On Warm Ups and Why You Need to Stop Skipping Them
A good number of people reading my blog are guilty of a number of things—certain “crimes” if you will—and I am no different.
Like many of you, I fall victim to various…mistakes, shall we say. And for no other reason than this:
Yeah, I know. We all do it. Here are a few of the BIG ones.
All joking aside, today I want to talk about training, and about one of these “seemed like a good idea at the time” crimes.
Don’t bother lying to me; I know you’ve done it. It’s natural. You’re in a rush…you’re, like, really busy. Or you’re just too excited and want to get to the training session. I get it. Blah blah blah.
We all make the same excuses—and we all need to stop.
But let me put it to you in terms that you’ll appreciate (or at least make it more fun)—SEX; all joking aside I honestly believe that there is an intrinsic and undeniable relationship between fitness and sex.
That’s a topic for another post, though.
So, yeah. I have no idea where all of that came from, other than the fact that I like to talk about sex. Which brings me back to my point—
Yes, you CAN skip it and have a reasonably good session, but as ALL good lovers know, getting the equipment ready for use just leads to a better experience. If you skip foreplay ALL the time, chances are your love life will take a hit and your lover may walk out on you.
Well, skipping the warm-up may SEEM like a good idea, but if you do it enough, your relationship with your body will break down; you’ll save time, sure, but at the expense of not getting the results you want AND being more injury prone?
I don’t need to take my metaphor much further than that, but suffice it to say that your workouts will be better, more enjoyable, more productive and SAFER if you do your warm up.
Logic Dictates: We should begin at the beginning.
Here are some of the benefits, broken up into a few categories:
PHYSIOLOGICALLY – Getting your body warm is the purpose of the warm up, ostensibly. But really, it’s a by-product of everything else. Raising your core temperature is all well and good, but a good warm-up isn’t just intended to get you hot and sweaty. It’s intended to prepare you for what’s to come—which is why your warm-up should look somewhat like your training session (more on that below).
Going back to sex, foreplay is good for this, as well—and in fact, getting hot and sweaty is one of the goals. Mainly, because it makes sex more awesome.
HORMONALLY – Warming up has benefits here, as well. A warm-up begins to release IGF-1, Growth Hormone, Testosterone—all of the hormones we want circulating to held fight off area-specific fat. However, a good warm up (mental as well as physical) will help “set the mood” in the body. When physical activity is involved, you want to create a bit of that “fight or flight” sensation—your body should be ready to fight (NOTE – the Rocky soundtrack helps, here).
Warming up both mentally and physically begins to increase a hormone we HAVEN’T talked about yet: adrenaline. Suffice it to say, when adrenaline is pumping, you’re going to have a MUCH better workout. Relating this to sex, foreplay increases all of the necessary hormones and leads to a greater release of endorphins upon completion, allowing for a more satisfying experience.
JOINT HEALTH – Warm-up is all about getting your body ready for the workout to come; in large part, that means preparing your joints and connective tissue. A good warm-up will start to get these “loose” and lubricated. As any experienced
lover trainer can tell you, getting some blood into the area is really important for sex warming up. Especially if you want to avoid developing injuries. If you want to get through life without developing tendonitis, STOP skipping your warm up.
Now, as I said earlier, your warm-up should be in line with your training.
When power lifters have entire days dedicated to training the bench press movement, guess how they warm up? Yup; by bench pressing. Makes sense, right?
Well, most people are interested in fat loss, and most fat loss training involves full body program based around fast-paced circuits. So, how do you think you should warm-up?
But before I do…I just want to clear something up: when I say your warm-up should resemble your training session, you can use that a general guideline—it doesn’t need to be incredibly exacting. For example, a density workout doesn’t require a density based warm up; a lactic acid training session doesn’t require lactic acid based warm up.
As long as a warm-up is well written, it will serve it’s purpose for most workouts. That said, the more in depth something is, the better. (More on that below.)
Okay enough pre-amble. Here it is.
Now, SOME of these exercises may be unfamiliar to you, so here is a quick rundown of those which I think need it.
A seal jack is very much like a jumping jack, only your arms come in front and across your chest, instead of over your head. As mentioned above, perform these for 8-10 reps.
These were invented by Navy SEALS…or so named because you look like an actual seal clapping. Either way, a good exercise.
Brace yourself against a wall or chair, and swing one leg back and forth across your body.
Yes, swing your leg back and forth. You’ve done a ‘leg swing.’ Very creative name, I know.
This is almost impossible to describe, so here’s a video to make it easier on both of us.
This warm-up, while pretty basic, is good enough to get you prepped for most fat loss workouts. It’s quick, it’s effective, and it hits all of your major muscle groups–and joints!
So, to integrate this into your current training, simply perform this warm-up circuit before you begin any workout, and you’ll be on your way to better, safer, more productive training sessions (and sex).
Now, again–while the above warm-up will definitely get the job done, as they say, it’s pretty basic. Good in a pinch, but not high-level, by any means. If you are in perfect health and have no joint issues it’s great. But, if you’re a bit beat up, I would recommend something a bit more in depth.
If you’ve ever had an injury of any kind, you definitely understand that you’re never exactly “as you were” before it; to this day, I’m always a bit more cautious with squats, despite the fact that my knee surgery was 7 years ago. And the extra attention–during my sets, and especially during my warm-ups, has made all the difference, and is the primary reason I haven’t been injured again.
For those who have never suffered an injury–whether it’s something as serious as a tear or as simple as a tweak–I can assure you that it will affect your training for weeks at the minimum. It’s a bad situation to be in.
When you think about the fact that most of these issues can be avoided to begin with (or ameliorated once they’ve occurred) simply by spending a few minutes warming up, it seems insane not to put your best foot forward in that regard.
How many minutes, you ask? How about SIX minutes? Seriously!
My bro Dan Go has a program that will help you get ALL the benefits of warming up, and the absolute minimum amount of time possible–just six minutes.
Appropriately, it’s called 6 Minute Superhuman; and it is exactly that: a program full of amazing warm-ups that will make you absolutely bulletproof in just 6 minutes.
If you’re looking for the perfect addition to your current workout plan–or any plan you may do in the future, 6MS is absolutely the way to go. Keep in mind, in just six minutes, you can make any–and every–workout you EVER do safe, more productive, and more effective.
One thing to consider: if you’re doing the program from Engineering the Alpha, you may have noticed that there’s no warm-up in it. Sadly, we had to cut it based on length of the book. So, if you’re doing that program, you should absolutely check out 6 Minute Superhuman immediately. You’ll love it.
How many of you are guilty of skipping the warm up? Or, if you DO warm up, post the warm up below! At least 80 COMMENTS and I’ll be back tomorrow with another awesome post on the SPECIFICS of how to warm-up!