Learn some of the best warm-up movements taken from ARC Functional Training Bootcamp.
The concept of warming up before exercise is recognized by most, yet understood by few. A quality warm-up prior to any mode of exercise is necessary to prepare the body’s systems for the demands of the activity. There are two sequenced components to a good warm-up: the general warm-up and the specific warm-up. A general warm-up consists of 5-10 minutes of low intensity aerobic exercise that gradually increases in difficulty from start to finish. It is designed to slowly increase the heart rate, get blood flowing and increase internal temperature to facilitate muscle contraction. This portion of the warm-up can be performed in any manner; good examples include using standard cardiovascular equipment (treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, etc…) in the gym.
The more technical and arguably more important portion of the warm-up is the specific warm-up. This phase of the warm-up is focused on preparing the neuromuscular (nervous system/muscles) and musculoskeletal (tendons/muscles/joints) systems for the movements and intensity that will occur during the body of the workout. Depending on the planned workout for the day, this portion of the warm-up could last another 5-10 minutes. The ideal specific warm-up will change for each workout to include correct preparatory movements for the workout to follow. For example, if the workout consists of upper body resistance exercises like bench press, lat pulldowns, overhead presses, etc… the specific warm-up will include movements with the same joint actions and ranges of motion such as shoulder articulations, scapular rotations (scapula is the bone that connects the upper arm bone with the collar bone) and light weight sets of the same exercises.
As the idea of the specific warm-up has progressed, the importance of properly warming up muscle synergies has become popular. This style of warming up is appropriate for the functional training exercises currently dominating the training industry. The dynamic warm-up performed in this video is focused on preparing the entire body “specifically” for a resistance training workout. It includes all three planes of motion (sagittal, frontal and transverse) and emphasizes most of the major joint actions. It transitions from relatively stationary movements to progressively more dynamic movements. The intensity increases steadily to lead into the main portion of the workout. This warm-up is ideal to counteract common patterns of dysfunction that we adopt when sitting around during the day. The primary areas of focus are the anterior and posterior oblique systems, the deep longitudinal system and the lateral subsystem. Performing these movements prior to a total body workout will effectively prepare your body to participate in most multi-joint exercises.
Next time you are at the gym try cutting your general warm-up down to 5 minutes and then immediately follow with the warm-up movements from this video. Perform as many joint circles as feels comfortable focusing on slow speed and range of motion. Select a small weight (2.5-5lbs) for the loaded movements and perform 5-10 repetitions on each side of the body. To complete the warm-up, perform 5-10 lunges on each side of the body for each plane (sagittal, frontal and transverse). Remember your posture check at the beginning of this video and have a safe, effective and most importantly biomechanically correct workout!
By Sarah Kirtland, ARC Fitness Lead