Warm up with a Purpose
It’s common nowadays to see people spend 20-30 minutes stretching and foam rolling (and let’s be honest, chatting) before starting their training. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we still want to ensure that we are making efficient use of our time in the gym. So, why are you warming up the way you do? Does it honestly prepare you for your training that day?
At Black Flag Barbell Club we have two basic warmup protocols that we get started with – upper body and lower body. Neither takes more than 5-10 minutes, and the movements included within them are all serving a particular purpose.
Lower body warmup:
Walking lunges: Activates the quads, hamstrings and glutes, gets each side of the hip moving independently, provides feedback – are the hips stiff/tight, are the quads/glutes activating, can a stable torso be maintained without excessive lumbar extension or flexion.
Crab walks (with a hip circle): Activates the glutes (very well!)
Upper body warmup:
Shoulder/Rotator cuff complex: Activates the rhomboids, lower traps and rotator cuff muscles.
Tennis ball upper back mobility: Mobilises the muscles of the upper back with movement, provides some mobilisation of the posterior rib joints. Will usually demonstrate any severe deficits in shoulder mobility.
You will notice there is no stretching or foam rolling included in these protocols – while they have their place, they must serve a useful purpose. Now, that purpose may simply be that the lifter/athlete FEELS they are better prepared after doing them – that is perfectly valid. But for the vast majority of the time spent we want to see bang for buck and get to training as quickly as possible. The above warm up processes will let a lifter or coach know if something is out of whack and needs more attention, and if not – time to train!