Are you still going into the gym and straight to your stretching mat with cold muscles to “warm up” before a workout? I hope not!
I have a special guest for today’s episode: Jason McQueen of McFit Personal Training. Jason has 17 years of experience in the fitness, strength and conditioning world. He is my personal trainer 2 times per week and one of my four original apprentices learning the work fascial integration work I’ve developed (and he’s almost done with his training!)
Jason is here to show us the safest and best way to warm up before a workout:
You’ve heard me say a hundred times by now that I’m not a fan of static stretching at all, and this is especially true if you’re going into a workout cold and looking to ‘stretch’ before you get after it.
There may be a lot of people who will disagree with me on this, but personally I’d rather we not stretch at all before something like a trail run and use the first minute or two to run slow and easy as our “warm-up” than go through a 10 minute static stretch routine with cold muscles. So if you’re pressed for time and you just want to run, go for it. Just don’t sprint straight out the door and expect your body to automatically become fluid and “warm” right away; ease into your fast pace and your body will thank you.
If you ARE looking for a better way to warm up and you have a few minutes to spare before your workouts, dynamic stretching is my absolute favorite way to do so.
What this means is we are moving our bodies dynamically rather than statically; we’re MOVING through stretches without holding them for more than a few seconds. This takes our muscles and fascia through flexion and extension in easy, natural ranges of motion, starts to pump blood and lymph through our system and actually does “warm” our bodies up in a gentle, gradual way.
There are a TON of dynamic stretches out there. Today we are covering a BASIC and simple routine that you can use before any workout, whether in the gym or outside on the trail or a soccer field.
You may want a sport specific routine if you’re a serious athlete, or perhaps you want a FULL dynamic stretching routine. We’ll be showing you sport specific dynamic warm-ups in coming episodes and we’ll definitely get you access to a full routine soon.
If you want to UP your warm-up game to top notch:
If you have 15-30 minutes before a workout and you want to dedicate this time to injury recovery and/or prevention and give your body the BEST chance of performing well, use some of your favorite dynamic stretching techniques, add in a few PNF stretches (click here for my how-to video for PNF stretching) and then use your foam roller, lacrosse ball and other mobility tools to target key areas of your fascia to optimize your soft tissue’s health.
Give this a try and boost the quality of your workouts!