Updated: Sep 16, 2021
A good warm-up will:
Increase tissue temperature (which enhances the muscular system)
Prepare the central nervous system (CNS)
"Prime" and improve mobility
Rehearse and improve overall movement patterns
Activate certain muscles to improve #stability
More specifically, here are reasons why these changes are so important.
1. INCREASE TISSUE TEMPERATURE
Whenever I think of this part of the warm-up it takes me back to when I played sports in my youth. Before a practice or a game, we never just jumped into it. We ramped it up with a proper warm-up, or drills, to make us #sweat. Even as a youngster I could feel the value of getting my heart rate up and breaking a sweat before the battle. I would feel more mobile and #flexible and have more vigor.
Later, I would see why this worked so well. When you increase core body temperature you also improve #muscle tissue extensibility. This, in turn, enhances movement and performance. Muscles can contract more rapidly and move more dynamically with higher tissue temperature.
2. PREPARE THE CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM (CNS)
The central nervous system is so important to movement that I don't even have the proper education to dissect it. The CNS is an amazing system that controls just about everything in our body.
For years I have been someone who likes to work out right after I wake up. On at least three days of the week, I set my alarm for 3:50 am and shoot to start my workout no later than 4:30 am. Once I start to warm up and get a sweat going, the body starts to wake up. Then when I start to either throw a medicine ball, jump some rope, or roll and #crawl on the ground I can feel my body preparing for the lifting to come.
This feeling happens because a proper warm-up can increase the sensitivity of our nerve receptors and increase the speed of the nervous system impulses. It's the #communication tool between the nervous system and the muscular system prior to the workout.
3. PRIME AND IMPROVE MOBILITY
In my experience with performing the functional movement screen on hundreds of clients, lack of mobility in the #ankle, hip, and thoracic spine pop up the vast majority of the time. So, enhancing and improving mobility is something we all need to accomplish. It's the main reason why we warm up, to improve range of motion. If we want to #squat that day, we will need to enhance our ability to squat and that is where mobility work comes in. It helps get synovial fluid into the joint, lubricating it thus helping us to move better.
4. REHEARSE AND IMPROVE OVERALL MOVEMENT PATTERNS
This is another important part of the warm-up. It covers a lot of bases and helps a variety of factors such as mobility. CNS and tissue temperature. It also gets the body and mind connected to the coming movement. We can use low-level loads to help improve that movement.
Let's take the #deadlife, for example. If we are doing deadlifts that day I like to start with some basic hip hinge movements with no load. Then hop over to a light kettlebell deadlift. Then on to the bar with a low-load on it. By the time we are ready to crank up some weight, the body already has primed the pump to lift with solid form.
5. ACTIVATE CERTAIN MUSCLES TO IMPROVE STABILITY
Most of our daily habits require sitting a lot and performing poor posture. So, I want to take the opportunity in the workout to ignite these sleepy muscles. The glutes, middle back, and core musculature could all use some extra attention in the workout. In the warm-up, we can utilize remedial exercises to help train muscles to work a little better.
On a personal note, I have experienced tremendous benefits from muscle activation exercises. In the past two years, I have had two dip surgeries and two herniated discs. I notice a dramatic difference when I include glute exercises and Stu McGill (leading spine researcher) core type #protocols into my routine.
If I skip them, my body will let me know.
In essence, all of this essentially helps us to increase performance.