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The Perfect 10 Minute Warm Up Routine

Feb 26, 2021

An efficient warm up is a pivotal component of any type of training program, from sports training to bodybuilding, CrossFit to yoga. But the key is implementing the right exercises in a systematic way. This is what creates an effective warm up.

When it comes to warming-up there's a spectrum. On one end, there's no warm-up at all. People walk into the gym after eight hours of work, then head right into lifting heavy weights. On the other end, there are those who spend an hour rolling around on a foam roller aimlessly.

The best part is you can build the perfect arm up routine that takes no more than 10 minutes.

Here's what you should think about including in your routine broken down step by step:


Part 1: Self Myofascial Release

Part 2: Static and Dynamic Stretching

Part 3: Movement and Muscle Activation


Part 1: Self Myofascial Release 

Self myofascial release (SMR) techniques such as foam rolling and other soft tissue modalities can be very helpful in the dynamic warm-up, especially if you're dealing with chronic pain, tightness, or any tissue extensibility dysfunctions in specific areas.

Using a few targeted soft tissue techniques on specific tissues can help improve gross movement and function of the body as a whole.

One of the theories behind the physiological effects of SMR is that it is able to improve tissue extensibility. SMR can support by increasing the flexibility of soft tissue, while also improving the range of joint motion – successfully reducing pain. All of this supports its use as part of a warm up routine.

We always recommend to test and retest before and after you roll. Did the rolling actually improve your mobility or make you feel better going into the workout? 

The best tools to use depends on the area of the body or targeting your chest, along with the smaller muscles around your shoulder blade.


Part 2: Joint Mobility & Dynamic Stretching

After targeting specific muscles with SMR, we like to go to work on those same tissues and joints using a combination of dynamic stretching and mobility drills.

Dynamic stretching involves the movement or oscillation (back and forth motion to end range) of a stretch that's targeting a specific muscle or set of muscles.

With this we are practicing both movement capacity and control.

Dynamic stretching in and out of an end range stretch (as opposed to holding at end range) allows the joints involved with the movement to be mobilized along with the tissues.

Many additional structures define how good a person’s mobility is. It is not only the muscles stretching over a joint but also how well the joint moves within its connective tissue joint capsule. We can target joint specifically with Mobility training that also takes into account the component of motor control within the nervous system. 

Adding these movements into our warm up routine will ensure that we are maximizing our usable ranges of motion in our training.


Part 3: Movement and Muscle Activation

Each phase builds on the last to improve your performance. Once you've practiced and improved some movement patterns with the previous parts of the routine it's time to try and "turn on" those muscles to an even greater extent with muscle activation techniques.

Activation drills are places in the routine with the goal of preparing your nervous system and tissue for the exercise or movement patterns that you are going to be training in that session.

The idea is to "switch on" key muscles to help prevent injury and improve your performance ahead for the task you are about to complete. We are essentially sending signals to the brain to prepare us for movement. These signals trigger motor units, which subsequently causes contraction of the fibers that they control.

Within this part of the warm up we encourage the use of various loading strategies including (body-weight, bands, PVC pipes, etc.)



Here is an example of an 8-10 minute highly effective warm up routine for an upper body training session . 


NOTE: This is an example of a custom upper body warm up routine and may not be perfect for you.


You can pick 2-3 exercises for each category intelligently selected based on your individual goals and the training session that lies ahead.

For example you may want to use a slightly different set of mobility drills if you are dealing with a specific dysfunction or deficit.


We encourage you to try out the 3 Part Warm Up Routine and customize it based on your needs or the needs of a client or patient you are working with!