Not too long ago while at the gym, I overheard a conversation between two people and I nearly had to bite my tongue to not interject and offer up my opinion.

They were talking about warming up prior to their workout. Their discussion went something like this:

Person #1: “Let’s do arms today. You warm?”

Person #2: “Uh sure, I just ran a mile on the treadmill.”

Person #1: (palm to face) “That’s not what I meant.”

Running on the treadmill can most certainly warm you up prior to beginning your muscle training exercises and it definitely increases your heart rate. A warm-up helps your body prepare itself for exercise and reduces the chance of injury (turnstep). Here are a few suggestions from the perspective of using chiropractic techniques to assist in warming up.

Prime the Mobility

If your workout calls for pressing or clean/jerks, check to make sure you have the appropriate thoracic extension to best achieve those moves. Attempting to do clean and press exercises with a thoracic spine stuck in flexion is going to make for a rough day in the gym. Utilizing time on a foam roller will prep T-spine extension and make for a better day of pressing.

Prime the CNS (Brain)

Keeping up with the theme of upper body workouts, have you ever considered how a baby develops upper body strength? One way a baby does this is by crawling and if you’ve ever spent time at SCI, then you’ve probably crawled. Crawling (like a baby or like a crab) is great warm-up for your shoulders and your core. Not to mention your brain also loves the neurodevelopment cross crawl pattern. Controlled or strict crawling for 15-20 ft will get your heart pumping too. Don’t believe us? Give it a try for yourself.

Rehearse a General Skill

If overhead presses (barbell or otherwise) are in your workout program, you could warm up with a lighter weight press. If you do this, focus on strict form and appropriate breathing. Better yet, consider using a kettlebell up press to really get the shoulders engaged and ready to work.

Warming up is crucial to having a safe and thorough workout. Never skip it as it’s a valuable step in your program.