Demystifying the Warm-up

The Warm-up, something that people have been doing for ages.  A lot of us see it as an unnecessary evil, and so when push comes to shove, we skip the warm-up. I know I'm guilty of that. But the truth is it's something we shouldn't skip.

Here's the crazy thing, a warm-up done right can actually improve health, and performance.  However, there's a lot of confusion surrounding the warm-up. Many of us think doing a run on the elliptical is enough.  That's on the right track, a warm-up does need to increase our core temperature but there's more that's involved.

At HPI we focus on three things, borrowing from renowned trainer Mike Robertson in which he calls them the "Three R's".  And no it's not reduce, reuse, recycle... Rather they are, release, reset, and ready.

  • Release - This is the first and arguable most important stage of the warm-up.  Basically you are foam rolling.  The purpose is to help break up scar tissue, and release knots.  The better and more efficiently we can do this the more prepared our body will be for subsequent movement and performance.
  • Reset - So now that we've got our muscles ready for movement, the next thing that is just as important is coordinating them to fire better.  Often we'll include a diaphragmatic breathing drill as well.  The whole purpose of this phase is focusing on foundation muscles that need to be activated, such as the diaphragm, core, and glutes. Much like the release phase, this will better enable our subsequent performance as these are the muscles that stabilize the spine, and produce the best results when working properly.  
  • Ready - So now that we got our muscles massaged, and activating, we now focus on getting them moving. Usually we'll start with ground based mobilities to better prepare the joints and central nervous system, then work our way up to something like skipping and sprinting to get the core temperature elevated.  However, without the previous two phases this phase is no where near as effective, because the muscles will be restricted, and the lack of stability in the midsection will reduce the effectiveness of the mobilities. 

All three of these phases are needed, as they all help stimulate our nervous system and muscles for better and safer performance.  As we continue to discuss warming up next week I'll discuss just what these three phases look like.


Did what I say make sense? Confuse you? Or sadly ruin your day? Or did it totally blow your mind, and make you feel that much more awesome? Either way, please comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts.