The warm-up; Part 2 : The specific warm-up

Kyle addressing scapular mobility/stability.

Kyle addressing scapular mobility/stability.

Last week we discussed the benefits of an efficient warm-up. If you missed it – read it here. This week we are going to build off of the last discussion and give some guidance on developing a specific warm-up.

A specific warm-up is precisely what it sounds like. Specific to your goal or intended function of the session. If you want to achieve your first chin-up, your warm-up exercises will prove to be very important. If you are rehabbing a shoulder injury, your shoulder warm-up should address your weakest/tightest areas. If you are going for a run, your warm-up should prepare your tissues and your technique for that upcoming run.

Sometimes – a specific warm-up can literally be to do the thing you are going to do! Back squats today? Just start squatting with an empty bar and increase the load steadily.

Below I want to give you a few key points for identifying what YOU need in a warm-up specific to you :

  1. Tailor the warm-up to resemble the actual movement you want to perform as CLOSELY as possible. It can even be the movement itself. Since it is a warm-up, consider reducing the load and/or the volume.

    • Back Squat with 25% of your 1RM for 10 reps – pausing at the bottom each repetition

    • Perform a set of 5 Ring rows – emphasizing scapular depression and retraction, before doing your chin-ups

  2. Isolate the shapes / positions achieved in the movement and extract them from the movement itself. Work on getting comfortable and strong in these shapes during the warm-up.

    • Perform the diagonal stretch for 15 reps with a 15 second pause in the final rep – in preparation for acrobatics

    • Perform a 5 min squat routine – emphasizing hip and spine rotation – in preparation for locomotion/lower body strength.

  3. (Joint Prep) Look at the structures involved in the movement, specifically address them through high repetition work to bring blood flow to that area, potentially for rehab/prehab or just for the sake of getting that structure ready for loading.

    • Tea-cups performed for 2 minutes ea. direction in preparation for QDR holds and circles (Scapula/Shoulder)

    • First knuckle push-ups in preparation for Handstands

These are just some thoughts on how you can approach the training session at hand today; or attack the weak links in your goals on a day where you might not be directly working on them.

We all know that a better warm-up makes for a better session, though over time the need for that warm-up becomes less and less.

I like the analogy my teacher Ido uses of the “driver and the mechanic”. I will use that analogy in next weeks article to dive deeper into the purpose of a warm-up and where it should eventually lead you.

I would like to assign you some homework.

Homework Assignment #1

  • Construct (2) specific warm-ups that you will use for the rest of this week to address either an immobility you are struggling with or potentially an old injury lingering. If you do NOT have tools to address this yet, consider working in a private session with your teacher to learn the BEST tools for YOU.

  • Share your warm-up in the comments. It may help others with ideas and/or give inspiration.