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Warm-ups That Really Matter

sandbag trainingCory Cripe, DVRT Master (Creator of DVRT Movement Strength Programs)

I’m pulling a Josh Henkin here and quoting a movie. This one is a top 10 for me, “The Dark Knight,” from the Batman series with Christian Bale where Harvey Dent says,

“You either die a hero, or You live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

I think warm-ups must feel Harvey’s pain! You hear how important warm-ups are and that everyone should include a warm-up before their training session, but then, if you’re like me, turn around and skip the warm-up because it’s a waste of time and is a villain to your workout’s hero! What’s a person to do?

I’m still embarrassed to admit how I used to tell my personal training clients in the past to jump on the treadmill for 5 minutes to “warm-up,” or come in early to do their favorite stretches for 5 to 10 minutes before the session began. And why this lack of coaching in such a critical part of the session? Well, because I didn’t value the warm-up and what could be accomplished during this time … I just figured it was what I was taught: increase the heart rate, elevate the body temperature, and loosen up the muscles so as to prevent injury.

Now my view of the warm-up has been transformed thanks to the DVRT Restoration and Pelvic Control Course. I don’t look at the warm-up as a time to stretch the muscles, but to juice up & restore functional movement patterns. Many, and my old self included, see the warm-up as an important time to stretch the muscles and warm them up to avoid injuries during the training session. And when people think stretching, most think about relaxing the muscles to allow for a longer, better stretch.

DVRT Restoration has been even transformational to therapists in helping people move and feel better faster. Find out more HERE

Stretching the muscles or, heaven forbid, getting on the treadmill for 5 minutes would not have impacted joint alignment and movement function. Sure, you feel the stretch and it feels like things are warmed up. However, creating tension through the core (lats, abs, & glutes) is the magical recipe to create mobility, stability, & let’s call it flexibility within the body!

And these are concepts I have come to understand through DVRT Restoration: create tension, not promote relaxation, to restore proper movement through core engagement. And this knowledge was, once again, reaffirmed a couple of weeks ago in Chicago when I assisted the DVRT Hands-On Session at the Perform Better Functional Training Summit. 

sandbag workouts

Josh picked a willing volunteer from the crowd of fitness professionals and had him stand facing the crowd with his feet together. From there, Josh placed his hands on the volunteer’s hips so everyone can see where they were in relation to his hips. It was very noticeable that his hips were nowhere near being neutral, one hand was a lot higher than the other (and remember, we’re talking about a fitness pro – someone who LOVES to train … not someone who has never stepped foot into a gym).

Josh didn’t freak out and start with a list of all of the things that could be wrong, nope. All he did was place him on his back with a Power USB and a green XL Mini-Band and had him do 6 Deadbugs on each side. And you’ll never guess what happened after! Our volunteer faced the crowd again after his set of Deadbugs, with his feet together, and when Josh placed his hands on his hips … DRUM ROLL PLEASE … the hips were neutral! [AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!!!]

The majority of people walking into gyms looking for a great and effective training session are those same people that have been sitting at desks all day and move poorly in life. They are also the same people who have a busy work/life schedule and will skip those warm-ups because they don’t find value in them and consider them boring and want to get right into what they see effective. 

Including these DVRT Restoration Drills in your warm-up will now validate what it is the warm-up should do! It was important for me to create an effective warm-up in my latest DVRT Program, ‘The Movement Strength Encyclopedia’ that didn’t take forever because I’m like most everyone else – I want to jump right into my sessions! However, feelings will arise with these various drills, the body will warm-up, and – even more importantly for many – it only needs to take 5-7 minutes!

So, here is a look into one of those warm-ups I personally include in my own programming that you can find in The Movement Strength Encyclopedia:

Movement Sets Work Intervals Rest Intervals
USB Alt Deadbug Lift/Chop 2 30 Seconds 15 Seconds
USB Mod Side Plank ISO Pull 2 30 Seconds (Switch Sides Each Set) 15 Seconds
USB Tall K ATW 2 30 Seconds (Switch Sides Each Set) 15 Seconds
USB 1/2 K Arc Pressouts 2 30 Seconds (Switch Sides Each Set) 15 Seconds