to face behind you. Repeat 10 times. Now perform a series of straight-arm chest flyes for about 20 seconds. Follow this with a series of shoulder presses (no additional weights of course).  Keep your core engaged and your spine in neutral throughout.

Now standing upright, keeping chest up and head aligned with spine, raise opposite knee to elbow, alternating sides.  Repeat 10 each side.

Lunge walk – for loosening up the hips, improving leg drive and strengthening the butt and hamstrings. Assume a lunge position and step forwards into another lunge. Keep your chest up, look straight ahead and co-ordinate your arms with your legs;

You can add some light jogging, alternating with sideways runs for flexibility, agility and strength in the lower limbs.

Aim to perform 3 – 4 of these drills each, total time remember being only about 10mins of your total workout time.

You can increase the speed component of many of the drills as you become more proficient at performing them. This will ‘fire up’ your nervous system and increase the strength of your muscles for handling more dynamic contractions.  Performing these drills can also reduce the risk of common running injuries, such as shin splints, and can ‘protect’ the knee and ankle joints. Always think about being ‘light’ on your feet.




Sonya PatrickSonya's Bio: Sonya Patrick, (SPRA, RSA, PTS, Can Fit Pro, ACE, KOI - CPR Certified). Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer, Nutritional Advisor. Sonya has been teaching Fitness Classes, Boot camps, and Personal Training for over 12 years in both Canada and Europe. Currently working as a Personal Trainer and Fitness Professional in Penticton, Sonya can be contacted at (250) 809 5609 / (778) 476 3375 - Email


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