Why do we warm-up? "Well, you might as well ask yourself why is a tree good? Why is the sunset good? Why are boobs good?"
Sorry, I had to throw that in there. Courtesy of, quite possibly one of the most awesomely terrible movies ever created, Joe Dirt. If you have yet to see it, please do yourself a favor and SEE IT. It's like a car crash, you can't look away and you keep circling the block for more!
It sucks bad and we all hate doing it but honestly, why do we warm up?
We warm-up to best prepare our mind and bodies for what lies ahead within that days workout. Should our body temperature be up? Yes. Should we be breathing hard? Absolutely. Should we be sweating? You better damn well believe it. If you are not experiencing these three things at the end of your warm-up, then that warm-up did not serve it's purpose and therefore was ineffective.
Is it out of sheer laziness that we do not enjoy warming-up? A lack of time within one's workout schedule? Or is because we "don't want to get tired before our workout." All these reasons are excellent excuses to opt out of warming-up, but ask yourself these few questions: Do you want to feel energetic during your WOD? Do you want to best protect yourself from injury during workouts? Do you want to put your body in the best position to achieve full range of motion, proper technique and form? Do you want to PR? Well, all this can be accomplished through an effective and efficient warm-up.
To best understand why a proper warm-up is needed lets understand what happens within our bodies during our warm-up and why this is critical in preparing us for the actual workout itself.
- During a "proper" warm-up, in which our core temperature is elevated as is our heart rate, we activate certain enzymes within our body that are responsible for the chemical reactions that occur during physical exercise. What this means is that our body's energy system is dependent upon these specific enzymes in order to properly function during exercise. If these enzymes do not get going, our body returns the favor and this can lead to an extreme case of lethary within the beginning a work out. As we know in crossfit, some workouts only last a few minutes, so this is no bueno for the athlete and their soon to be suffering time.
- Proper warm-ups also supply more oxygen to the working muscles. The body is proven to be better prepared to carry oxygen to the muscles when the muscle fibers are warm.
- Let's not forget about our nervous system. Our body is better prepared to read and receive nerve impulses at a state when our core temperature is properly elevated during efficient warm-ups. Uhh, what's that mean? Well, all those high-skilled, dynamic lifts that we do such as our barbell work and Olympic lifts. You know those awesomely explosive, "make me strong" exercises? Well, our bodies are better prepared to effectively take on those sorts of movements and that leads to stronger bodies, better and more accurate lifts and more efficient workouts.
Overall, warming up is essential prior to working out and is just downright fun! Since we've really implemented our static, dynamic and instructor lead warm-ups, I've seen a lot of improved performances in workouts. Not just that, but better form, improved range of motion, tighter techniques and tremendous gains during our strength days due to these factors. So, next time burpees come up in the warm-up, slap a smile on your face and get those enzymes goin'!
Is this the best warm-up ever? I think so. Compliments of Leah S and her good friend John Jacobson.
Bill Star. Warming up and stretching: the neglected principles. The Crossfit Journal. http://bit.ly/fwaLeW