Our General Warm Up Template

It isn’t too often that I hear much when it comes to warming up. There is plenty of talk when it comes to Olympic lifting, strength training and some talk as it pertains to conditioning. But not so much when it comes to warming up. However, we put a lot of thought into our warm up period. We follow the same template for our warm up every single time we walk into the weight room, whether it is in-season or the off-season.

Foam Roll: We spend approximately 5 minutes on the foam roller and/or lacrosse ball, hitting every single muscle group with the hope of improving tissue quality. I would argue there is no more important quality than tissue quality and it is something we never skip, especially in-season when trying to do everything we can to keep athletes healthy and feeling well.

Breathing: We toss the rollers to the side and do some diaphragmatic breathing every day. If you aren’t aware of the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing, there is a ton of info out there that you probably want to start digging into.

Static Stretching and/or Mobility: Once tissue quality is addressed tissue length is addressed. We try to stretch the hip in all three planes, hitting the groin, hip flexors, and hip rotators. Ankle, hip and thoracic spine mobility is always on the menu with an emphasis on driving some more internal rotation of the hip with some of Dr. Andreo Spina’s 90/90 hip CARs etc.

Activation: Nothing crazy here. We perform various forms of hip bridging (typically single leg versions), lateral band walks, band pull aparts, floor slides and FMS correctives fill this slot.

Dynamic Warm Up: Depending on the day we will perform either a linear or lateral dynamic warm up. The warm up will coincide with the rest of the training session. If it is a linear warm up we will perform linear plyo’s, linear sled work, and a linear based conditioning session. If it is a lateral warm up we will perform lateral plyo’s, lateral sled work, and lateral based conditioning.

Everything is slightly different depending on the team and their specific needs, but generally speaking it looks relatively close. In this 25-30 minute period we try to address as many of the movement based needs of the athlete as we can in the warm up period before we touch a weight, so that when they do touch a weight they are moving better and thoroughly warmed up. Nothing is left for chance and there is a system for everything we do.

Turning Conditioning Into A Weapon

“If you want to improve your conditioning and turn it into a weapon then you must work on it year round.” – Joel Jamieson

In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes strength coaches make in their off-season programs is not maintaining adequate conditioning levels throughout the entire off-season. In a lot of cases, conditioning gets overlooked for other qualities during the off-season period, with a conditioning only becoming a focus 4-8 weeks out leading into the season.

conditioning

I obviously understand that conditioning can’t be put at the forefront during the off-season as other qualities are ahead on the pecking order, but I do believe some level of conditioning needs to be maintained throughout the off-season. Simply put, to get into the appropriate shape that will be needed to get an athlete through the rigors of the entire competitive season, and get through it as healthy as possible, a handful of weeks of dedicated conditioning isn’t going to be enough.

As an example, any college strength coach will tell you that it takes time to develop the necessary strength and power to compete at a high level in college. Additionally, any sport coach will tell you that you can’t practice your sport for a couple of weeks and think that the teams’ tactical skills will be at an appropriate level.

Why would conditioning be any different?

As Joel Jamieson states in his book Ultimate MMA Conditioning:

“You can have great strength and power but without proper cardiovascular development and muscular endurance, you won’t have the energy you need to put your strength to good use as the fight (sport) wears on.”

What coaches need to realize is that all the strength and power in the world won’t make a bit of difference if an athlete doesn’t have the needed conditioning levels to use it, especially as the game/match/competition moves to the later stages. If an athletes conditioning is a weapon for them, they’ll have more fuel and a greater ability to generate power and strength at all times throughout their sporting event.

As a result, giving an athlete to access their power and strength should be the goal of any well thought out and planned sport performance program…and most athletes need to produce power and strength for a prolonged period of time!

So what’s the point?

As a coach you need to perform conditioning year round if you want to have a team or an athlete competing at their very best. Generally speaking, aerobic and anaerobic-alactic work should be developed/maintained throughout the majority of the off-season. As the athlete or team approaches the start of the season, roughly 3-4 weeks out in most cases, the focus on the conditioning program should shift to anaerobic-lactic development.

Random Thoughts: June Edition

It’s June, so that means another edition of random thoughts for the month. Here are a few thoughts that have been going through my head. Enjoy!

1. “Our responsibility as coaches is to close gaps that limit performance not create them. Give athletes what they need not what we like/want.” – Ryan Horn

2. We as coaches are often too worried about numbers in the weight room, rather then the effect the training is having on the athlete.

3. Hip extension is very important for athletes…but we need to make sure how glutes are the ones driving hip extension. Far too often you will find athletes substituting lumbar extension instead of hip extension which will lead to various other issues.

4. Athletes must be strong, but only to the extent that it can benefit them in their sport.

5. A question to ponder: Does it matter how much weight we can lift slow?

6. Piggybacking off the two previous thoughts, generally speaking, I think for team sports power is the most important, most crucial quality we can help develop. But you can’t have power without strength. The goal should be to get athletes strong enough to benefit them as much as possible in their sport and then make them as powerful as we can.

7. The two biggest issues in our field are stupidity and ego. Simply pull up some YouTube training videos and you’ll soon realize that a lot of programs are doing a lot of stupid things. Ego, on the other hand, may be the reason coaches/programs continue to do stupid things and are slow to evolve. I firmly believe people would rather continue to do what they’ve always done then make changes because they would look ‘wrong’. You don’t know what you don’t know. There is nothing wrong with changing, change means you are evolving and getting better…change is a good thing.

8. The weight room needs to be a fun, exciting, positive atmosphere. You catch more flies with honey then you do with vinegar.

9. I am without a doubt, a generalist when it comes to programming. I would say that 85-90% of what I do is the same across all teams. The differences from sport to sport come in that other 10-15%, but the big rocks are the big rocks no matter what team I am programming for.
10. Great strength coaches adapt to the needs of the players they coach and the coaches they work for.