When it comes to training, in my opinion, nothing is more important than a proper warm up routine, especially if you are about to be moving some serious weight. The last thing you want to happen is to pull or strain something because you didn’t take that extra few minutes to make sure your muscles and joints are fluid and moving properly. With that being said I do think there is such a thing as taking too long to warm up. If you have to get to the gym more than an hour before your training session just to stretch your quads out, I think you need to look at other aspects of your daily routine and see if there is something else you can improve upon. Just to name a few off the top of my head: Is your diet crap? Do you drink enough water? Are doing some sort of a cool down/roll out after training? Are you getting some sleep? I digress but my point is simple: if you want to have a good training session, a solid warm up will help in that process. It is not going to cure all of your ills but it will make a big difference.
So, I have a question for you. What do you do if you are traveling and the equipment you rely on is not available? Let’s say you are traveling to your nationals championships and they don’t have a squat cage for you to hang from? What if your only options of a foam roller are those cheap blue ones that crumble when you grab it with your hand? Or how about if there isn’t anything heavy enough (no matter how many folks sit on the weight rack) that you can anchor your band to and do your distractions? Trust me, that last one is no laughing matter, especially when you knock the rack over trying to stretch in a training hall full of people. Talk about awkward. The bottom line is you need to expect the unexpected.
How do you combat this scenario without having to bring three suitcases on your trip with you? Be prepared. When I am at my home training site I have my routine for warming up. I have bands, cages, and all sorts of rollers at my disposal. But since I am a creature of habit, a week or two out from a competition I will start eliminating equipment and relying on stuff I can do in a parking lot as my warm up. Last year I stumbled upon a video from Molly Galbraith that was entitled Meathead Mobility that was posted on the Juggernaut Training Systems site. This video incorporates body weight stretches and yoga movements (using minimal equipment) that help you open up your hips and shoulders in a rather short period of time. For an in depth description of the warm up routine and video demonstration check out Molly’s routine here:
I know in this video there are some equipment suggestions but you don’t need these exact things. A towel bunched up can do a good job in place of the head and knee rest for some of the movements. If you have mini bands that are easy to pack I suggest doing so, otherwise the leg lowering will be harder to receive the full effect without a band. Now as with all things we put out there this is simply a suggestion. Give this routine a shot and I am positive you will see the benefits from it. This is a great tool for me when I travel and allows for a proper warm up especially when all your favorite equipment is not at your disposal. Of course there are times when this is not enough and I will have to add other things on top of this but most times this warm does an efficient job of getting me good to go. You may end up liking this routine so much that it becomes your regular routine, who know? Give it a shot and always make sure to take time to warm up properly no matter where you are!