Prepping for a training session should not take 20 minutes and be full of complex exercises. Most individuals benefit from a brief routine with targeted intentions for an efficient and effective warmup. Your session prep routine should have three main components:
Mobilization work restores Range of Motion (ROM) to individual joints. It’s a good idea to mobilize the hips, shoulders, and spine on any lifting day, though mobility work yields the BEST results if performed daily rather than only during training sessions. Most mobility work prior to lifting should be performed dynamically to avoid overstretching muscle fibers to the point of losing elasticity. You want elastic muscles when loading your body! Static stretching is perfectly safe and encouraged after lifting -- there is no correlation to a loss of strength if static stretching is executed AFTER lifting. Work with your coach to determine if your anatomy requires further mobilization drills for more specific needs. Activation drills can help strengthen the neuromuscular connection, or the brain’s ability to control and collect feedback from the body. The glutes and pelvic floor muscles are a few examples of muscle groups that typically benefit from activation or innervation drills to restore proper function. It's not that your muscles are not "firing," it's that they are not functioning the way that they are supposed to.
Potentiation drills have been shown to recruit more type II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers to enhance overall force output. If you want to get strong, consider adding light and explosive work to your warmup to support your main lift of the session. Box jumps or jump squats prior to snatching or squatting have been correlated with greater strength and power output. Including these simple elements in your warmup routine will help you tune up your body and brain prior to getting under the bar without accumulating excessive fatigue.
About Muscle + Mindset
Muscle and Mindset is a barbell gym located in the Sante Fe Art District of Denver, Colorado. Our mission is to share the transformative benefits of strength training with people of all experience levels by cultivating a welcoming community supported by affordable expert coaching. Whether you're an experienced athlete or a strength training novice, you'll find the support you need at Muscle + Mindset.