I want to start this blog post with the disclaimer: warming up is important and specifically you want to got the areas that are tight, sore, or in need of a little extra care as they are especially important. The following blog post is not an excuse to disregard the warm-up or disregard the utility of a good warm-up. If you want to understand my thoughts on warming up read this and this.
It seems to be an increasing trend in modern-day fitness to spend a significant portion of your time in the gym making sure you are properly “activated and warmed up.” This is not disregard any of the new fads out there about warming up or how you should warm up or what is most important when warming up but simply to make the statement that all the warm-up in the world does nothing for an athlete who doesn’t work hard. I have always been of the opinion that nothing works like work. You can be the most mobile, flexible, stable athlete in the world but if you don’t work hard you will never be elite at anything. Except for maybe yoga.
I see and hear about athletes all the time who sit down on a rower and row for 15 minutes, then they do 9 million shoulder activation exercises to “create and maintain good shoulder health,” then they do every single mobility exercise in Kelly Starrett’s book, they strap a band to a pullup bar and yank on it every different direction possible for 20 minutes, then they finally get to doing some dynamic warm-ups, and then they do some form of glute and hip power band activations series, and then after an hour and a half of warming up they finally pick up a barbell to do there barbell warm-up and skill practice. Two hours later they are ready to complete the work out which takes a grand total of 30 minutes. When I approach these athletes about their length of warm-up generally their excuse is one of three reasons.
1 – They are doing all they are to stay healthy and create the best “foundation” for their workout in order to give them maximal gain. Whatever that means.
2- They are “injured” and the only way they are able to workout and maintain an injury-free lifestyle is to warm up as much as they do.
3- They are “old “and have to warmup that much in order to be able to work out at all. Generally these people are 35 years old and not actually old all. The only old athletes I know are 70 and spend two minutes warming up.
Again let me reemphasize that I’m not cracking on the necessity and utility ofa good warm-up. I am however stating that you can over exaggerate the need and length of a warm-up. Bottomline: you have to work hard to gain good results. If your warm-up takes longer than your workout on a regular basis then it might be time to reconsider how little you are working out or how much you are warming up.
Warm-up should be for two reasons: to warm you up (ironic I know) and to create good habits for the work out ahead of you. You want to achieve the results of those elite athletes around you? Work as hard as the elite athletes around you… Don’t just warm-up like them.