Lengthen Before You Strengthen
As a physical therapist one of my biggest pets peeves is watching people jump into workouts without doing any sort of a warm-up. I am not talking about grabbing a PVC pipe and doing a few pass-throughs or bending down to touch the toes for a few bounces. I am taking about a proper warm-up that prepares your body for the heavy loads to come. Then once the workout is over, it’s a quick sprint to the shower. Sure, I see a few legs being kicked up on a bench/box for a quick lean as they wait for the shower but for the majority, post workout stretching is non-existent.
Why is it that we work so hard to get to the gym 3-5 times a week, eat whole foods, take the right supplements and get plenty of rest but we continue to ignore two key factors to our success: warming up and stretching.
A proper warm-up needs to increase your core temperature.
This will not only improve the outcome of your workout, it will greatly reduce the risk of injury. Don’t overthink it. Start with something simple like jumping rope, a light jog and/or row. Depending on the weather and temperature of the gym, a warm-up should last about 10-15 minutes. Less time is needed in a warmer environment. So…if you plan to work out at 2.0, I would give yourself a solid 15-minutes! 😬
Next up should be exercises that are specific to the body parts you will be working. These should be done using lightweights or your bodyweight. Nothing heavy.
Here a few examples but not limited to:
- Jumping Jacks and Burpees – awesome for overall body warmth and anything overhead
- BW Hip Hinges and Squats – awesome for cleans, snatches, deadlifts and squats. Gets the hips, knees and ankles ready for action.
- Sit-ups & Superman’s – gets the abs and low back (CORE) primed and ready
- Windmills, Halos and Mountain Climbers – awesome for shoulder and rotational work
- And don’t forget about thoracic openers like pull-overs and table rocks
Now it’s time to get serious. With any skill work, start light and build-up to heavy weight. Jumping right into big numbers can be disastrous. In between sets, continue to stretch out the muscles that are involved. It will make the next set much easier.
The workout is over, now what?
You need to do more stretching. Stretching the muscles post workout helps to improve overall flexibility, it lessens muscle soreness and enhances recovery. This is key to making steady progress.
I am very guilty of skipping this step but thanks to the WLC I have become more disciplined. It might not be right away all the time but I make sure to get in at least 10-minutes each day. Static stretching is what I recommend. This is where you hold a stretch for 45-60 seconds. No bouncing, just a long continuous gentle stretch.
So if you are looking to lift heavy, break PR’s and add muscle, do yourself a favor, take the time to give yourself a proper warm-up and cool-down to unlock your full potential.
A. EMOTM 12
10 Squat Jumps
25 Goblet Squats (light wt)
**all 3-exercises are completed in each minute**
B: 1000m Row for Time
Cash Out: 100 Sit-ups