The warm-up. We all know we are supposed to do it. Most of us haphazardly do a few quick stretches and then move on to the bulk of our workout, but what exactly is the purpose of a warm-up? Sure, it gets the blood flowing and our muscles “warmed up,” but what if your warm-up was programmed to specifically meet the needs of your muscular imbalances, joint mechanics and properly prepare you mentally and physically for specific exercises? Incorporating 10 to 15 minutes of these methods will make you stronger, more mobile and definitely more effective at safely executing movement patterns.
Generally speaking, most people exhibit many of the same muscular imbalances. As a trainer evaluating a new client, I can almost always count on specific imbalances to be present while putting them through a movement assessment. It’s to be blamed mostly on the lives we lead today. We spend hours hunched over computers, tablets and smartphones. This leads to improper length tension relationships of muscles, altered joint mechanics and eventually pain or injury.
The first step to any warm-up should involve inhibitory techniques. These are basically self-massage and trigger point therapy on muscles that are tight or overactive. Foam rollers became mainstream in the last decade or so, but today we have more advanced ways that are able to pinpoint specific areas of the body that need more attention. Tools such as lacrosse balls, peanuts, Orbs, and rumble rollers are all essential tools to help get you the best inhibitory techniques. Most people need to focus on their calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, thoracic spine, scapula, middle back and pec major/minor. I usually choose 2-3 of these inhibitory techniques per session based on a client’s needs and abilities. Beginners should start with a foam roller and move to more pinpointed tools such as Orbs and lacrosse balls. If a client finds that a specific technique is excruciating, it is best to regress and move to one that is still effective but not incredibly painful. The goal with inhibitory techniques is mild discomfort but not legitimate pain.
After a client has finished with their inhibitory techniques, it is time to move on to self-mobilizations. Monster bands and voodoo floss bands are excellent at helping to mobilize joints that often have limited range of motion. Most clients need mobilization at the ankle joint, knees, hip complex, and shoulder complex. By using banded distractions and voodoo flossing we are able to release some of the fibrous tissue in the joint capsule and create a better range of motion and joint mobility. This is essential for anyone who exhibits any sort of pain or discomfort with movement in any of the aforementioned joints. Opening up joint capsules makes a workout more effective by allowing them proper range of motion and execution of movement during an exercise. Banded distractions are a form of self mobilization that involve using a monster band to create tension and “distract” a joint while taking it thru a full range of motion. To fully understand banded distractions and voodoo flossing it is best to search for a video tutorial on the internet. A quick search will reveal many accurate demonstrations on how to properly incorporate this extremely helpful tool into your mobility warm up.
After mobilizing the joints, finish with a dynamic warm-up. A dynamic warm-up is generally a compound movement that takes the muscles through a full range of motion with only bodyweight. Some examples would include body weight squats with hands over head, a walking lunge with a rotation, or push-ups with a rotation. These movements increase blood flow to the muscles while taking them through the full range of motion for a movement. It prepares the body for movement in multiple planes of motion, increases your heart rate, and enables the muscles to work synergistically with one another to perform proper movement. It is important to note that dynamic warms ups are preferable to traditional static stretching at the beginning of a workout. Static stretching (holding a stretch for a period of time) at the beginning of a workout can be detrimental because it reduces the force that a muscle can create. You should also warm-up sufficiently before using lengthening techniques (i.e. static stretching) as there is less risk of a muscle tear.
As you can see, there is a lot more to a warm-up than just a few simple stretches and jumping jacks. At first this may seem daunting, but in reality, the above process should only take about 10 minutes to complete. You will see an improvement in your posture, your performance and the effectiveness of your workouts. Besides a smart Google search, a trainer that specializes in corrective exercise and mobility is also a great resource, even if it’s only for 1 or 2 sessions. However you choose to do it, make sure you are getting the proper warm up that your body deserves, your body will thank you.
For more information or to book a class, visit www.phoenixeffectla.com.
The Phoenix Effect, a functional group fitness studio that gets you in shape fast, is offered exclusively at 7264 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA.
More Aaron Guy, please! Damn, he’s fine. Gonna go grab a lax ball…
LOL…I always trust the advice of someone who’s so jacked on juice he can hardly move. What a d%$che bag!
@Beachman: Or maybe he just goes to the gym regularly and works hard. His personal training certification is why his advice can be trusted.
Steroids won’t do much of anything if you’re not in the gym pushing yourself. Some of you seem to think that injecting steroids makes muscles magically pop out; it doesn’t work like that.
@Beachman: Don’t agree with a lot of what Masc Pride says, but on this one I do. People are somethimes Wayyyy to quick to jump on the steroid/juice accusations without even knowing where the person started from (i.e., his genetics?) If this guy has been training for 2-3 years and trains a double split (1.5 hr or so each) and had a great base to start…It’s very difficult to say that he is/was taking steroids. You weren’t there to see the “before” (and don’t have photos either) and have no time reference to base that opinion on so it’s almost impossible to tell. He is not a “monster” so the gains he’s made are not impossible. If you worked out regulary you would know these things…Do you workout regularly? At all?
@youarekiddingme: You’re right generally, but anybody with an Internet connection can see “before” in this case…this guy did porn for quite a long time. I don’t pretend to be able to tell steroid use by looking at a person, and this case it’s both a dramatic difference from how he used to look *and* something taking place over quite a few years, so who knows.
@enfilmigult: What was his porn name? Just for research purposes. 😛
@Masc Pride: Matt Cole.
@enfilmigult: Well I googled him and you are right, the difference really is startling. That being said, maybe he’s just working harder at it now than before? I mean, I don’t see any gyno-nipples on him.
Personally I prefer the long and lean look that a Pilates regime gives a man.
Hello gentlemen and thank you for your comments. It’s always interesting to read what people have to say behind a computer screen. For those of you concerned with the validity of my fitness advice I will share my qualifications and achievements within the last 15 years of my personal training career. I am certified as a CPT by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, one of the most respected organizations in the fitness industry. I am required to fulfill 20 hours of continuing education every two years as well as renew my CPR/AED certification in order to keep my CPT valid. I have several specializations with NASM that include a CES which deals with corrective exercise, postural assessment and special populations, a PES which deals with sport specific training as well as athletic training and an FNS which is a Nutritional Certification. Most recently I earned the title of Master Trainer (MT) with NASM, a recognition achieved by only 65 trainers in the country and the only one with the title in the Los Angeles area. I have been certified in Kettlebells for over 7 years and also hold a certification in Mobilization and Inhibitory techniques. Currently I am pursing a second certification in Nutrition with Precision Nutrition, the most respected nutritional qualification in the industry outside of being an RD. This December I will also be pursuing a coaching cert in Olympic and Powerlifting with the USWA (United States Weightlifting Associaiton), the same organization that oversees Olympic athletes. I have been training for almost 15 years. I have competed in 3 bodybuilding competitions to push myself to levels that I never knew possible. I have owned my own successful personal training business for the last 3 years and have trained thousands of hours and have worked with an amazing demographic of clients including Olympic athletes, celebrities, Boston Marathon competitors, Executives, housewives, brides and expecting mothers. More importantly are the lives of the many, many people I have enriched, educated or helped in their own individual journeys. I enjoy writing articles in order to share information and my education with people. I have worked hard to gain the level of respect that I have amongst my peers but my greatest achievement is finding true happiness in what I do each and every day in life.
Matt Cole is such a favorite of mine. His scene with Adam Killian where he bottoms is amazing spanking material.
Mr. Aaron Guy, thanks for putting in the time to share your knowledge. Clearly you have found that the key to happiness comes from self growth coupled with helping OTHERS.
@bicurious: Thank you sir! 🙂
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