Design a Better Warm Up – Part 1

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What exactly needs to be incorporated into your warm up before you lift? Most people are perplexed to say the least when they arrive at the gym and start thinking about their warm up.Stretch? Eh, it depends. Move? You got it, but what movements exactly?

Your warm up should act as preparation for whats ahead. If you are making a concerted effort towards an exact goal (i.e. improve your overhead mobility) then that will also play a part. A general rule of thumb for warm ups is work from the ground up.

“Incorporate a ground up approach- supine, quadraped, crawling, half-kneeling and then to standing”.

Obviously you don’t necessarily need to hit each position listed above but perhaps crawling to standing etc.

Mobility work for “Fort Knox” – the shoulders, hips and ankles is another one that covers all the bases. Most of the general population suffer from lack of mobility in these areas and an increased range in movement before your workout can help lead to better performance and also help you feel better afterwards.

Here are some of my favorite warm ups ranging from a general dynamic warm up to a more specific approach. In part two I will discuss “Breathing, Core & Crawling” as well as breakdown the “Turkish Get Up”.

1 -A General Dynamic Warm Up

Here are a few videos of some of the movements of a dynamic warm up. For the full video playlist, check it out here on YouTube.


A great posterior chain movement to allow more relaxation in the hamstrings, calves and achilles before a lift.


Hip Mobility combined with a crawl allows us to open the hips and gain some abdominal firing.

Overhead Reach to Reverse Lunge

Some overhead mobility mixed in with a posterior chain stretch and a lunge.

These are just a few movements I like to incorporate into a dynamic warm up. For convenience sake I have created a Youtube playlist with more movements than the ones listed above. The Full dynamic warm up can be found here.

2 – The Fort Knox Approach

There are three goals here. Expose the shoulders, hips and ankles to mobility movements.

a. Shoulder Mobility

T-Spine Mobility

Wallslides (facing the wall)

Exhale as you slide your hands up the wall and focus on ribs down as you slowly bring your arms off the wall.

b. Hip Mobility

90/90 Hip Rotators

Controlled Articular Rotations

Drive the outside knee into the ground as you move the inside knee in the opposite direction. Try to see how far you can rotate the inside knee before the outside knee must raise up off the floor and continue to work on grooving that pattern.

c . Ankle Mobility

Ankle mobility can be a limiting factor in a good squat pattern. Using these in your warm up can be hugely beneficial depending on your ankle mobility needs.

3 – The Mobility Matrix with Breathing

The matrix I came up with uses a spiderman stretch with a t-spine rotation each side followed by a hip rotator stretch which is then finished off with a “Yoga Reset” position, aka a downward dog but I’m going to stick with yoga reset on this one. On the reset take a deep breath in as you move your hips to the ceiling and exhale as you come back into a pushup position.

This is something I incorporate every day in the morning and before bed when I pair it with a PRI breathing exercise. I feel more relaxed before bed and can shut down a lot easier which I believe leads to better rest.





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