No biggie, you think to yourself, I do this 5 days a week, missing one warm-up won’t kill me.
Well, ok, maybe it won’t KILL you, but you just increased your chances of getting injured. Go you!!
The warm-up could possibly be the most crucial part of the workout. We use the warm-up to prepare the body, both mentally and physically for the challenges that lie ahead in the WOD. The warm-up activates the CNS (central nervous system), stimulates blood flow to the muscles, elevates your heart rate, and loosens up the joints. Also, movement specific warm-ups (air squats, push-ups, pass-throughs, etc.) help increase mobility and provide you with an opportunity to practice technique. We all know that perfecting technique is the key to nailing successful lifts.
Let’s not forget, we not only warm-up prior to the WOD, but also for our strength sessions. Ramp-up sets (sets that are performed at a lighter load) are used to set up the body for heavier loading. If the strength movement programmed calls for 3 sets of 5 reps, that indicates 3 WORK sets – or work that is to be performed using a given load for a specific volume. If we take the time to ramp-up (read: warm-up) to that first work set of 5 reps, I’ll bet those 5 reps will be better than had you not used ramp-up sets. The ramp-up sets also allow us to “settle in” to the lift – work the technique and range of motion of the movement, “feel” the weight, and mentally focus.
While I have you here, let’s touch a little bit on rest periods. We use rest periods mainly during the strength training sessions. Rest periods provide measureable feedback – they are a fixed time and you can measure your progress against them. If you perform 20 push-ups, rest 10 seconds and then try to do another 20 push-ups you’re probably going to fail. However, if you were to rest 90 seconds between those sets you’d probably get the reps. All things considered, as you progress you should able to get more work done with the same amount of rest – so if you got 20 push-ups in the first set, and 15 in the second set after 90 seconds rest, next time you perform that workout you should get more reps in the second set with the same amount of rest. If you are inconsistent with your rest periods then your progress will be inconsistent. So, try to be consistent with your rest periods between sets – if you rest 90 seconds after the first set, keep it consistent across all sets. Track your rest periods too, just like you track your reps/weight. And like I always say – rest time = mobility time!!
Use the warm-ups, and ramp-up sets to your advantage. You WILL see a difference over the long term.