Saturday, August 28, 2010

How To Fix Your Aches and Pains While Warming Up

Guest blog from my friend and colleague Luka Hocevar, CSCS, elite fitness trainer & owner of Hocevar Performance (Renton, WA)

If you hang around training forums on any reputable training site, you’ll notice that the highest percentage of questions is directed towards fixing aches and pains (for example, go to the EliteFTS site and you will see the Q & A section filled with questions about fixing injuries, aches and pains).

The truth is that a large number of the aches and pains people experience whether before, during or after training (especially if you’re not doing any training) are a direct result of bad posture, overcompensation, repetitive movement, tightness, weakness, muscles that don’t activate, a crappy training program, etc.

Many of the issues you may be experiencing can be fixed without having to go under the knife or visit a sacred shaman in the mountains of Tibet. What you do need is a training program that is catered towards your goals and addresses any issues you are experiencing.

While I will not go into the strength training and conditioning aspects of the program, I will dive into the dynamic warm-ups that we use at Hocevar Performance to fix the problems that our clients may be experiencing (while I’m writing this I also want to point out how important it is to refer out when necessary as you cannot fix everything and you should always have your clients best interests at heart….this also means you should have a great network of PT therapists, ART guys or anyone else that can help your clients).

Our dynamic warm-ups address (not always in that order):

- Tissue quality (self myofascial release with foam roll, lacrosse ball, etc.)

- Flexibility

- Mobility

- Activation

- Movement

Most of the time pain and discomfort in the body is present because there is a lack of one or more of the above. Just as one issue can cause another, fixing one issue can correct multiple problems (everything in the kinetic chain can affect other variables).

Dynamic warm-ups can and should be used in multiple situations; at Hocevar Performance we use them for the following:

1. Warming Up – Wow, didn’t see that one coming, huh? The main reason we use the dynamic warm-ups is to get the body prepared for the best training session possible. This means improving tissue quality, raising core temperature and getting the blood flow going as well as lengthening tight muscles, activating dormant ones and exciting the nervous system.

2. Assessments – I will resort to the BETA (Building The Efficient Athlete) and the FMS (Functional Movement Screen) to asses clients but I found a great way to assess clients is putting them through some of the movements we use as our dynamic warm ups.

3. Corrective Exercise – Almost everyone has issues so the dynamic warm ups includes exercises that address those issues. Who says you cannot integrate one into another. For clients that are coming out of physical therapy, we will extend the dynamic warm ups so that it becomes part of their training. Since they are usually more de-conditioned, they will provide enough of a training stimulus.

4. De-load Weeks – We will make the warm ups take over much of our training on de-load weeks. This way we can recover as well as address any issues present.

5. Fillers – Fillers are dynamic warm up exercises that will be used in between sets during the strength training session. Fillers can be one exercise or a couple of exercises. This is a great way to get in some more exercises that will help fix the clients issues while they are waiting around to do the next set (this definitely goes for sets with longer breaks).

To give you an idea of how some of the warm-ups look like I’m posting a couple of dynamic warm-ups that we use before our upper and lower body training sessions:

We would foam roll the lower body thorougly before we would start with the warm-ups…

Alternating Atlas Lunges x 5/each

Glute Stretch into Cosack Squat x 6

RF Mobilizations x 5/each

Ankle Mobilizations x 10/each

OH Wall Squat x 6

Inchworms x 5

Bowler Squats x 10/each side

Spiderman Lunge + Rotation x 3/each

Squat to Stand x 10

X-band Walks x 8/each

Jumping Jacks x 20

Seal Claps x 20

Highland Flings x 20

Foam Rolling: upper back traps, lats, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, forearms

Moving push ups x 5/each side

Scap Push Ups x 12

Reach, Roll & Lift x 5/each

TRX External Rotations x 15

Band Pull Aparts x 15

Barbell Muscle Snatch x 1o

DB Front, Lateral Raises, Press x 10/each

Pec Stretch x 20 secs./each

TRX Lat Stretch x 15-20 secs./each angle

Start implementing a dynamic warm-up that will address the issues you may be facing into your training program. If you don’t have any issues, then add dynamic warm-ups so you will continue to be without issues. It’s 10-15 minutes that you can’t afford to skip. Not only will it improve posture, get you more mobile, flexible and help you move better, but it will also fix weaknesses and indirectly improve your strength and performance.


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