I'm waiting for my personal trainers course to start, so I've really been pumping out articles. Getting the rough draft is easy, but all the little things add up, and I'm putting everything I have into them to make sure they get published.
I put this one together tonite, but realized I haven't actually completed it, and it's something I'm doing right now, so just not likely to be published. I thought you guys might like to have a look at it.
The No Warm Up Warm Up
You know what? I donÃ¢??t like to stretch, I do as little as possible actually.
You see, IÃ¢??m a powerlifter and all I care about is squatting 600 in a belt. What IÃ¢??ve learned is that it isnÃ¢??t just about being strong. You need to be TIGHT. How tight? I personally donÃ¢??t want to max out or compete if I can do a bodyweight squat under my own power. In fact, if IÃ¢??m getting depth easily with 135 I still donÃ¢??t feel ready, I prefer when I can only get to depth with 2 plates.
The best squatters I know would never stretch, or do dynamic drills, maybe a few hip swings, maybe, they did their warm ups with the bar, and that was it.
You see a tigher muscle will contract more forcefully than a looser muscle. Think of it as an elastic band, a thin band is a looser muscle, while a thicker band is the tighter muscle. As your muscles become tight you gain much more of a stretch reflex as you load your squat on the descent, and bigger stretch reflex means a bigger squat.
All I want in life is a big back squat. Therefore, being tight is something I need to embrace.
I used to do a big warm up that could last up to 30 minutes. At the time I was competing in strongman, and in that sport it pays to take care of little nagging injures and be mobile as you have to compete in a multitude of events.
I would foam roll most of my lower body, upper back, pecs, basically everything. Then I began a good dynamic warm up, along with whatever stretching I felt I needed to do. IÃ¢??d had a fairly serious lower back injury that took me around 6 months to recover from, and there was no way I was going to let that happen ever again.
Then one day, under the guidance of my friend Willie Albert, I began a squatting routine where I wasnÃ¢??t allowed to foam roll or stretch. Everyone thought I would be injured in no time, but that didnÃ¢??t happen. You see, stretching a muscle opens it up to injury . ( IÃ¢??m not going to get into the why, IÃ¢??m not seeking to have this article published, and the textbook IÃ¢??m reading to understand all this stuff is fairly difficult for me to understand)
So now, I see things in a different light. My warm ups would be just enough to be able to get into position with minimal pain, a few dynamic moves a quick hip stretch and go from there. But I miss not being able to get depth with the bar, and I still havenÃ¢??t squatted 600.
Enter the No Stretch Warm Up... (well thereÃ¢??s a bit of stretching)
I lost my great posture lately. Before I was so tight, it pulled me into great position and I had no choice but to stay that way as half the muscles in my body were spasming like a body cast. Now that theyÃ¢??ve chilled out and IÃ¢??ve began benching 3 times a week, my great posture is simply average. My left shoulder is alarmingly roller forward and internally rotated. My Chiro thinks itÃ¢??s from a pec tear I had 6ish months ago. My hips are fairky good, but my left glute isnÃ¢??t firing very well, and itÃ¢??s set me up in a compensation pattern that is just kill my right knee and at times my left TFL and IT band are so pained I canÃ¢??t sleep.
So whatÃ¢??s the plan?
I need to keep my hips loose, but still activate and strengthen my glutes. As well, I need to be able to get under the bar before I squat, and improve and fix my rolled forward shoulders.
So hereÃ¢??s my warm up for a squat workout.
Machine rows 3x20
Pec and lat stretch
single leg hip thrust
10 bodyweight squats, 10 front squats, 10 high bar Olympic squats, 10 regular squats.
Seems pretty simple, but thereÃ¢??s more to it than meets the eye.
Hyperextensions Ã¢?? everytime I hurt my back my chiropractor tells me to do a ton of these. Now my chiro is not your average guy, he takes care of the majority of powerlifters in Ottawa. IÃ¢??ve seen a friend go in to see him on crutches and walk out.
But back to why he recommends these so much. Well, I feel the majority of low back injuries are from tight hips. We also know people with overly tight hips have weak hamstrings and glutes. So the hyperextension works the posterior chain, and will actually loosen up the hips as well as warm up your low back.
The added hamstring work wonÃ¢??t hurt your squat, and if it does, youÃ¢??ll eventually adjust.
Machine rows- I do a ton of benching, and this sometimes makes it difficult to get the bar in a rack position. I do these for 2 reasons, they help to counterbalance my bench, and maintain and regain my posture. The second reason is after IÃ¢??m done, I get a bit of a back pump, and I can easily get under the bar.
Pec and lat stretch (hip stretch only on bench days)- I feel the lat stretch is very important for the shoulders, and goes a long way to keep them healthy. When the lats are overly tight, and most of us have tight lats, they impinge and pull the shoulders down. It pays to loosen these up, and you wonÃ¢??t have a giraffe neck, which I suffered from for a time.
The pec stretch simply helps me to get under the bar, as soon as I can I will drop this and not stretch my pecs at all besides dumbbell flys.
The rear foot elevated hip stretch is there on bench days to just help you arch, and not get a creaky back.
single leg hip thrusts - these will activate your glute, as well as strengthen them. I do them single leg as I have an imbalance, and I need to iron that out.
The bodyweight squats just get my pulse up the rest of the way after the warm up, and grease my knees to get ready for the upcoming practice.
Now the kicker, is I train 6 days a week, so IÃ¢??m doing this warm up almost everyday. You want to train your body to always be in good posture, and you want to keep it there, my hope is that my upper back will spasm like a cast again and keep my shoulders pinned back. IÃ¢??m slowly building this up to 100 reps of hyperextensions and rows, then IÃ¢??ll stay there and let my body maintain. Maybe that sounds like a lot, but your body will adapt to it Bulgarian style and before you know it youÃ¢??ll see monster improvements.
What I feel this will do is maintain and rebuild my posture, and through good posture can I be assured that I wonÃ¢??t become injured through my lack of stretching in my quest to be as tight as possible.
Now I really donÃ¢??t recommend this complete lack of mobility work unless youÃ¢??re fairly experienced and more than ready to deal with a fair bit of pain. I havenÃ¢??t had a pain free squat practice in about 32 weeks and IÃ¢??m good with that, but I get exhausted from it constantly and my gf hates how IÃ¢??m always wrecked.
I would add in a good dynamic warm up such as this:
It would go a long way to keep you healthy, but IÃ¢??d also add in the above guidelines.
As far as assistance work goes, just because you worked your glutes/hams and back in your warm up doesnÃ¢??t mean your done, you need to hammer these areas in your assistance and keep working on your posture muscles constantly.
ThatÃ¢??s about it, let me know what you think and please comment, IÃ¢??ll reply to each one.