In my "Building a Beast" series, we're going to break down a full training cycle and look at every part needed to become a stronger, faster version of yourself. Naturally, everyone is different and will respond differently to the same training protocol. But, hopefully this will give you a good look at how to structure a training cycle and how you can adapt it for your own needs.

This installment deals the warm up. I’ll talk about what why you should include a warm up, what the warm up should do, and what to include in the warm up.

Why warm up?

I know, I get it. Warming up isn't that fun and it really isn't sexy. No one walks into the gym and says "wow, look at that guy warming up,  that's so cool"...

But most of the time, what you do for the first 10 minutes of your workout will drastically affect your performance thereafter.

Here are four items that a warm up should address and why.

  • Warm the joints and the muscle tissue and increase your body’s core temperature. Just increasing the core temperature by a little bit will drastically increase the viscosity of the synovial fluid in your joints. Ever notice how your joints might be a little cranky until get fully warmed up? Getting them heated up will allow them to move and feel better. You also want to increase blood flow to the muscle tissue to get it ready for your first exercises.

  • Address any mobility/postural issues. Training should always address any imbalances in the body. If you tend to sit a lot then most likely you will have overly tight hip flexors. The warm up is the perfect time to address this.

  • Activate any inhibited muscle groups. Using the example above, if your hip flexors are overly tight then you probably have inhibited glute activation. The glutes play a major role in lower body locomotion as well as stabilizing the lumbar spine. A simple glute activation drill, such as x-band walks, will help correct this.

  • Prime the central nervous system for the main exercises. If your central nervous system isn’t firing on all cylinders then you’re leaving results behind. Your muscle tissue won’t be as activated as it could be and your workouts will feel a bit slow.

 

Sample Warmups

Naturally, you're going to need to warm up differently if your training focuses on the upper or lower body, so here is a sample warmup for each one.

Lower body

  • Deep Squat w/ Lat Stretch x30”

    • old on to something sturdy in front of you. When you squat, your hands should be about eye level. Sit back into the stretch.

  • X-Band Walks x10/side

  • Wall Slides x1

    • Place your butt, upper back, and head against a wall. Put your arms against the wall with shoulders and elbows at 90°. Move them up and down as far as possible maintaining elbow and wrist contact with wall.

  • Hip Circles x6/side/direction

  • Side Lunges w/ Overhead Reach x8/side

  • T-Pushups x6/side

  • Heel to Butt Quad Stretch to Walking Lunge x8/side

  • Squat Jumps x10

  • Start ramping up on the first exercise of the program

 

Upper body

  • Cross Position Twists x5/side 

    • ut arms straight out to side. Simultaneously rotate thumbs backward and pull your arms back as far as possible to stretch the chest.

  • Lunge Back w/ Upward Reach x5/side

  • Forearm Wall Slides at 135° x8

    • tand 12" away from wall with forearms along wall. Slide arms up wall to make a Y shape, then pull arms straight overhead. Bring back down along same path.
       

  • Band Pull Aparts x12

  • Yoga Push ups x12

  • Pullups/Rows x12

  • Bear Crawl x40’

  • Explosive Push ups x10

  • Start ramping up on the first exercise of the program

 

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