AFFILIATE: CrossFit Copenhagen
BACKGROUND: Throwing in High School (discus and shot put), oly lifting and general strength training.
CROSSFITTING SINCE: August 2008
TEACHING SINCE: May 2009
DESCRIBE THE KEY ELEMENTS IN A GOOD WARM-UP ROUTINE FOR CROSSFIT:
The main focus of any warm-up should be to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the challenge ahead. In relation to CrossFit there is a further challenge of often having to prepare for a combination of different lifts, movements and the combination of high and low intensity requirements. The key elements of a warm-up routine must therefore result in an increased body temperature, increased respiratory rate and heart rate, the nervous system firing and increased mobility. In addition to this there is the mental aspect of a warm-up which is worthy of an individual article so I won’t elaborate on it here.
Besides achieving the previously mentioned results a good warm-up routine must be tailored specifically for an athlete and take into consideration individual physical differences and limitations. I will therefore describe a general routine that I would prescribe before a crossfit workout.
1. Increase heart and respiratory rate by doing at least 800m jog/500m rowing/100 double-unders.
2. Joint preparation: 15-20 rotations each direction (and opposite directions) from “head to toe”. Starting with the upper extremities; arm swings, shoulder rotations, elbows and wrist circles. Then the torso and hips; rotate from hips up, full rotations, bow and bend and hip circles. Lower body: knee and ankle circles.
3. Dynamic stretches: The iron cross, scorpion, rollovers, straight leg swings, side swings etc.
4. General warm-up: 10-20 reps of air squats/OHS, push ups, pull ups, back extensions and sit ups.
5. WOD specific warm-up: depending on the exercises I’d suggest spending some time on the different movements or technical skills. If the exercises in the WOD are simple movements, then focus on perfecting your technique – a simple air squat or pull up can always be improved!
Remember to spend enough time on your warm-up and don’t rush through the different elements. The warm-up should be sufficiently hard, but not tax you to a level where your performance in the subsequent WOD is negatively affected. Many of the exercises mentioned can be seen in the Catalyst Athletics standard warm-up – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhHc7FbSUiY or http://cathletics.com/exercises/videos/dromsDemo.mov. Another source of inspiration for a warm-up is Dutch Lowy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrcSydO3Mzk.
ANY SPECIFIC EXERCISES THAT YOU (ALMOST) ALWAYS INCLUDE IN YOUR WARM-UP?
Dynamic stretches such as the iron cross and the scorpion and anything that increases mobility around the spine through rotation.
WHAT’S YOUR THOUGHTS ON WARMING UP FOR:
A) HEAVY LIFTS: For oly lifts (snatch and clean & jerk) I’d do step 1 – 4 and then the Burgner Warm-up: http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/cfj-nov-05/burgener-warm-up.wmv. Then I’d do 5 reps with the bar, 5 reps at 50% of my start weight, 3 reps @ 75% and then go on to my first set. If the goal is a 1 rep max I’d typically do singles at 5% increments up to around 90% of my first attempt.
For the power lifts (squat, press and dead lift) I’d do 1 – 4 as well and then go on to doing 10-15 reps of the lift with just the bar. Then move up to 5 – 10 reps @ 25% of my starting weight, 5 reps @ 50%, 5 reps @ 75% and then go on to my first set. For a 1 rep max I’d typically do a more sets of five at a lower weight and then a few heavy singles to get my body ready and just make sure to be really warm for the max attempt.
B) SHORT, INTENSE WODs: For me the difference between the short WODs and the longer WODs is in my game plan more than my warm up. A short WOD is typically heavy (e.g. 5 rounds of 5 DLs @ 120kg and 10 burpees). I’d still do step 1-4 and then warm-up specifically for the “heavy” element and then try and set my mind up for the WOD.
C) LONG CHIPPER WODs: Same as above – step 1 – 4 and then make sure to go through each exercise and decide exactly how to approach them. The longer WODs typically have rep ranges that result in muscle fatigue and the challenge is to not give in to the perceived need for rest.
HOW HAVE YOUR WARM-UPS CHANGED IN CROSSFIT OVER TIME?
I’ve begun to focus much more on dynamic stretched than static stretches. I still believe static stretches have a purpose but I prefer to do them after a workout. I’ve also begun to go through the WODs in my head and imagine every rep of a heavy WOD.
THE BIGGEST “NO – GO” WHEN WARMING UP, IN YOUR OPPINION?
Not warming up! Or not spending enough time warming up! Although the WOD might be a long chipper beginning with 100 air squats don’t think that you don’t need to warm up. For short and intense WODs with explosive elements I’d say too much static stretching – why would you want to elongate anything that you are about to contract as fast as possible!? And for the heavy WODs the ultimate “no-go” is going too heavy too fast.
WHICH KIND OF WARMUP DO THE MEMBERS IN YOUR GYM/YOU ENJOY THE MOST?
The members seem to like anything out of the ordinary so I try to keep introducing new elements and keep the warm-ups fun. Mobility drills and dynamic stretches also seem quite popular because people can see how much better they get quite fast. But the most important thing for the members is the feeling that they’ve improved their technique and/or developed a new skill.