Phase I: The Warm Up

February 27, 2017

Greetings my fellow 2017 Fitness Warriors…..

With beach season right around the corner (at least for my fellow San Diegans) I am sure many of you are starting (thinking about at least?) to get in beach body form.  Allow me to help you along the way.  This email is the first in a series of newsletters titled: “How to Design A Workout”. My goal in creating this series is not to overwhelm you with a bunch of fancy science.  Rather, it is to take the experience I have of designing workouts for my myriad of clients of many backgrounds and make the information as accessible to you as possible.  Whether you consider yourself a seasoned vet or an exercise novice, there are (hopefully) some valuable nuggets of information for everyone interested in improving their workout.  With that said, lets get it going……. 





In case the title didn't give it away, you might be able to guess that the theme of this newsletter is centered around one major idea; The Warm Up.  Now, before you roll your eyes (I can already sense your excitement) take a moment to continue reading on.  While The Warm Up is probably your least favorite part of the workout, the importance of one cannot be overlooked.  A proper warm up addresses three key ideas:

-Helps to prevent injuries
-Increases core temperature (elevating heart rate)
-Primes central nervous system (enhances performance)


This entire process should take no longer than 20 minutes top to bottom to complete.  Generally speaking, I like to break my warm up down into three categories:


  1. Ground Based Activation & Stabilization

  2. Dynamic movement

  3. Central Nervous System stimulation



The ground based exercises can be thought of as “corrective” exercises for the regular gym goer. (Note: These are general guidelines; An individualized corrective exercise program includes a diligent assessment of one's movement deficiencies and asymmetries). That said, allow me to make a few assumptions based off my experiences and observations as a personal trainer. [If these assumptions do not apply to you, you still may find the recommendations that follow useful, so please bear with me.] The majority of the population spends much of their day sitting.  This habitual and prolonged time spent in a chair often leads to rounded shoulders, shortened hip flexors and sleeping glutes.  Assuming these issues stand true, a few ground based exercises can help you wake up (activate) your stabilizer muscles; getting you ready to sparta-kick your next workout. 




The main goal of the ground based activation & stabilization exercises is to ignite your anterior and posterior core (this is just a fancy way of saying turn on your abs, glutes and hamstrings).  By activating these muscle groups you are priming your body for whats to come, inevitably helping to prevent injuries that occur from going 0 to 100 real quick (Insert Drake meme). Try these three ground exercises in your next warm up:



- Bird Dogs 1 x 8 each side:




- Dead Bugs 1 x 8 each side:



- Glute Marches 1 x 8 each side:





Once you have your core firing it’s time to start the dynamic movement portion of your

warm up. These exercises serve the purpose of elevating your heart rate while mimicking the movements that will take place in your workout - increasing blood flow to those areas will further help prevent injury when weight is eventually loaded.  I like to address major movement patterns with these exercises aiming to prime the body for pushing, pulling, hinging, squatting and lunging.  Try these three full body dynamic warm up exercises:




- Inchworm to greatest stretch 1 x 5-8 each side:



- Reverse lunge rotate 1 x 5-8 each side:



-Beast reach - plank to pushup 1 x 10-16:




By now your core temperature has risen and you may have even broken a sweat (yes, this is normal).  You’re almost there and I promise, it’ll all be worth it.  Once you have finished your ground based and dynamic movement exercises it’s time to kick it up a notch and get that CNS firing.  Think of your CNS as the software (brain, spine, nerves) of your body, it determines how the hardware (muscles, bones & joints) perform.



In essence, you are revving up your internal engine for the workout that is about to take place.  Before jumping into your first set, try adding in one (or more) of these exercises:


- Wide Outs 2 x 30 seconds:



- Bear Crawls 2 x 10 steps forward and backward:



-Plyo push ups 2 x 5-8 (great for before an upper body day):



-Squat Jumps 2 x 5-8 (great for before a lower body day):




Your heart rate is up, CNS is primed and muscles are firing.  By now I know what you're thinking: Shit, was that the warm up or the workout!?  That my friends, was the warm up. Take a few deep breathes; it is now officially time to sparta-kick that workout of yours.  

"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success" - Alexander Graham Bell 

Stay tuned for Phase II of "How to Design A Workout"......

In Health & Happiness,




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