How long should you warm up for?
Most people see warm ups as a waste of time and give them less credit than they’re worth, leaving athletes with sub-par performance and higher risks of injuries.
Not only should your warm up be specific to the task that you’re going to be completing that day, but they should also be directly correlated to a number of other factors.
So, how long is a piece of string?
Exactly. It depends.
Just like your warm-up should depend on a number of factors.
- The workout of the day (WOD)
- Your history of injuries
- Your mobility
Here’s a few ways that we make sure our athletes are not only setting themselves up for the highest performance output for the day, but also ensuring they stay injury free.
1. The workout of the day (WOD) will determine how long the warm up should be and what is involved.
We need to take a few things into consideration for this (i.e. How long is the workout, which key movements are getting utilised and what is your history of this workout?).
Shorter workouts generally require a much longer warm up than longer workouts do. Yep, you read that right. Think about it… Shorter workouts are generally much more intense than longer workouts. If you’re comparing FRAN (21-15-9 Thrusters and Pull ups to MURPH (1.6km run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups etc), then you’ll notice that there isn’t much room for warming up on the job.
You want to ensure that your central nervous system is primed and your muscles have been exposed to some sub-maximal stimulus so they are prepared to be firing on all cylinders.
2. Your history of injuries will play a huge role in the way that you warm up due to the way they affect your motor patterns and neuromuscular feedback systems.
The most common reason for injury is re-injury, so to ensure that you’re not in that boat, we recommend spending an extra few minutes “greasing the groove” and following our RASM method which I’ll introduce in a minute.
3. Your mobility plays a major role in the warm up sequence as we know how important it is to not only be able to move through a large range of motion, but to also be able to produce strength whilst you’re there.
Over the last few years we have been trying and testing different warm up strategies and we now believe that we have nailed the most effective warm up strategy known to man. Our unique concept called RASM is to be done pre-warm up. You’ll spend between 2-5 minutes in each of these 4 specific areas before jumping into a more global warm up.
- Release: the muscles which are feeling tight, overworked or inhibited. This will alter the state of the CNS and allow for a change in the tonality of the muscle so they can perform as they were intended.
- Activate: the protagonist muscles that you will need for today’s workout. E.g glutes and quads before a squat session.
- Stretch: the antagonist (opposing) muscle group that you won’t be needing or may be inhibiting the range of motion for today’s lifts.
- Move: grease the groove with some sub-maximal movement patterns that replicate or will enable high-quality movement for today’s workout.
Once you’ve finished with RASM, you’ll then move into a more global warm up that will bridge the gap and progressively move you closer to the stimulus of the workout.
The global warm up will generally consist of:
- Increased heart rate and blood flow
- Progressively increasing load through a large range of motion of the specific movements you’ll be utilising that day
Does this sound like your warm up? Some questions to ask yourself are:
- Is my warm up both global and specific?
- Have I activated the muscles that I need for today?
- Have I altered/ down-regulated the tonality of the muscles that may inhibit my movement today?
- Am I moving well and through a large range of motion?
- Am I warm, is there blood flow and is my heart rate ready to get after the workout?
- Am I ready for the stimulus of today’s workout?
Or are you just going through the motions?