Just like that good breakfast to start your day (and as you will see when I chronicle my nutrition later, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day), the warm up is an integral start to any proper training program. Not only is it important to prepare the body for the training session to come, but it is also an integral part of maintaining and gaining back range of motion that has been lost. If you aren’t warming up properly, you are putting yourself at risk!
The law of repetitive motion states that:
where I=injury, N= number of repetitions, F=Force or tension of each repetition as a percent of maximum muscle strength, A= amplitude of each repetition, R= relaxation time between repetition. A proper warmup, among other things, will aim to increase range of motion, or amplitute, of each repetition, thereby lowering the risk of injury, I, throughout training.
Our warmup at Cressey Performance consists of multiple phases- foam rolling- a form of self-myofacial release (SMR)- table stretches with breathing exercises, and an active mobility warmup.
Each warmup starts with the foam roller/S.M.R. series:
1. Tensor Fascia Latae
3. Illiotibial Band/ vastus lateralus
4. Adductor magnus/ vastus medialis
5. Lattisimus dorsi
7. Thoracic extensions
10. Gastrocnemius (Calf)
11. Glute Medius
13. Infraspinatus/suprispinatus with internal/external rotation
14. Plantar Fascia
Show-Me Side Note: What is Self-Myofacial Release (SMR)? How does it work?
In short, self-myofascial release works by using the principle of autogenic inhibition caused by the Golgi tendon organ (GTO) located at the muscle/tendon junction. When pressure is applied to the muscle by rolling on the foam roller or ball, the tension in the muscle actually causes the GTO to relax the muscle spindles in order to counteract the applied tension. In doing so, the muscle gains a passive stretch that will increase range of motion and thus prevent injury. Additionally, it will also help to eliminate and prevent scar tissue and muscle adhesions which accumulate on a daily basis.
If you are looking for a easy way to stretch and increase your mobility, I’d recommend picking up either the PB Elite Molded Foam Roller 3′ Long, 6″ Round (Most Popular Size) or the PB Elite Molded Foam Roller 1′ Long, 6″ Round.
For a further review of how it works, check out this article by Eric Cressey and Mike Robertson, “Self Myofascial Release: No Doctor Required!”.
The Active Mobility Warm-up
After foam rolling is complete, we proceed to an active mobility warm-up to further stretch and address any mobility concerns identified in the evaluation. Pitchers are taken though a number of table shoulder stretches to work on shoulder range of motion and then we proceed to around 10 to 15 multi-jointed active movements prepare the entire body for a training session.
A good example of one commonly used multi-jointed active movement is the walking spiderman with overhead reach and hip lift (WSwORaHL, just kidding on the abbreviation):
As you can see in the video, notice how it provides a stretch and addresses mobility in numerous areas all in one compound movement: hip flexor, quad, hamstring, shoulder and thoracic mobility.
Another common warmup movement is the supine bridge with reach, a movement for glute activation and shoulder mobility (with a special foam roller riding cameo from co-owner Eric Cressey):
As you can tell, while we take our training very seriously, there is rarely a dull moment in the gym environment. We train hard, and train smart, and have a good time as all of us pro guys with the same dreams of making it to the big leagues- or remaining in the big leagues- push each other on a daily basis. I hope it will become evident how beneficial a solid and supportive training environment can be as evidenced by 40+ minor leaguers who congregate from all over the U.S. to train in Hudson, MA.
On deck: Training Day 1