The Warm-Up is Not An Afterthought at TS
By now, you know that we do things a bit differently at TS Fitness. We always aim to build our clients up—by pushing them out of their comfort zone to help them grow, not break. One of the most important aspects of any exercise routine that is often overlooked but is critical to protecting your body from injury is the warm-up.
The Dynamic Warm-Up
TS devotes a substantial amount of time, in both our Group Personal Training (GPT) sessions and HIIT classes (nearly 10 minutes), to a dynamic warm-up focused on mobility and breathing that revs up your body and gets you ready for the rest of your workout. Our approach is relatively uncommon—you may see other fitness studios that begin classes with brief stretching and move straight to jumping jacks or a quick jog on the treadmill. Without a proper warm-up, your joints may be at risk. Even though these types of exercises don't seem intense, they aren’t necessarily low impact. A routine of bodyweight exercises can benefit from a comprehensive warm-up.
During warm-up, our coaches run through a set of movements that covers all your joints, starting with ankles and working through your shoulders and spine. Our dynamic warm-up preps your muscular and cardiovascular system in an integrated manner. We may start with a yoga position, such as the child’s pose with breathing, then work through a series of functional movements like hip hinges or body weight squats with rotation. Finally, we will crank that heart rate up. Our goal is to focus on your mobility first before moving to more intense exercises.
The extra time that we dedicate to our warm-up also provides our coaches the ability understand the fitness and mobility levels of our clients, which can change daily depending on a client’s sleep, hydration, and other factors. We use it as an opportunity to improve our clients’ movement, another benefit of our small session sizes.
Improving our client’s mobility is something we’ve focused on from the start of TS Fitness. Dynamic warm-ups can improve your mobility and ultimately lead to a more productive exercise session and a healthier body. The Fix defines mobility as the ability to “perform movements without restriction.”
By improving your mobility, you will reduce your body’s asymmetries and compensations, leading to a more balanced muscle structure. With poor mobility and stability, you will create further dysfunction in your body leading to an increased chance of injury and decreased optimal performance. For example, if you have trouble touching your toes and you were to deadlift, you may end up using you lower back. This puts stress on your back rather then using your core and glutes for the movement.
Our GPT clients each have their own personalized program that also includes specific exercises to improve mobility. Every 3 months, they are assessed and tested to see how their body has developed. Over the long-term, clients will protect their muscles and joints from injuries that can ultimately lead to failing to their meet goals. An injured body isn’t a healthy body!
One of our favorite dynamic warm-up movements, sometimes referred as the World’s Greatest Stretch, combines the Spiderman Lunge with T-Spine Rotation, Adduction Stretch, and a Neck Nod. If you only have time for a quick warm-up before a run or a spin class, Noam Tamir, founder of TS Fitness, recommends this doing this movement 8-10 times on each side. It targets many of the joints of the body and gets your muscles warmed up.
Check it out Noam demonstrating the World’s Greatest Stretch below:
A proper dynamic warm-up will help you reduce the chance for injury, improve your results, make your body feel bette, and put you on the path to a successful workout.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
Proper breathing techniques are often overlooked as a crucial aspect of both a warm-up and the subsequent workout; breathe drives everything. We make sure to dedicate time during our dynamic warm-up to focus on developing diaphragmatic breathing skills that will carry over to more intensive workouts like metabolic resistance training.
Breathing techniques can calm down the nervous system and help remove some of jitters before a workout. The more you can settle the nervous system, the better you can access it when you are ready to go hard! By keeping your breathing consistent during strenuous activity, you can increase strength and endurance by allowing your muscles to utilize more oxygen. Breathing correctly will also engage your core, providing you with more stability during your exercises.
This has a place outside the gym too--if you’re in a stressful situation at work, try inhaling for 2 seconds through your nose, holding for 1 second, and then exhaling through your mouth for 3-4 seconds (or whatever is most comfortable for you!). This should provide some instant stress release.
Practicing breathing exercises will calm your nerves, steady your core, and get you the oxygen you need to take full advantage of your session at TS.