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How to Warm-Up Before Your Workout (Part 2)

Chris Martin

Chris obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern New Hampshire University, and is also a Certified Kettlebell Trainer-IKFF...

Chris obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern New Hampshire University, and is also a Certified Kettlebell Trainer-IKFF...

Nov 17 5 minutes read

How are you warming up before your workouts? 

10 minutes on the treadmill? 

Hitting a couple of static stretches? 

We at DSC do our best to make sure that all the gaps in traditional warm-ups are filled and our members are ready to workout!

To quickly recap, we warm-up to:

  • Increase core temperature
  • Increase blood flow
  • Improve range-of-motion and posture
  • Increase performance (speed, strength, stability, cardio)
  • Delay fatigue 
  • Decrease your risk of injury

To read more about why you should warm-up, click HERE for part 1 of warm-up series. 

The first step in your warm-ups is what we call Pillar Preparation.  

You might be asking “what the heck is pillar prep?”  So, let’s begin by defining the pillar and its anatomy. 

To start, it is an incredibly important part of the body.  

It links the upper body with the lower body by providing a solid connection from the shoulders, down to hips, into the floor, and from the floor back into the upper body. 

You may or may not have heard this called kinetic linking or the kinetic chain. 

Our body works as a unit so specifically, the pillar involves the dynamic interaction of the shoulders, torso, and the hips.  Think of it as your trunk. 

The sharing of this dynamic (moving) interaction between these three elements is what allows for effective movement patterns.

This preparation is the first step in creating pillar strength.  Meaning that the shoulders, hips, and torso are working together as one cohesive unit - not separate. 

This starts with 3 distinct components.   Soft tissue work, mobility and stability/activation.

Lets get into your pillar prep! 

#1 Soft Tissue Work

This is the first step in your warm-ups. 

Here is where you’re trying to work out and loosen specific facial adhesions or knots. 

That is a fancy way of saying stiff and tight spots in your muscles and joints. 

Different tools for the job could be a foam roller, massage stick, or lacrosse ball.  

This is the first opportunity to stimulate more local blood flow to the specific areas of tissue that will be worked in your training session.  This will aid in loosening the stiff areas as well as providing nutrients and energy to your muscles. 

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Foam rolling
  2. Trigger point work

We use both techniques with our members. 

Foam rolling involves a foam roller and helps to loosen and massage more broad areas of your body including your thighs, hamstrings and lats. 

To learn how to foam roll and why it's important, click HERE

Trigger point work allows you to work smaller, more specific areas of your body using a lacrosse ball. 

Below you will find some foundational exercises involving trigger point.  

#2 Flexibility & Mobility

Once you've restored the quality and stiffness of your tissue, it is time to increase your range-of-motion. 

To do this, we start specific ground-based flexibility or static stretching drills. 

These work to increase the passive range-of-motion at various joints like our ankles, hips and shoulders as well as typically stiff muscles like your quads, calves, glutes and pecs. 

These stretches allow you access to more potential range-of-motion during your workout. 

Here are a few of our favorite pre-workout stretches. 

1) Half-kneeling quad stretch with reach

2) Pigeon stretch

3) Calf stretch

4) Rack lat/shoulder stretch

Hit each for :30-1:00/side while working on deep, controlled breathing.

We follow up our ground-based stretches with mobility work. 

Think of these as moving stretches where the idea is to work the joint through their full, active range-of-motion. 

Here you can focus on specific areas that will be worked in training.  Or, whatever your specific needs might be. 

Check out the video below for our favorite mobility drills.   

#3 Activation

Now that our muscles and joints have the right range-of-motion, it's time to activate certain areas of our body.

This means we are increasing the recruitment and firing of certain muscles. 

Think of this as turning on the light switch of your muscles. 

We aim to turn on certain muscles that are typically "off" and have big time injury prevention qualities like your glutes and abs. 

This will aid in the stability of your joints -- especially your knees and low back. 

Check out the video below for our favorite foundational activation exercises.

Check back for the final part of our warm-up series -- The Movement Prep

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