Don’t overthink your warm-up


I often see coaches and box owners overthinking their warm-ups. The goal of your warm-up should be the obvious: preparing the central nervous system and primary movers, as well as increasing core temperature.

There are a variety of ways we can accomplish the objective of preparing for our training session while not sacrificing precious time in our classes or our own training sessions.

With group programming, we have our clients for a limited amount of time each day, so being efficient with your warm-up is paramount.

It’s also important to remember that we set the tone for our class with the warm-up so having fun from time to time is important too.

Option #1, The General Warm-up

A dynamic warm-up is the “fail-safe” warm-up and has a number of great benefits. Simply getting your folks moving, increasing core temperature, and driving the sympathetic nervous system can all be accomplished with a simple dynamic routine.

These warm-ups can be done in a variety of manners even if you’re space is small.

Here’s a few ideas:

Again, it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Getting your people moving, laughing, and feeling ready to take on the challenges ahead is more simple than you think.

Option #2, Mini-workout or Complexes

Performing a “mini-workout” or a similar version of the workout that is scheduled on a given day will allow us to prepare the primary movers, increase core temperature, and save time for class logistics.

Mini-workouts may also allow us to break movements down that will help facilitate learning as well as ingrain proper movement patterns with our newer athletes.

For group programming, mini-workouts will allow us to maximize the time-management of our classes and save time for more coaching.

Lower Warm-up:

Upper Warm-up

“Complexes” are a great method of training that can effectively warm-up our folks up with minimal equipment, but specific aspects of your programming on a given day can certainly be thrown into the mix.

Again, this will maximize the efficiency of your class and save much needed time.

Here’s another example:

Scheduled Conditioning:
10 Box Jumps w. step down
10 Push Press
200 Meter Run

Mini-workout Warm-up
8 Box Jumps w. step down (1st & 2nd round perform alternating step-ups)
8 Bent-over Rows w. empty bar right into 8 Push Press w. empty bar
100m Run

Option #3 The Turkish Get-up

You’re probably thinking, “what does the TGU have to do with warming up!?” Years ago I attended a Chad Waterbury seminar. In the seminar, we learned a variety of drills, warm-ups, and correctives to prepare the body for training and improve deficiencies.

One of the points from that seminar was the effectiveness of simply getting up off of the floor to prepare the central nervous system for training.

Soon after I began experimenting with this I found that I actually did feel more prepared for my training session. This simple addition was easy to add without sacrificing too much time.

For group classes, I would recommend starting with the bodyweight variation and then progress to a light kettlebell, 5-7 reps per side. You’ll find this drill to be particularly effective with your early morning classes.

And the added bonus is that the TGU effectively trains core and shoulder control as well as preparing the CNS for the training ahead.

Option #4 Fun Warm-ups

Giving your folks the best hour of their day is our objective. An easy way to break the ice and create a fun atmosphere is by starting with some type of game that gets people moving, but more importantly gets them laughing.

Option #5 Coaches Choice

A good coach should be able to look at the programming and come up with an effective strategy that encompasses similar movement patterns that are in the programming for that day while preparing the body for the rigors of the training session.

Part of my job is providing a comprehensive lesson plan, but I still encourage gym owners to challenge their coaches to develop their own style and an easy way to do this for coaches to write their own warm-ups.

Our warm-ups should provide you with some ideas, but taking ownership is part of the process of developing your coaches.

Every coach has a different personality and it’s important for them to have the opportunity to inject their individual traits into their classes.

Putting it all together

Keeping your warm-ups simple, concise and fun is incredibly simple and will foster a great environment for your clients to train in.

We simply do NOT need to spend 20 minutes rolling around aimlessly on a foam roller.

Remember that our time is limited with our clients and if we spend the bulk of our time preparing to train, we won’t have time for the actual training!

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