It’s not a good idea to go straight from sitting at a desk to running or lifting heavy weights. If training in an unheated shed in January while it’s snowing outside – warming up is critically important. Even if you train in a heated building or in glorious thirty degree delicious warming sunshine (I hate you) – warming up is still a very important component of training, but in that case, you can be thoroughly warmed up and ready to train safely in less than ten minutes.
Warming up properly elevates your core temperature, lubricates your joints and activates your muscles, which will help you perform much better during your workout and help keep you injury free.
To warm up effectively, start with five to ten minutes of continuous movement. Either riding a stationary bike, walking on a treadmill or skipping (with a rope like a boxer and not like a child). This is not meant to be a workout in itself, just do enough to break a sweat and get the blood pumping.
Then move on to mobilise the major joints of your body. I like to work from the top down, so your neck, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, ankles, elbows, and wrists. You should also activate the major muscle groups in the shoulders, hips and core (so your scapula, glutes and abs).
You don’t need to do every single mobility/activation drill for every body part, just focus on the body parts you will be training and any specific areas that need work.
You can do arm circles, shoulder dislocations, band pull aparts, scapular push ups, wall slides, handstands, planks, glute bridges, hip circles, bodyweight squats, etc.. There is also a ton you can take from yoga and pilates like Cat – Camels and Bird – Dogs.
A FULL BODY WARM UP
Here’s what my warm up looked like to get ready for some Balboa-style training in the snow:
1) Ten minutes of skipping
2) Overhead Bodyweight Squats (with holds in the bottom position)
3) Bodyweight Lunges (with twists)
4) Leg Swings
5) Hip Circles
6) Shoulder Dislocations
7) Band Pull Aparts
8) Scapula and Regular Push Ups
9) Mountain Climbers
10) Cat – Camels
11) Bird – Dogs
12) Glute Bridges
Including mobility and activation work in your warm up is not only going to help you kick more ass in your training session, it’s also going to help maintain the integrity of your body’s muscles and soft tissue in the long term – keeping you functional, active and injury free. So you can keep kicking ass.