I’d say for 90% of my clients about 90% of the time perform my standard warmup. This entails an uphill walk on the treadmill or jog or possibly rowing machine for just a few minutes to elevate heart rate and increase blood flow. Then over to the turf area for some dynamic movement prep. Fancy code for stretching while walking. This ensures nothing is static or being held for too long. Since it can feel pretty good to hold a stretch, it can be easy to fall into this trap. However static stretching is not ideal right before exercising (there are exceptions).
Recently I’ve noticed clients maintain the sluggish pace they start out with, for the duration of the warmup. I come out to get them started and they are not prepared. We’re halfway through our first “working” set and it’s evident they are not warmed up.
A warmup should prepare your body for the activity you are about to do
20 lazy squats with a bare barbell doesn’t simulate any intensity you need during your working sets. We need to do a better job stimulating the nervous system during warm ups. Getting the heart rate up is not enough. Whatever your warmup preferences, if you aren’t doing these things your warmup is more useless than turd flavored lollipop.
Your warmup should do the following:
- Elevate HR
- Stimulate blood flow
- Excite the nervous system
- Prepare body for upcoming activity (need more correlation between warm up and activity being performed)
- Restore joint ROM
A standard time for warming up (ie. 5 minutes or 10 minutes) is not relevant. I have 13 year olds who take maybe 3 minutes tops to get going and up to 20 minutes with some of my middle aged desk jockeys. For myself, there are some days when I’m basically ready to go out of the box, and others where I’m approaching 10-15 minutes.
Warming up is a science, but also an art that takes time to figure out for yourself.