With our busy days and stressful weeks having the best warm-up routine could help improve performance and reduce stress. We have to REMAP our mind and body to redirect it from work to training.
When preparing for training we almost always do not warm up enough, some of us don’t even warm up. Just getting under the bar ramping up and building up to your working set is not a great idea. You are not getting your nervous system ready, your muscles and joints will be stiff and you will be prone to injury. Before putting a bar on your back, before holding on to any weight, go through a proper warm-up routine based on what you are about to do.
The best way to warm-up before training is called REMAP.
REMAP covers all the necessary aspects of warm-up to help you prepare for your training. This warm-up includes; Muscles to be used, joints the will move, & nervous system preparation.
Purpose of the Warm-Up
Prepares your nervous system
Decrease risk of injury
Increase heart rate
Increase blood flow to muscles
Increase core temperature
Improves joint movement
Activates neuromuscular coordination and stability
Steps Needed to Warm-up (REMAP)
First step to warming up is to raise heart rate, increase blood flow, increase core temperature & increase breathing rate. This can be done through light intensity cardio like a light jog, elevated walk on a treadmill, or rowing machine to name a few. By doing this, you will greatly reduce the risk of soft-tissue injuries.
DO NOT do a full cardio workout before training. This only makes you tired which will affect the quality of your training.
When evaluating, we are looking at tight muscles, & stiff joints to loosen them up. This is where we add in foam rolling & stretching before training. Use necessary techniques and tools for releasing tight muscles and joints.
Do not spend too much time here, this is a preparation phase for our movements to create minimum improvement with range of motion. Full release and joint range of motion improvements are to be done on mobility days or after training.
Try using some dynamic stretches like leg swings, the greatest stretch etc. Do not hold a stretch for more than 10 seconds, this will relax the muscle and increase the risk of injury. We only want to go through small ranges of motion not full.
After evaluating, mobilization of joints is necessary. This is where we go through our joints’ natural range of motion to break down the “rust”. (I.E. Hip circles, Cat Cow, Arm circles..) Include movements in all planes of motion; Sagittal (Forward and Backward), Frontal (Left and Right), Longitudinal (Rotation).
After releasing some muscles and joints in the previous step, it is important to register some of the “new” found range of motion to help upcoming movements. This is like writing a paper, if you do not save your paper the time you put in that paper was useless.
Activation of key muscle groups are important after mobilization to create stability in the joints needed for the activity. Mini-band routine, balance work and isolation of the key muscles groups are great examples for this step.
This is also a great place to add in any correctives you may need such as activation of glutes, back, chest etc. whatever it is your body needs to improve, and support upcoming movements.
This step primes your body and nervous system to be prepared for higher intensity activities. Dynamic exercises is necessary for this step, i.e plyometrics that include unilateral and bilateral movements, ramping up where you gradually increase the weight on the bar while doing a certain amount of reps per ramp up sets. This is where we significantly reduce risk of injury by priming the nervous system so that it is able to fire the correct muscles at the right time and the at the proper rate. This is also another great place to add in correctives like balance, stability, explosions, speed and agility.
How long should your warm up take?
Your warm-up should only take around 15-20 minutes. Don’t make warming up complicated, it should not take half of the commit time to training just to warm up.
You can take one exercise for each step from the sample below and add it into your warm-up. Just remember to incorporate as much of the the key muscle groups and joints in. When you need to evaluate and/or mobilize other joints and muscle, target only what you need during your warm-up and move on. You cannot release and mobilize everything before training, do what you can and need to help you with your training session and work on improving range of motion and stiffness after training or on mobility days.