OK- So I stole that title…
But I like the mindset. We are here to do much more than just make people sweat and “get a good workout in”. We are here to be friends, mentors, leaders, and coaches. We want to be the catalyst for positive change in people’s lives.
We’re getting pretty deep here, when really all I want to talk about today was warm-ups. But, I think it’s a good mindset to have when designing and coaching the warm-ups. The typical trainer approach to a warm-up is to tell the client to “jog on the treadmill for 10 minutes and we’ll get going”. Yep- I used to do that too. It is literally what I was taught to do by my employer and all of the “Trainer Certifications” that I had taken. But that isn’t quite good enough for a Coach with “Excellence” as their title.
So I take a few different approaches to the warm up that I want to line out here. I would love to get your input on any other ways of developing our athletes too!
1st approach: A Copy of the WOD:
2nd approach: Skill development opportunities.
3rd approach: Physiological Preparation
Rather that talk about these three approaches in the abstract, let’s take a look at a few real-life examples by applying these to this week’s programming…
Training for the week of 130408:
EMOM 20 min:
Don’t sit between sets.
Keep grip over-handed as long as possible.
For this workout I see a couple of considerations. First, 100 Deadlifts is going to be taxing on the posterior (probably an under-statement). So I will begin with the approach #3 above (Physiological Preparation). I would like to start activating the posterior chain to maximize the nervous system’s response to each rep, maximizing muscle recruitment. I usually organize the structure of this type of warm-up in the following order:
Isometric (think super-man holds and butt-bridge holds) ,
Eccentric (lowering the body or weight with emphasis on the way down, think slowly lowering into a “Good-morning” stretch) ,
Concentric (Raising back up out of the “Goodmorning” and squeezing the glutes on the way up) then…
Dynamic (Swinging, Jumping, using momentum)
Loading (working up weight to prep the soft tissues for the stress to come)
The second consideration for this WOD is that it’s 20 minutes long and we have a 1 hour class to manage. If we allow 10 minutes to mobilize (foam roll) and get the heart rate up slightly with a short Row, then we need to make sure the rest of the warm up is sufficient activation but efficient time management.
So considering all of the above, a potential warm-up for this workout is as follows:
Foam-Roll and take turns on the rower for 500m. (Elevate heart rate with a pulling movement similar to the Deadlifts)
PVC Pipe Goodmornings, squeeze glutes on the way up. (Eccentric and Concentric Squeeze)
Gentle Torso Rotations w/PVC. (Slightly dynamic)
Golf Swing w/PVC. (More Dynamic)
Back squats w/PVC (Dynamic hip stretch and blood flow to lower extremities)
Barbell Speed Deadlifts (More Dynamic and begin Loading the tissues)
2- Warm-up Sets working up weight on the Deadlift (If WOD was heavier we would take more sets but 60% is not a “heavy” load)
Then… without resting perform 10 Turkish Get-ups (5 each side) 1.5p/1p
Ok, So this one is a body-weight only, “longer/cardio” type pf workout. Also, since we are limited in Rower capacity, we have to feed students through in heats. Even a movement like rowing, should have a warm-up phase because even though we consider all of these movements “unloaded” (forget the Turkish Get-up for now), the intensity applied to the movement is still stressful to the system.
Since time is a major consideration here we want to get people moving as soon as possible. If people take 5 minutes measuring their jump-rope and practicing singles, cross-overs and double-unders, they will be pretty warm systemically. A practice set of Sit-ups and Knees-To-Elbows should be sufficient to establish any need for scaling and modifications. If time allows I would instruct for the Turkish Get-up with lighter weights but this can be done with each student post-wod as well. Had this been a similar workout with a heavy load thrown-in, I would have focused my warm-up primarily on the loaded movement.
“7&7 for 7″
7 Min AMRAP:
7 Wallball 20/14
Finally a short one! Because we have “lots” of time for this class, we have an opportunity to use all three approaches to the warm-up. (Though for a larger class we may have 2 or more heats with the resting students counting reps for the working students)
This is a great day to look over our Skills & Drils board and see how we can add to the development of our student’s skill level. Since Wall-Ball and Burpees are both sucky- I mean both pressing movements, I would consider using the gymnastics portion of Day 1 as a skills focus session. To keep the group on task, I like to set a count-down timer for 10 or 15 minutes and direct the group together for the first round of movements. After the first round, I would use the remainder of the time to coach individuals to more advanced levels.
After the Gymnastics Skills portion, I think we still have time to practice some Weightlifting skills. Since the Wall-ball is the “loaded” movement and it mimics the front-squat portion of the Clean & Jerk, I would focus on the Day 2 Weightlifting drills for 10 minutes or so. I would allow more advanced students to work up weight a little on the clean (full squat).
At this point we should be 30-40 minutes into the hour and we can take a quick explanation and practice of the two movements of the WOD. Then 3,2,1…GO!
By choosing the specific skills above, we have now used all three approaches: #1: We practiced the movements of the WOD, #2: We had 25 minutes of directed skills development and, because we chose skills that mimic the WOD movements, we have also prepped the system, #3.
ME: 3 Front Squats, 1 Jerk
Taken from the rack. Complete all 4 reps before re-racking or dropping the bar.
Ahhh Yes! The Max Effort Day!!!
The good thing about Max Effort days is that they typically only involve 1 or 2 movements. However, because of the extreme stresses on the body, we should be primarily mindful of the physiological preparation aspect of the warm-up.If we follow the order hierarchy lined out above (Isometric, Eccentric, Concentric, Dynamic) we can assemble a warm-up that eases the system from sedentary to max efforts.
One more note before we start on this one: I like to consider common faults in the upcoming movements to address in the warm-ups. For the Front Squat, the most common faults I see are: Poor rack position (bar held in hands instead of resting on shoulders, low elbows), Knees buckling in, and anterior leaning (posture rounded and/or forward, heals coming up). Fixing the Rack Position on the shoulders and keeping the knees driven to the outside fixes 90% of all the problems that we typically see.
Warm-up: Mobilize Hips and Shoulders. Adductor stretch (to get knees out), Shoulder blade roll-outs and mobility drills, wrist extension (to address rack position). Use static stretching, then active, then dynamic.
The most common fault in the Jerk is a shallow landing, not getting under the bar. So we’ll address that when we get the the more dynamic part of the warm-up.
Here’s what it might look like:
Foam-roll and Lacrosse Ball focus on Adductors (to get knees out), shoulder blades, lats, triceps and forearms (for rack position)
Row for smaller class, run for larger. 400-500 meters.
Adductor Stretch from Hell.
“Paleo Squats” holding the bottom of an unloaded squat.
Shoulder protraction and retraction while hanging below the rings (in ring-row position)
Shoulder protraction and retraction standing with pvc out in front.
PVC Pipe Front Squats.
Jump & Land Drill for Jerks (correct landing position for each student)
Jump, Land and Punch the Sky Drill.
PVC 3 Front Squat & 1 Jerk.
Working out of the rack, practice taking the bar from rack and doing all three front squats and one jerk.
To maintain speed, only work in sets of 2-3.
Begin working up weight…
5 Rounds for time of:
4 Hang Squat Cleans @80%
This workout is a little longer but has such similar movement to yesterday’s that the same warm-up would be appropriate. Substitute the Jerk drills for Hang-Clean Drills. Work up weight to 80% might look like 5 @ 50%, 5 @ 60%, 4 @ 70%, 3 @ 80%.
Box jumps can be particularly traumatizing for the heals and calves so I would also add-in some SMR (foam-roll / lacrosse) for those areas. A good way to stay warm and practice all would be to do 2-4 box jumps between each set of warm-up hang-cleans.
2 minute work
30 sec rest
for max total reps:
Kettlebell Swings 1.5p/1p
Box Jumps (tire)
Paralette Jumps (over & back = 1)
Ok, it’s a fricking chipper. It’s going to take all the time we have just to explain the damn thing. Warm-up should just be a practice run of the WOD. Do 5 reps each and play with various scaling, substitutions and weights. (Just to keep everyone rotating correctly, I then have people stand in the starting station and practice rotating through in order upon my call of “rotate”)
Whew! I’m about done typing for today. Study this and re-read. It might be a good idea to study the first part of this article and then one of the above days. Then, the next day, re-read the first section and study the next day etc…
Another good exercise would be to use this post as a reference and practice writing your own warm-ups based on what I’ve lined out here.
Let me know in the comments what you are doing to develop your Coaching skills in helping your students prepare for success!