After an individual completes a dynamic warm up, you’re generally faced with a decision: do you begin the workout? Or do you prepare yourself for the workout further? To enhance the benefits of the workout itself and to further prevent injury, I almost always err towards preparing the body further- I call this period “Movement Prep” which is an extension of the Dynamic Warm Up. The goal with this series of exercises is to continue to raise the core body temperature, and to simulate the strength moves that will be coming up later in the workout. There is also a focus on power development as well, with the goal being to get an individual’s fast twitch muscles firing.
Too often, I see injuries occur in the gym because individuals are improperly warmed up. Jumping right into strength work is not always the best idea, even if you’re tight on time. Always give the warm up its due diligence, or else you’ll pay the consequences with time lost from the gym due to a potential injury.
This sequence should take no more than 8-10 minutes. There should be between 4 and 6 exercises, and contain the following components:
- Power Activation (Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers)
- Overall Strength
- Core Activation (Rotational if possible)
- Pushup Position Opposite Shoulder Taps
- MB T- Spine Slams
- Straight Bear Crawls/Lateral Bear Crawls
- TRX Rows
- Bird Dog
Pushup Position Opposite Shoulder Taps
MB T-Spine Slam
Straight Bear Crawls/Lateral Bear Crawls
Whichever option you choose, your start position is the exact same. Back flat, butt down, hips directly over top the knees. The key to both of these moves is your steps are “short and choppy.” For straight bear crawls, you’d move your opposite arm with your opposite leg, and make sure your knee drive is not past your elbow. I generally do between 4 and 6 steps up and back- for time (depending on ability, 20-30 s.). For a Lateral Bear Crawl, you’re moving the same arm with the same leg (like they’re connected with a string) laterally. I generally only do 2 steps each way with this one, again for 20-30 seconds.
Depending on what is coming next with the workout, and how much of a Dynamic Warm Up I completed, will determine how many sets the movement prep period is. On a normal workout day, 2-3 sets will do the trick, however if it’s an active rest day, and these moves will comprise the bulk of your workout, you can bump up to 4 sets.
Rep-wise, I’m usually in the 8-12 rep range with timed sets mixed in as well. You can do ALL reps or ALL time for the entire set, however, I like to mix it up within the set. The reason for this is because I feel that some exercises lend themselves more towards reps (i.e. MB Slam Variations- especially with warm-ups, because remember this is not a finisher), and others are better suited for time (PUP Opposite Shoulder Taps in particular).
- PUP Opposite Shoulder Taps- 20 s.
- MB T-Spine Slams- 5 e. side (10 total)
- Bear Crawls- 4 steps up & back (for 30 s.)
- TRX Rows- 10 reps
- Bird Dogs- 10 reps e. side
In terms of rest, I’ll start by talking about rest within the set. If you’re an advanced level trainee, you can crush this whole piece as a part of a giant set, with minimal rest in between. Beginner or intermediates should take as much rest as they need. Chart the amount of rest you need in order to perform the next exercise at a high level, then seek to improve that inter-set rest time, week to week. For example, if Week 1, it was taking you 45 seconds to moderately catch your breath to the point that you could transition to the next exercise, seek to make that number drop in the subsequent weeks. In between sets, your rest can be as quick as it takes you to grab a sip of water or as long as 2-3 minutes. Because I usually program corrective mobility last, that can serve as your “rest” and if you’re advanced enough aerobically, you can transition right back to your first exercise without much of a break. As always though, find what’s right for you, and seek to improve it.
The goal of this movement prep period should be to simulate the moves that are coming during your strength work to come. It is a hybrid of the dynamic warm up and your strength work, and will continue to get blood flowing to your working muscles. A movement prep period like this is often forgone to instead hit the first set of Bench Press or Squats. The reality is, most people do some sort of half-ass jog/walk on the treadmill or light resistance elliptical work to get “warmed up”- if they’re doing a warm up at all. Doing so little to get your muscles firing, is only asking to hurt yourself during your workout. I implore you to take the 10 minutes to add in a series of moves like these, get your muscles completely warmed up, then go crush the rest of your workout!
Yours in Fitness and Health,
Your Final Reward Will Be Heartache and Tears, If You’ve Cheated the Guy in the Glass.