Thursday, December 24, 2009

To warm up or not to warm up - That is the question...???

A response to a question on the forum on whether or not to warm up prior to training.

Define "warm-up"? In "big box gym" parlance it is 10 minutes on a treadmill and some static stretching. I have even run into some that say they need 30-40 minutes before they are "ready" to train. Some will say not to "warm-up". Citing the need of survival reaction or the law enforcement officer that needs to go from "zero to hero" in an instance.
Are you a member of military or law enforcement? And does it matter
As has been noted by Zachriah and some others - in moments of survival reaction your body takes care of the warm up (endocrine response etc...)
The answer is somewhere in the middle but not anywhere near traditional recommendations - What if your everyday movement ability and skill was high enough so you were "prepared" after a brief amount of preparation specific to the goals of the session and your individual movement issues?
In Super Joints, Pavel recommends a daily morning routine is advocated so that your body will "remember" this movement work and be better prepared for the day. Z health is a daily routine. We move everyday so why shouldn't we strive for excellent movement everyday. A "warm up" is not an excuse to avoid building full and superb joint mobility and movement skill - but that is precisely what people use a warm up for - they walk around with far (and I mean FAR) from optimal movement skill but feel prepared to train after a "warm up" that provides a "false" increase in their movement. There is a reason an FMS screen is performed without warm up - to catch your true movement - not your warm ups movement. There is a reason Z and Super Joints are daily. Build your movement skill - remove restrictions and target the areas that need attention.

When I am lifting (surgery is a bummer) I don't "warm up" - I perform Movement prep and then Progress into my training. Movement prep might take the form of some ASLR work from FMS and a brief Z session focused on some areas I need to "touch base" with prior to loading them. Then it is a progressive build up to my goal lift.
Lets say that it is squat day - Bodyweight squats are up first, Then an unloaded barbell, then 135 and so on....
Not 15 reps but 4-6 focusing on perfect groove and pattern. Your jumps during your "build up" might be different but when I was squatting "heavy" (for me) it would be something like bodyweight, 135, 225, 315, 365, 405 and by that time I was at or nearing my working weights and was ready to hit my sets with precision and focus. Not fatigued by 4-6 sets of 1-15 reps. Build up instead of "warm up".

Build movement skill and movement ability that is "permanent" a solid foundation that is the base for and supports your goals and your movement potential - don't rely on a "warm up" but rather create a situation where you prepare for the demands of the session.


P. J. said...

Great post and very timely for where I am in my research and learning. Just got finished watching Kalos Stenos. And I say it to myself everytime I watch one of your "Secrets of.." series, that stuff makes so much sense, why didn't I learn that in my exercise science program or my DC training. It should be prerequisite material for any human related education program.
Merry Christmas and keep the good stuff coming

Max Shank said...

Get-Ups with a 16kg bell have become warm-up, assessment, rehab, workout, and more. It's crazy what precision can bring.

For a warm-up I like to at least do some z, foam roll, arm bar-get up-windmill and I feel good to go. If I have more time I'll do some bridging and prehab/rehab.

SG Human Performance said...

Great post Brett. I have to agree that a little prep work to work on any imbalances means better, more focus training with better gains.

Anonymous said...

Same already discussed recently

Brett Jones said...

Thanks all - any questions you have that you might like turned into a blog post?

davor said...

Thanks for writing this: I'd be really interested to know what you think about foam rolling, its place in a warm-up sequence etc. In the secrets video, just a very light pressure was recommended, but was that only for the IT? Muscle masses like the calfs or quads feel like they can take deep pressures

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