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The High Performance Journal

The Best Way To Warm Up For A Workout

get lean Oct 24, 2023

 The High Performance Journal​ ​ - October 24th 2023 


One of the most overlooked parts of a person's workout is the warm-up.

What most people do is hop on the treadmill for 15-20 minutes to "warm up" their bodies then go and do a workout.

Or they skip the warm-up and take their stiff bodies into the workout.

Both options are not how you want to prepare your body for the work ahead. They are also a path to eventually injuring yourself.

The purpose of a warm-up is to prep your body for the workout ahead. When done properly it should enable you to do 3 things:

  1. Improve your strength, power, speed, and endurance.
  2. Protect your body from injuries.
  3. Activate your nervous system & muscles for the workout ahead.

The good news is that this only takes 6 minutes to complete and when you do your warm up's this way you'll feel more secure in your body when doing any type of workout.

In today's article, I'm going to show you exactly how to do that.

The Best Way To Warm Up For a Workout

The best way to think of your warm-up is this:

It should prime your body for a great workout while also protecting it from getting injured. This is especially true for people who sit at desks all day.

When you sit for long periods you tend to cave your shoulders in, and de-activate your glutes, hips, and core, which ends up making you feel stiff.

So what should you do instead?

Use what I call the 6 Minute Superhuman sequence before every workout.

Step 1 - Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching is a movement-based type of stretching.

It uses the muscles themselves to bring about a stretch. It's different from traditional "static" stretching because the stretch position is not held. It is moved through.

There's a big difference between flexibility and mobility:

Flexibility is your ability to stretch a muscle to its fullest extent. Mobility is your ability to control a stretched muscle in movement.

Dynamic stretching takes your body through various stretches but doesn't hold them in place. You move through them.

An example of a dynamic stretch would be the World's Greatest Stretch:

 


Depending on your workout you want to do 2-4 of these stretches before to mobilize your joints and have them work through motion.

Step 2 - Neuromuscular Activation

Don't let the big name fool you.

Neuromuscular Activation means to activate your muscles and nervous system pre-workout.

When done properly this activates what we call a "sympathetic" state in your body. This elevates cortisol, releases endorphins, and literally wakes up your nervous system and muscles before a workout.

We use 2 types of exercises to achieve this:

  1. Bodyweight full-body cardio exercises like jumping jacks.
  2. Bodyweight exercises like glute raises or push-ups.
     


Step 3 - Pre-lift Activation

Once you're done with the warm-up above you want to further prime your body for the work ahead.

That's why before you get into your workout you want to do a warm-up set doing 50% of the total amount you intend to use in your first work set.

When doing this you want to apply a mind-to-muscle connection to the exercise and actually think about the muscles you're using while doing this.

This reminds you to use these muscles while under the intensity of a lift.

An example:

In your first set, you intend to do a working set of 100 pounds. This means before that you want to do a warm-up set using 50 pounds to pre-activate your body.

Focus on the glutes engaging, the core bracing, and the muscles you want to use in this exercise.

Doing this will go a long way to being able to use them when under more intensity.

Other Tips While Warming Up

  1. Start with the most clothes in the beginning then strip off as you get closer to the end of the warm-up. This increases body temperature and helps release synovial fluid into the joints.
  2. Set a mental intention with the workout ahead. Come in with a set intention of how you intend to do the workout as this goes a long way to perform the way you want to perform.
  3. Do your warm-up like a circuit. You want to flow from one exercise to another to increase core body temperature and heart rate.

The 6-Minute Superhuman in Action:

  1. Start with dynamic stretches that mobilize the areas of your body needed for the workout. Use stretches like the world's greatest stretch, hip swivels, lat stretches etc..
  2. Activate your nervous system using cardio exercises like jumping jacks. Activate your muscles using exercises like glute bridges.
  3. Do a warm-up set of 50% of what you intend to lift to prime your body.

This is the smart way to prep your body for the work ahead. When done properly it will have your body feeling more prepared for a workout than ever before.

Every person I've put through this says it makes a massive difference in how their bodies feel:


The Old Way of Warming Up is Dead. Do this Instead.

Gone are the days of jumping on the treadmill to get a little sweat in before your workout.

That's not needed, it takes too long and it might hold you back from your full potential.

Instead, you want to use your warm-up to prep your body for the work ahead. Mobilize your joints and prep your nervous system and mind for a great workout ahead.

Try this out in your next workout and let me know how it went.

- Dan

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