Workout Wednesday: Foam Rolling and Dynamic Warm Up

Over the next several weeks I’m going to be posting a new workout video for you every Wednesday.  I chose Wednesday 1) because it paired well with the word workout, and Workout Wednesday had a nice little ring to it, and 2) Wednesdays generally need a little flair.  Mondays we’re busy with getting back to work, Tuesdays are typically really busy days, and Wednesdays seem to drag on.  I actually really enjoy all my days, but for those who need a little umpf on Hump Day, I’ve got some workouts for you to give you that little push.  And just like you would start a workout with a good warm-up, I’m going to start this series the same way.

The following is typical warm-up I would use with a private training client. For the most part, I design my warm-ups to include the following:

1. Foam Rolling

I will typically spend about 5-7 minutes with a client on the foam roller targeting areas of the body that I feel could use some TLC. For the most part, peeps are tight in the hips, rounded in the shoulders, and could use a little help with thoracic spine mobilization, which is just fancy lingo for getting more flexibility in the spine. Below is a typical foam rolling series I would do at the start of the workout and something I encourage my clients to do as maintenance between sessions.

Foam Roller Exercises

  • Quads
  • IT Band
  • Hip Flexors
  • Glutes
  • T-Spine Mobilization
  • Shoulders and Lats
  • Chest
  • Mid-back
  • Swan Dive
2. Corrective and Mobility Exercises

After this, I will take the next section to focus on a specific area.  For instance, if I’m working with a client who trains 2-3 days a week, I will usually design a split body program, meaning I will do 1 day as an upper body workout and 1 day as a lower body workout.  So, if today is our lower body workout, I will choose 2-3 corrective exercises that target a particular muscle imbalance that client has.

For instance, if I’m working with a client that has poor pelvic-femoral rhythm (I will explain this further down), I will choose a couple exercises to help with this.  This is where I would typically pull some exercises out of my mat pilates repertoire.

I’ll be making a video and post about pelvic-femoral rhtyhm soon, but to give you some background, pelvic-femoral rhythm is the relationship that the femur (thigh bone) has with the hip in creating movement.  Meaning, how the the hips and thigh bone interact when the leg moves.

If it’s a lower body day, we’ll focus on “Hip Stuff”.  The following video shows some great warm-up exercises to help get the hips ready for the workout.

On a side note, I have to give complete credit to Phyl London for the exercises in the funky hip set.  I pretty much stole them from her, so be sure to give her the high-five next time you see her.

3.  Dynamic Movements

After some foam rolling and targeted corrective exercises, we move on to bigger and more dynamic body weight exercises, with an emphasis on mobility and movement quality. Even in the warm-up I’m very nitpicky about form.

I like to choose about 4-5 full body movements that will get my clients heart rate up a bit and increase blood flow to the muscles.  The following video is a samle of what this would look like.


Dynamic Warm Up

  • Walking Calves
  • Figure 4’s
  • Side Lunges
  • Lunge with Overhead Reach
  • Inchworm with Runner’s Lunge Rotation

After these series of exercises, we will move on to a quick cardio round, 3-5 minutes of jump roping, or drills on the treadmill. From here, we would move on to our strength training circuits, which I will cover over the next several weeks.

Why even do a warm-up you might ask?  Well, for several reasons:
  • To increase blood flow throughout the body which brings more oxygen to the muscles.
  • Increase joint mobility so that you can do your strength exercises through a fuller range of motion.  Pretty much the warm-up is like lubing up the joints with WD-40 so that you’re not stiff and creaky when doing lunges and push-ups.
  • Elevate the heart rate which helps with blood flow as well as increase core temperature.
  • Gets you mentally prepared for the workout.
  • As a trainer, I use the warm-up as a mini-assessment to see how the client is feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically.  I do this by asking questions, but I also just sense where my client is by looking at how her body is moving.  I rely a lot on intuition as well, as I can typically sense funky things that would affect the session that my client may not actually verbalize.

Although these exercises are used primarily as a warm-up, you can use these as matinenace in between sessions.  For example, doing several minutes of foam rolling in the morning and at night can help ease muscle tension after a long day of work.  Even performing the dynamic warm-up during several times in a circuit fashion can be used on the road, in a hotel, or at dinner parties if you want to show off.

What about you.  What do you do for your warm-up?  Let us know in the comments below!

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