We’ve heard this line over and over again, but do we understand the intent behind it. Do we listen to it, do a couple “warmup” reps, and then go right into whatever it is that we are doing for that day. I know I’ve been guilty of it and I’m sure you have to. Nobody is perfect (including those of you who think you are).
So, if we do warmup correctly for the day, what does it look like? Is it supposed to take a long time? Is it supposed to include stretching? The questions are endless, but let’s try to keep simple.
And before you raise your fists to beat me, hear me out!
1. Increase overall body temperature and prepare joints for movement. When we work out, we know that our heart rate will be elevated, sweat will be pouring out, and we will feel much more confident in our movement. Instead of jumping right in, though, we need to gradually raise our core temperature to that point and get our joints ready for all the movements we are going to perform for that day.
The easiest way to raise your core temperature is to go for about a 5-minute walk, light jog, bike ride, row, or low-intensity work with a jump rope. These can be done by themselves or be combined, as long as they don’t become the actual workout. Keep the intensity low.
Once that’s completed, the athlete should then complete no more than 5 minutes worth of foam rolling and dynamic joint warmup to continue the process of preparing the body for movement. For foam rolling, I recommend they hit the following body areas for no more than 30 sec. at a time
(These should be the primary areas of focus, but additional areas (such as the quads, hamstrings, lower back, etc.) can be added as necessary.)
In regards to a dynamic joint warmup, we are working to increase our joint ROM and lubricate the joints before the day’s training. I recommend 10-20 reps each direction of the following movements:
Having completed the previous work to this point, we are now ready for the next step of our warmup process.
2. Increase Proprioceptive and Kinesthetic Awareness. Being aware of our body positioning doesn’t just mean knowing where our arm or leg is at any given moment but rather knowing our exact posture and what our joints are doing. In weightlifting, we are always seeking the most structurally sound position for any part of the lift. That begins by knowing if your knee is “stacked” over your ankle, your hips are “stacked” over your knee, and so on and so forth.
For this, my athletes perform a version of two banded exercises. One for the lower body and one for the upper body. The beautiful thing about this type of work is, not only are athletes required to be aware of their positioning during these movements, but they are also continuing the process of preparing the body for the day’s training.
For the lower body, the single best tool in our inventory is our utilization of a mini-band around the knees or ankles for the following movements:
For the upper body, there are two primary tools I use with my athletes to complete this section of the warmup. First, is the Crossover Symmetry System. This standalone system provides users with not only the tools they will use but also an activation system that fulfills our goal for improving our body awareness.
For those who don’t own or have access to the Crossover Symmetry System, the following banded warmup will do just as well to help continue our preparation for movement.
After completion of everything thus far, you will be at the end of our actual warmup and be ready to begin our next stage in the process.
3. Practice the movement before performing it. When training any movement, you should never “jump right in” to your working sets and weights. I will admit this was a mistake I made when I was at the beginning of my athletic and coaching career, and I paid for it by often missing lifts and being injured often. So, DO YOUR WARMUP SETS FOR EACH LIFT TO BE TRAINED ON ANY GIVEN DAY. It doesn’t matter if your doing squats, Olympic lifts, bench press, dumbbell work, etc. It doesn’t have to take very long, but practice a movement with lighter weight before training movement. I cannot stress this enough. Not only will you become more technically sound in the lift you’re doing, but you will be safer also.
I hope this outline helps you all in your quest to become better athletes and please reply if you have any questions or comments
Josiah Prunty has been a USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach since 2014 and has worked with a variety of clients to improve their health and performance. Additionally, Josiah has BS in Health and Wellness from Purdue University Global and is a NASM-CPT, and CES