At Warrior CrossFit Muscatine, we value the practice and progression of a wide variety of skills. However, it is difficult (not to mention, not very effective) to try progressing several different areas at once. That is why we regularly incorporate strength cycles that focus on a few specific movements at once. For example, during our previous cycle we worked on progressing our front squat, bench press, and RDL from week to week. With regular strength training, it is important to make good use of the warm up time beforehand. That way you can get the most out of your hard work!
Since group fitness is what we provide, it is likely that we will have a broad scope of strength capabilities in any given class. An appropriate working weight for one individual might be 75 pounds, while another person might need 275 pounds to achieve an effective training stimulus. We typically set aside 4 to 8 minutes to warm up for our strength pieces, and what we find at times is that some may need the entire warm up clock, while others are ready to go within 3 minutes. Let’s go over the objectives of a warm up so that you can make the most out of the allotted time, regardless of the load you are lifting. A good warm up will:
Increase your body temperature. While we often start each class with a general warm up, it is important to take the time to warm up for the specific task at hand. If you are about to perform the squat, you likely don’t want your legs, hips, and ankles to be stiff when it comes time to lift a heavy load. Performing the squat with lighter weights first is the best way to work out the kinks and make sure you will be able to travel through the full range of motion as the weight increases.
Solidify your technique. Even if you have been lifting for a long time, technique must still remain at the forefront of your mind. Taking your time during a warm up will better solidify your technique. It will also give you an opportunity to work through any mental fog you may be experiencing and regain your focus for when it matters the most. Afterall, it is easier to move well with lighter weights!
Prepare you to lift heavy loads. In line with the previous two points, the overall goal of a warm up is to prepare your body for heavy lifting. Your body does not take too well to sudden changes. That is why you should always add load in relatively small increments, even if you feel that your working weight is already light. Typically, it should take 4 to 6 warm up sets to get to your working weight.
When we provide warm up time, there is a purpose behind it, so make use of all the time available. It will make you a better lifter and reduce your risk of injury. Besides, it is more fun to move around than it is to stand around!