Best Athletic Warmup ... You've Never Tried!
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Best Warm-Up Exercises
When athletes are warming up for different competitions or different training sessions, we have to begin by looking at the needs of an open-skill athlete or a closed-skill athlete. Open skill, think about football and basketball and how they are unplanned with a million moving pieces. Closed skill, think weightlifting or a shot putter doing the same repetitive movement over and over again. Both of these athletes still need to be stimulated during their warm-up. There needs to be some semblance of stability focus, proprioception, ankles, knees, quads, lower back, shoulders, posterior chain, and whatever else needs to be hit to be firing as well as possible to hit a good workout to lead to better performance in their sport.
A lot of athletes will say they don’t even want to warm up. Not a good idea. Specific mobility drills target specific areas that need to be enhanced to improve performance on the athletic field. Warming up can increase an athlete’s heart rate as well. An increased heart rate gets the blood flowing which leads to raising an athlete's body temperature which in turn enhances an athlete’s ability of muscular firing and then can produce more force after a proper warm-up.
While warming up we need to focus on stimulating our ankle joints, knees, lower back, hips, shoulders, and posterior chain to lead to great neural drive.
1. PVC Pipe Walks
One of the best ways to improve neural drive by focusing on stability, enhancing the way the knees track, improving ankle mobility, and even stimulating some dynamic trunk control, involves walking on the PVC pipe at various speeds. Walk going forward, going backward, try to go fast, try to go slow, and try to stop. Do it for three to five minutes.
2. PVC Pipe Squat
Feel the toes grabbing as if they are fingers to wake up that proprioception. As a more advanced movement, try to squat while standing on the PVC pipe. The PVC pipe squat will drastically increase mobility and challenge the body’s ability to balance. Squats on a PVC pipe will be felt throughout the tibialis, quads, and calves.
3. PVC Split Squat With Balance Pad
Performing this movement, we want to focus on the big toe grabbing the PVC pipe. Active big toes coordinate to greater sprint speed. This exercise puts athletes in a unilateral position where they have to find stability.
Focus on dropping the back knee while being stable on the front knee. We want to have a good balance while doing the movement. Three sets of seven reps on each leg is plenty. The movement also improves dynamic trunk control.
4. PVC Pipe Push-Ups
PVC pipe push-ups can be done in a myriad of ways. We can do PVC pipe push-ups with both hands on the same PVC pipe. We can also have a PVC pipe for each hand. Or, what focuses on dynamic trunk control with the upper body is having only one hand on a PVC pipe.
Having one hand on a PVC pipe, perform the push-up. With the hand that is on the firm ground, lift it into the air and hold the top of the push-up position isometrically. This variation is similar to a clap push-up in some ways but is also a beast all of its own because of the isometric component that places greater demands on balance and stability.
For an upper-body exercise, this push-up variation wakes the body up.
Know that warming up does improve performance. It helps us be more mobile and increase our proprioception which leads to better performance in whatever sport we are trying to compete in. Warming up properly also increases our neural drive. Additionally, the use of the PVC pipe greatly helps improve mobility in our hips, ankles, and our dynamic trunk control. The PVC pipe is a great tool for warming up.
Yo, It's Dane
Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!
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