• Warm-Ups Under the Microscope
    The humble warm-up is an essential component of any exercise regime, whether it is a 20-minute light workout or a more intense session lasting three hours. However, do we really know how to optimally prepare our bodies for exercise? This article attempts to answer that very question. By investing some time in preparing the body and mind for what is to come, you’ll gain the tools to maximize your performance and of course your training outcomes.
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  • Warm-Ups Under the Microscope
    The humble warm-up is an essential component of any exercise regime, whether it is a 20-minute light workout or a more intense session lasting three hours. However, do we really know how to optimally prepare our bodies for exercise? This article attempts to answer that very question. By investing some time in preparing the body and mind for what is to come, you’ll gain the tools to maximize your performance and of course your training outcomes.
  • Four Stages Client WarmupsLooking for warm-up templates and full-color photographs? Check out Richard Scrivener's full-length article in the Personal Training Journal 
     
    During my time as a health and fitness professional, working with a variety of individuals from elite-level world cup winning athletes to sedentary out-of-shape folk, the workouts each and every one of them have completed all began with the same approach—the warm-up.  
     
    Of course, they would not all be expected to prepare for physical activity in the same way so I follow the rule of SAID (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands). In a nutshell, this means I have tailored all of my client’s warm-ups to be specific to a) their level of conditioning and fitness, and b) the main workout they will complete. So in this respect, you want to plan the warm-up after planning your main session because how can you prepare, if you don’t know what you’re preparing for?  
     
    An important first question to address is of course the purpose of the warm-up. This can be answered from two perspectives: physiologically (changes inside the body) and psychologically (thought processes).
    As we explore how to build the optimal warm-up below, we’ll see how the physiological and psychological preparation unfolds. Some thought should precede the main body of your workout (which energy systems to challenge, what exercises to include, how many sets and reps to use etc.), the warm-up too, should be structured and considered.  
     
    It needn’t take up too much of your total workout time (see Table 1), and of course each warm-up will vary in its content and exact timings depending on the main session to follow. By following the proposed warm-up structure below, you will optimally prepare your body and mind and allow for a great workout to be achieved.
     
    Warm-Up Stage 1: Mobility
    Mobility work involves using your muscles to “open up” the joints needed for the workout. Mobility exercises increase body temperature, thereby warming up the soft tissues—the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia.

    Warm-Up Stage 2: Pulse-Raise (3-10 min)
    This is considered the typical warm-up stage consisting of moderate-intensity exercise, gradually increasing in effort and intensity to match the upcoming demands of the workout.

    Warm-Up Stage 3: Dynamic Stretching and Movement-Based Flexibility (2-10 min)
    Recent research suggests that a more appropriate type of stretching involves a dynamic warm-up. A dynamic warm-up is movement-based, and takes the joints through a full range of motion. Stay away from static stretching whenever possible.

    Warm-Up Stage 4: Movement Practice (2-10 min)
    Following stages 1-3, have your client perform movements matching the workout exercises. For example, if your client will perform weighted squats, have them perform bodyweight squats and gradually increase the weight.
     
     
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    About the Author:

    Richard Scrivener, MSc, CSCS

    Richard Scrivener currently resides in London, UK, where he works as a Health, Fitness and Nutrition Lecturer for Premier Training International. Richard has previously worked as a Premiership Rugby Union Strength and Conditioning Coach and holds the NSCA’s CSCS credential. He previously studied at Brunel University gaining an MSc in High Performance Physiology and Human Performance.

    REFERENCES →

    Read the full-length article! Scrivener R. Warm-Ups Under the Microscope. Personal Training Journal. 9(1):8-17

  • Disclaimer: The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) encourages the exchange of diverse opinions. The ideas, comments, and materials presented herein do not necessarily reflect the NSCA’s official position on an issue. The NSCA assumes no responsibility for any statements made by authors, whether as fact, opinion, or otherwise. 
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