This week’s article is the first in a three-part series dedicated to Mobility and Flexibility training. In my time as a coach this has always been my greatest focus for my clients, and one of the things that can really separate an okay workout from a great one!
Mobility Series: The Warm Up and The Why
There are many reasons for this but the key parts are really centralized to priming the body for the task of taking on a workout. So, get the note pad out and let’s get rolling!
The process of warming up for a workout varies widely in most gyms. As a coach, I have seen many people come into the gym, chat it up with a couple of other regulars, put on their wrist straps and proceed straight into their workouts! I have also seen various other members come in and do 10 to 15 minutes of static stretching before trying to go and complete three rounds of squats shooting for a new max. What both types of warm ups have in common, is that they are not prepping the body for what it is seeking to accomplish. One pushes the body into a workout completely “cold,” while the other disengages the muscles and actually can lead to an increased risk of injury.
The ideal scenario is to understand what your core movements are of the day’s workout.
Since it’s Monday, otherwise known as “International Chest Day,” we will focus on the bench press movement! To quickly summarize Bench Pressing, it involves the capacity to optimize shoulder stability, thoracic stability, and pelvic stability while focusing on the generation of force coming through primarily the pecs, the anterior deltoids, and the triceps. Now looking at where force is being generated we should develop our warm up to prime us for this lift.
Step one is to get the blood moving. For my programs this would generally come from a low impact cardio form or more active forms such as a dynamic stretch routines (Something like jumping jacks, High Knees, Butt Kickers, etc.) for about 5 minutes. Now your heart rate should be slightly elevated acting to get blood throughout all portions of the body in a sense warming it up.
We can then go to our next step which is designated as mobility training for the Bench Press, with the aim being to make sure that both muscle agonist (pecs, anterior delts, and Triceps) and antagonist (posterior delts, the lats, and biceps) are all optimally mobile. For this you should designate techniques such as lacrosse ball smashing (like foam rolling, which can also be done), or tack and floss methods to truly restore the tissues full mobility. Many of these techniques will be shown in future videos (Waiting on the tripod so stay tuned!).
Once warmed up and mobilized, we can set up to bench. It is ideal to begin with a couple of warm up sets to once again push blood to where it is needed most and to keep the mobilized groups mobile. I usually advise two warm up sets for most strength and hypertrophic goals, but if you are aiming for powerlifting you may want to tack on one more set. Once the lighter warm up sets are completed load up the bar, and happy lifting!
Understanding your “Why” and setting it daily will help you establish the proper warm up for each day and every goal, ultimately being critical to your success. With a why, there is reason, and with reason we can find direction. This will ensure that you are successful in your health and fitness goals whether that is dropping body fat that you have wanted to lose for years, or becoming an aspiring fitness model or competitor.
If you know your why, and need help with your direction do not hesitate to message me! I am more than happy to give some tips and tricks that I have used over my fitness career as a coach to those in my Warrior Family!
Stay tuned for the next part of the Mobility Series!!