The dynamic warm up is a key ingredient for training success. In my opinion, the warm up is the most important aspect of the workout. If you skip the dynamic warm up, you will increase your chances of injury and have lack luster training sessions. Here a few strategies to think about regarding the dynamic warm up:
· Don’t ever skip. Even if your time is limited, take just a few minutes to perform a few dynamic movements to get the workout started.
· The warm up should prepare you for the upcoming training session. A runner preparing to run 400 yard repeats on the track should have a different warm up than the weight lifter who is about to bench press heavy. If your workout is prescribing high intensity intervals, your warm up should build you into a similar work capacity. If you plan to hit legs, performing hip mobility and glute activation will give you more success during your lifts. This specificity will decrease your chances of injury and improve your performance during the workout.
· Know your body. If you are stiff and immobile, you need movement and mobility drills in the warm up. If you are hypermobile and lack stability, you need dynamic stability drills added into your warm up. If you do not know, hire a qualified movement specialist to evaluate your movement and prescribe specific corrective drills.
· Prepare the nervous system. In simple terms, the nervous system controls and communicates to the entire body. When starting a workout, the nervous system needs to be “turned up” and responsive to the work you are about to do. You are preparing the nerves to be responsive to the movements you are about to perform. This equates to more awareness in the workout, higher degree of intensity and increased performance.
· The warm up is connected to the workout. Do not think the workout starts on your first main exercise. The workout starts with the warm up. That’s why I am such an advocate of warming up properly because this is the catalyst to the rest of the workout. Start with slower, less dynamic movements and as you slowly warm up, move to higher intensity warm up drills (see below).
· Simple dynamic warm up drills: knee raise pulls, straight leg kicks, quad pulls, lunging variations, mini-band walks, hip lifts, side lying thoracic spine rotations, wall slides, Y’s/T’s for shoulder mobility/stability, skipping variations, lateral shuffles, running high knees, running butt kicks, agility ladder drills and quick feet drills. A simple YouTube search will show variations of all of the above.
See below for a couple full body warm up variations....
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