By Soji James, CPT, CSCS
These days finding time to do anything can be harder than getting your hands on a Supreme x Louis Vuitton collab. Everyone is busy with a seemingly unlimited number of priorities. When it comes to our workouts, it’s not the bicep curls or extra ab work that suffers as a result of this; it’s usually our warmup.
As opposed to looking at this portion of your workout as disposable, I want you to think of it as the holy grail of potential results. A well-executed warmup serves to raise your core body temperature, increase joint lubrication, and primes your heart & muscles so they are ready to execute when it’s showtime. The beginning of your workout is also a great time to address any unique movement issues and to prep your body for the specific movements you plan to conquer that day.
You wouldn’t drive your car in the snow without warming it up first, at least if you cared about its long-term performance. I want you to treat your body with the same respect.
No matter how flexible a muscle is, if the tissue surrounding it is restricted, the muscle won’t operate how it is intended to. Self-myofascial release is like having your own personal massage therapist on speed dial. Using a foam roller prior to your training session can reduce tissue tension, break apart adhesions, and enhance muscle range of motion so that you get more out of each movement in your workout. I like the Rumble Roller, which comes in multiple sizes and “firmness” levels. Your tight, aching muscles will thank you.
Increasing your core body temperature prior to beginning your workout is important to both prevent injury and enhance your performance. If time is extremely short, you’d be better off cutting out the other components of your workout in favor of warming up your muscles. There are two main tools I tend to blend into this section of my warmup. First, jump ropes are extremely underutilized pieces of training equipment. They are awesome for coordination and train lower body reactive strength while engaging the upper body. With a bunch of potential variations in jumping style, you can always switch it up as well! I like to keep it simple with the Survival Cross Jump Rope.
Secondly, I love using agility ladders. While they aren’t going to enhance your rate of force development and quick feet don’t necessarily utilize the ground well to produce real speed, the ladder can be a fun training tool that warms you up while also focusing on body control, coordination, and other aspects that can positively affect athletic performance. I like the agility SKLZ Ladder from SKLZ for a unique way to get my body ready to perform.