Character and the Warm-Up Warm-Up


One of my favorite sayings is: the only way to punish a CrossFitter is make them warm-up longer. Why? Because you can’t tell all your friends about a warm-up PR, and there’s no beating your gym mate in a warm-up. In short, warm-ups are acts of little to no glory. So, in turn, we tend to view them as tedious and boring. However, the great John Wooden famously said:

“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

So, let’s shift our thoughts from warm-ups being tedious, to warm-ups adding character and integrity to our training.  Now, we all know that your coach is going to give you a great warm-up once the clock flips to 30 minutes past the hour, but what you may not know is that you can improve your athletic performance tremendously if you show up 15 minutes before class and do these few simple things:

1) Foam Roll
Foam rolling is the first step. It opens up the connective tissue, or fascia, that surrounds your muscles. This tissue stiffens up around the muscles as we sit or remain sedentary throughout the day.  It can also become stiff from previous days of training.  Foam rolling starts to increase flexibility and blood flow in the muscles so you can progress to more advanced mobility pieces throughout your warm-up.

2) Monostructural Movement
Airdyne, Jump Rope, Row, Jumping, Run, and the list goes on. Your goal here is to continue increase of blood flow to you muscles, and increase your heart rate. This is basically telling your body that its time to go to work by priming its fueling mechanisms.

3) Active mobility
We will define this as dynamic mobility (see below) that remains stationary.  Some examples of this are  leg swings, iron crosses, scorpions, bridge ups, sumo side to sides, squat to stands, and the list goes on. If you haven’t noticed, we are progressively challenging the soft tissue, and muscle length more and more with each step. Step 3 is basically getting you ready for step 4.

4) Dynamic Mobility
Dynamic simply means in motion. So you can think of dynamic mobility as stretching, or mobilizing while in motion.  A great example of this is our sequences that we do across the gym floor (elephant walks, bear crawls, spidermans, etc.) and/or the flow work we did yesterday in class.

5) Joint Mobility
To put it simply this is where you put your Mobility WODs and static stretching. These are the most difficult, and taxing elements of pre training mobility.  All the fun stuff that Kelly Starrett teaches should be implemented after spending some time progressing through the steps above. This progressive approach will increase the effectiveness of something like a mobility wod, static stretch, or yoga poses.

Now you have the simple outline to implement a great warm-up warm-up, but what are the details? Below is a simple example of this approach that can be utilized before tomorrow’s class in preparation for “Nancy”

:00 – :05
Foam Roll – Calves,Hamstrings, upper thorax, lats, hip flexors/Psoas, Quads

:05 – :07
200 M Row

15 leg swings/ direction/ leg  forward, back, and side to side

:08 – :10
Length of the gym once non stop
Elephant Walk, Spiderman, Prisoner Walk

:10 – :15
Perform one Mobility WOD for Squatting, and one for running
*Instructions are on the posters by the drink fridge

Boom! You’re ready to get warmed-up, and more importantly you’re taking more ownership of your training and progress.  That’s character folks!  Try it out tomorrow and let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Coach Wes