Mobility

Instead of a quote, I wanted to use this picture to illustrate my point.

You get to the gym. You spend time talking a little bit while you do some what of a warm-up, not paying attention to the movements but just doing them. You then get into the work out, the part you love because we get to lift weights, run, jump and get a nice pump. Afterward, you are exhausted and cannot wait to get home, so you leave. During this time we have hit all of the 10 points located in the picture above besides 1…  Flexibility.

The best weightlifters in the world are some of the most flexible and mobile athletes out there. They can do the splits, wrap their hands behind there back, hold a barbell close grip overhead and go into a deep squat. They spend countless hours lifting insane amounts of weights, working speed and power. They also spend just as much time mobilizing in order to be able to do this!

We sometimes forget that if we want to be able to lift (and do it well without injury), we don’t just get to step up to the bar and lift it over and over again until we hit that number. If you have a goal, if you have a number on the board that you want to hit, you have to work all the small extra things in order to get there. We cannot just ignore muscular imbalances. We cannot just ignore the inability to sink into a proper squat. We cannot just ignore the fact that we can barely front rack weight. This teaches improper form and ultimately leads to injury, failure of the lift, and a very pissed off athlete.

So now that my rant is done, the best thing for me to do is actually give a solution to the issue, or at least lead you in the right direction. In my opinion, there are three steps to a good solid warm-up:

  1. General Warm-up
    1. This should consist of 3-5 minutes of a full body warm-up. Good examples would be jump roping, rowing, ski erg, etc. We really want something that works the entire body, that is not extremely difficult, that will get the body nice and warm (blood flowing, heart rate elevated, etc.)
  2. Sport Specific Warm-up
    1. This should consist of moving the major joints you plan on moving through a full range of motion. At Pure Health we have adopted a general warm-up from catalystathletics.com that goes through thorough hip, knee, ankle, wrist, and shoulder ranges of motion that are beneficial for most, if not all, barbell movements. These motions include but are not limited to:
      1. Deep Lunges with a twist
      2. Deep squats
      3. Shoulder and wrist circles
      4. Scorpions
  3. Workout Specific Warm-up
    1. This is the final stage of warming-up, and should include movements (or parts of movements) that you will focus on in your training session. So if you plan on doing a snatch workout, you could warm-up with:
      1. Muscle Snatch+OHS+ Snatch Balance x 3 sets (working with light weight)
    2. This part of the warm-up should get you ready for the specific movements of the day and work on any faults or technical issues you may need to address.

All of this should take place in the first 15-25 minutes of your session (yes, it does need to take about that long). Remember, if your warm-up is shit, your range of motion will be shit and your workout will be shit (or at least not as good as it could be).

The next part of being the best comes after the training session is done. Before the session starts, we warm-up to get to our current range of motion but after the training session, we use this time to increase our range of motion through stretching, foam rolling, and light barbell work. If you skip this, you WILL NOT become better in your overhead position, your squat position, etc. You will stay at your current abilities and will probably blame something else for the shortcomings. Note: This does not have to be right after your session, it is just a good time to do it because you are already warm. You could come in on your given off-days and do a mobility workout (although if you have a serious issue, you should probably being addressing it everyday and not just one or two days a week). I am not going to list a series of exercises or stretches in this post but instead will list a series of websites that are awesome to explore:

We will follow up this post with a post on how to fix different issues so stay tuned!

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