Alright, so first blog post of 2016. This will be more of a rant than anything and it ties into my last blog post about how the warm-up is essential to enhancing training and competition performance levels. With all the free information out there I do not know how to stress this stuff any more than I already do. You can run a 4.37 40-yd dash, you can jump 45″, you can squat 600lbs, you can bench 450lb, etc. Eventually, all that will slowly, if not quickly, disappear. Why? Well, you here is the thing, you have this beautifully organized, and well-integrated system we call the Human Body. You may feel warm getting out of the car because you live in San Antonio, TX and drove with the heater on. You may feel warmed up properly because you ran 3 miles on the treadmill before lifting hard and strong (by the way, this doesn’t fully prep you either, and you skipped over 2 other energy systems (CP and anaerobic) to get aerobically inclined to then just go back to the other 2 systems that won’t be as available for the stronger lift), you may think you’re warmed up because your heart rate is up and you have some sweat on your forearms now. In the grand scheme of things you have not intelligently or your trainer hasn’t prepped the body to do that day’s work.
Every day you work out for your goal that is 2-4 months away, perhaps a full marathon, a tournament, spring ball, tryouts, whatever it is, you have a goal in mind. Just about every day is an hour or 2 you are spending to develop your strength and speed. Tie in conditioning to that. You may only be adding in 5 lbs a week to each set, being very conservative with the loading while you hammer down on mechanics for the biggest, strongest, most powerful lifts. Some days you may work on just learning how to sprint with better technique and power, while the other days you work on lateral movement (not the circus acts constantly seen on Instagram). Whether you do 3-day full body a week, 2 split body days, 3×12, 4×8, descending pyramids, etc. on the weights you and your coaches/trainers are envisioning the development. You have a goal in mind for yourself and your team. It’s 2-4 months later, you are strong, faster, more in shape than the last 3 years. Confidence is through the roof. You start going full speed at tryouts or in spring ball. Everything is going well until….POP!!
You don’t understand. You trained hard but so smart in weight training and speed training with better form. You let your body adapt to the increased loads. Gave it the rest it desired on weekends outside of the occasional skills practices outside, or your favorite recreational activity. How did you still pull your hamstring or quadriceps? All this preparation and you get hurt from NON-CONTACT INJURIES. How could this be? What are the things you and the coaches/trainers did not consider in the programming?
Let us rewind back to how you started off every session of training, whether for the weights or speed. There are several unpromising methods out there by those who just didn’t know or those who are lazy and don’t understand the big picture. You just decided to jog and do jumping jacks to feel warmed up, get the blood flow going, heart rate is now elevated, some small levels of sweat coming out. You may have just laid on the ground and stretched. Did some arm circles for your shoulders. Then went to work. Must have been adequate enough, you typically felt great, your pre-workout and playlist kept you energized, everything was just peachy. Well, sorry to break your heart, you actually slacked on the preparation to the body each day without realizing. You didn’t increase core temperature very well for each muscle being involved. You didn’t let the brain know you were working towards the lifts your eyes saw on that piece of paper. You were basically a pilot who did little to no diagnostic checks on the engines before taking off high into the sky at a fast speed. Sure, you have gotten away with this and nothing bad happened. Until bad finally did happen and you and the co-pilot were at fault.
That little stuff you forget to do is quite crucial. Or the stuff you just choose not to do because well it just isn’t that fun. The thrill factor isn’t there so, eh, just dive on in without knowing what the bottom looks like. You’re 4 months out, or even on a late start for your goal date, that dynamic movement warm-up and overall mobility training before complex lifts is still crucial. You can gain all the strength and speed in less time, and with less organized programming, but is that really worth it if you, your teammates, players or clients are dropping like flies because while you worked to the build the body up, you did nothing to keep it from breaking down in the process? The answer is no. I have guys who are 4 months out from Spring Football. I have a higher emphasis right now prepping their body every session with and without me this early in the off-season so that when we start to peak in the program, they begin to add more weights in the athletic period and after school, they don’t risk falling apart. I don’t care if you dad was Bill Romanowski. You are still you, your clients are still themselves, nobody else. Accept the science out there and graduate up. Don’t over think stuff in the weight room, sometimes keeping it simple day by day and, once again, driving upward is enough. But prepping the body and mind each day for those sessions is still crucial to development, seeing and feeling results, retaining them, and staying healthier.
Here it is again, a free warm-up manual at a very basic level. I assure you, it overrides not warming up any day of the week, or month of the year. Overrides randomness that some guy on p90x said was how the body will continue to learn. Here is a resolution: be smarter in how you warm up, how you lift weights, how you develop the program each week, and how you sustain progress, injury-free!!