A warm up is an essential part of your training session. Skipping it leaves you at higher risk of injury and leaves untapped performance on the table. So having a good warm up routine that you can adapt and build upon as your individual needs demand is a useful tool to have in your belt.
This warm up series I’m going to share is what I give to clients and what I use myself. It ticks a lot of boxes:
- gets your heart rate up
- builds mobility and stability in your shoulders and hips
- works on rotation and extension in your upper back (essential if you find yourself stuck at a desk all day)
- warms up your basic movement patterns of pushing, squatting and hinging.
- gets you into the right mental space for your training session.
Let’s break it down a bit.
Bear crawl/ hold – this is a great place to start. Shoulders, hips, core and quads all get targetted with this move. Either hold a static bear position for 5-8 breaths, or use a bear crawl for 4 steps out and back, 2-3 times for this. The bear crawl can be difficult so using the hold can be a good entry point.
T spine rotation/ Best stretch in the World – starting to get some upper back rotation and extension. I find that the full best stretch option is too much for some folks, hip mobility is a big player here, so if you struggle with it, you can either put your hands on a bench or plyo box to reduce the hip mobility demand, or use the kneeling T spine rotation instead.
Side plank – a little more core activation, and some shoulder stability demands. It can either be a static hold or a hip lift variation. The hip lift puts a little more demand onto your glutes to create the lift.
SL RDL variation – You’ve seen all those folks doing that leg swing thing as a warm up? Well, this is that same movement but with a bit of thought behind it. Taking your leg through a flexion-extension pattern (the same as the leg swingy thing) but under load (unlike the leg swingy thing). This creates the demand on your hip musculature to create stability through the range of movement you can control.
Squat/ Split squat – Either a bodyweight squat, or the split squat variation I’m going to talk about can work well. Both have their place. You can choose whichever works for you. The squat is a standard movement we all need to work on. You can do these with bodyweight or with a light load. The split squat variation is one I really like for a lot of people, it warms up the squat pattern and helps work on improving internal rotation which a lot of people lack. Make sure you stay upright through your torso, rotating yourself over your lead foot. Don’t let your knee drop inwards, keep it pointing over your lead foot and go through the best range of movement you can.
Pushups – This is an underrated exercise, often overlooked because it’s so basic. But it can be a fantastic tool in both your warmup and training. You can use either an incline pushup or do the full version on the floor, whichever is right for you.
While this isn’t an exhaustive warm up, it makes sure you are all ready to go into whatever your training session is. You can also add in any specific movements you feel you need to get going, building on this base as needed.
And even better, it only takes about 6-10 minutes to do, leaving you plenty of time to go crush your training session.