There are three main focuses when we’re talking about a proper warm up. We are trying to prime the muscles, prime the central nervous system, and increase blood flow. So when you’re looking at your warm up, it needs to prepare the muscles that you’re going to be using that day.
Priming the muscles:
Priming the muscle and increasing blood flow kind of go hand in hand. When we warm up the muscles that we will be using during the session, it sets us up for success and better performance.
An adequate warm up with help increase contractile function of the muscles. The joints of the working muscles will also improve in function and efficiency as we continue to warm up.
In a practical sense, lets say we are going to squat as our main lift for the day. Now we have to look at what encompasses a squat. A squat consists of the ankle joint, knee joint and hip joint. It also consists of core stability, glutes, quads and hamstrings.
A proper warm up will include all of those aspects in various ways. Great exercises for the squat would be a barefoot counterbalance squat at a 3 second eccentric tempo. This will incorporate foot stability and range of motion in all three joints.
Other exercises you could use would be bottom of squat holds, 2KB front rack carries, worlds greatest stretch and lateral lungs. These will all help prime the working muscles in the fullest range of motion and best prepare you for your squat session.
Warm Up to Prime the Central Nervous System:
It is great to finish a warm up with a little bit of central nervous system (CNS) wake up. This is that part where you gotta be really explosive and powerful. We are telling the nerves we are about to get going.
Increasing central nervous system activation will help in recruiting more muscle fibers. The more muscle fibers the body is able to recruit, the stronger you will be. And this is what sets you up to have a killer session.
Priming the CNS involves movements like jumping, heavy KB Swings, or even a neurological coordination movement like rubbing your stomach and patting your head. If we keep the same example and use squats for our lifting session, jumping is probably best.
Using bounding broad jumps or vertical jumps will fire up your CNS, just make sure to keep the reps lower. After the general warm up, I recommend doing about 2-4 sets of 3-5 reps of jumps with about 30-60 seconds of rest between sets.
Warming Up Does Not Have to Be Complicated
Don’t over complicate the warm up. A simple warm up can still be very effective. Choose movements that are low in skill and won’t overly tax your body. The warm up should take about 10-15 minutes and be just enough to get a good sweat going and raise your body temperature.
By the time the warm up is done, you should be feeling nice and loose and ready to use the muscles required for your main lifting session. A great order of events can look like this: mobility, core, working muscles, and plyometrics. This will ensure that you target every muscle and joint that will be used in the session to follow!
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