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Warm-Up Warriors: Overboard or on Target?

“It’s cool to pee your pants”- Billy Madison (Adam Sandler)


Obviously that’s a load of B.S., it’s not cool to pee your pants, it’s probably the exact opposite of cool, it’s anything but cool, it’s totally uncool……

and that’s how I feel about warm-ups….

Seriously, they suck, they are UN-COOL. No matter how many articles I read about how awesome the foam roller is or this stretch is or that mobility drill is they all suck as far as I’m concerned. They are boring as hell and detract from time that can be spent being awesome (smashing weight, eating meat, being a costumed crime fighter)

Darth Vader + Batman + Light Saber duel= Awesome stuff which warm-ups detract from

But here’s the deal: YOU GOTTA DO THEM…ALL THE TIME, EVERYTIME, WITH A PURPOSE (you should take that last line very seriously because it was written in all caps and bold  which implies that I’m either
A. saying it quite forcefully to convey they importance
B. I’m yelling it
….and you know what, all things being equal more is probably better….I know, THAT SUCKS….

Sometimes things that are good for us suck…a lot.

Deal with it.

Waaaay too many people either skip warm-ups or do something that is half -assed and nonsensical.  Too many guys jump on the bench put 135 on the bar and press away. That’s incredibly stupid….

Yeah, it may suck but take the time and prepare your body to lift, run, jump, deliver elbows from the top rope..To parahrase weight training Yoda Jim Wendler, “I’d rather spend 30 minutes getting ready to train and have a few good lifts than jumping right in and having a shitty day”…Truth

But lately I’ve noticed there’s been a disturbance in the force. I think too many people have taken the whole “corrective exercise”, dynamic warmup, foam rolling is the cure for what ails you thing too far…

I’ve noticed more and more people  competing for the undisputed World Champion of  Warm-ups belt and not spending any meaningful time or effort actually training…. remember, that thing you warm-up for in the first place.

There are a handful of guys and girls who come into the gym and literally everytime I see them they are doing some type of warmup/ mobility/ corrective exercise….these people are in a virtual love affair with the damn foam roller.

They’re warming up to warm-up…it’s freaking disgusting.

Mind you, these are healthy capable people who sometimes actually do lift and are capable of approaching awesomeness but for some reason I think they read one too many articles by some internet Yoda and didn’t think about things for themselves. For a healthy 20 something to have a 30- 45 minute warm-up and then train like my grandmother is a serious misplacement of priorities 99% of the time…Especially when YOU CAN ACTUALLY TRAIN! i.e. SFW (Smash F*cking Weight)

Now one of my clients is going to read this and be all like, “You make me warm-up for a long time” 

My response: “Yeppers, cause you’re 50, just sat at work for the last 8 hours had knee surgery 2 years ago and only get physical activity when you see me two times a week. So ummmm, yeah your ass is gonna have a 30 minute warm-up and I’m  good with that, you should be too”…..

My personal warm-up guide goes like this (in general, every person is different):

Age:                                                 Time:
15-25                                               10 minutes
25-35                                              15 minutes
35-40                                              20 minutes
40-50                                              25 minutes
50+                                                  30 minutes

Perfect? NO

Does it seem to work pretty well? YES!

Why? Older clients tend to need more of everything in terms of tissue work (foam roller), mobility (stretches, movement drills)  and activation (band stuff, iso holds). They’ve spent a lot of their life either:

A. Being sedentary and getting locked up, tight and weak with a host of “turned off” muscles
or
B. Being a weekend warrior accumulating nagging chronic injuries, getting locked up and forming really faulty movement patterns to compensate not to mention all the F-ed up things they’ve done at the gym…think BOSU balls, Yoga backbends, group exercise in general…

So just being able to get them into a state where they can achieve the correct positions to train safely takes a couple minutes of rolling, loosening things up, moving  and turning things on. A nice side effect to these long warm-ups with older clients is they start to feel better as they loosen up and they think you’re ( I’m) a genius.

Side Note: (this is totally stolen from Mike Boyle) if a (older) client want’s to spend more time on the foam roller, warming up etc. – LET THEM…seriously, will it hurt anything? They like it because it makes them feel better…

Point being: Warm-ups are a tool, they are necessary, keep you safe and allow your training to be more awesome. Believe me, I used to be one of those just use your first lift to warm-up cause that’s all you need ass-hats and that my friends was class A jackassery.

 Get prepared to train but don’t be King of the Warm-ups at some point you have to actually lift some weights, run and jump. Let’s face it, you’re coming to the gym because you want to “correct” something be it weight, strength, body comp etc. and the fact is you’re not going to correct any of those by winning the war of the warm-ups…..

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