Warm Up Thoughts, by Jack Handy

IWC Challenge Winners and Results announced tomorrow!!

Five rounds for time of:

135 pound Overhead squat, 5 reps

10 Toes to bar

40 pound dumbbell Hang squat clean, 15 reps

20 Double-unders

Dave Lipson 9:03, Kristan Clever 14:04 (135lb OHS, 40lb dbs).

Post time to comments.

If you want to know your past, look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future, look into your present actions. –Buddhist Saying

The warm up that you require is like the saying above.  I have worked on my issues for years.

  If you have never heard the story about my shoulders, I could not perform an overhead squat or snatch for the first 4 years that I did CrossFit.  I had a pain that I believed was just part of who I was.  A mechanical deficiency.  Then, not by my own design, I began demo-ing the shoulder prep 3-4 times a day for a couple weeks and my problem went away like magic.  I couldn’t believe it, I was prepared to live with the pain the rest of my life.  Over the past years, I have dislocated my hip, injured my back, crushed my wrist and had multiple joint problems.  Through these difficult issues and rehabbing moments I have changed my warm up styles many times.

My weaknesses have helped create my goals which have helped to develop my warm ups.  My weaknesses are my skinny little legs and basic gymnastics skills (I mean basic by gymnastics standards, like flips, pirouettes, handstands, presses, etc.).   I wrote my goals on the “What are you Training for?” board and was hoping to accomplish them by the end of June, its going to be close!  I want to perform 20 repetitions in a row of 225 pound back squats and a Press to Handstand.  So here goes for my warm up explanation…

When I feel stiff or when its early in the morning, I will always jump rope (barefoot and one legged) or do rowing intervals (because I hate it so).  After getting the blood pumping, I will start setting up for one of my two main warm up movements…the squat or the press to handstand!

On the quest for my back squat goal, I am always changing my squat variations. From banded squats to standard weights, high bar positioning to low bar positioning and wide stance to narrow stance.  I generally perform two squats on the minute for ten minutes with a sub maximal load and focus on moving the bar as fast as I can (generating as much force as I can).  Before I start the ten minute sessions I will typically perform a few sets with light weight, starting at 10 reps with the bar, 10 reps with another light weight, 5 reps with a little heavier weight and maybe one more set at weight that is close to what I will do for the ten minute session.  In between the sets I will do DROM, mobility work where I feel it is necessary, and begin to set up for the workout.  After the ten minute session I am ready for almost anything.  I will rest for a couple minutes, finish setting up for the WOD, go through the movements a couple times and then its go time!

The Press to Handstand was my choice for a gymnastic skill to work on because of this quote from a well known gymnastics instructor:

I have found that press handstands impart athletic ability far in excess of what one would assume for such a seemingly simple exercise…It is difficult to make an accurate analogy; however for the gymnastics- training enthusiast, press handstands, in all of their incredibly difficult variations, are the upper body snatch of bodyweight movements. There is no other single bodyweight exercise that demands more strength, focus, tension, stability, coordination, balance and active flexibility over a greater range of motion.

Perhaps you have seen me working on my progressions off boxes, but working on this skill for 5-10 minutes gets my whole body fired up!

  It doesn’t do much to prepare for heavy leg work, but works wonders for everything else!

  On a good day, I will perform this before my squat work.  This is not the only gymnastics skill that works this well either!  Imagine working on strict muscle ups or levers, these movements require full body control that transfers over beautifully into your workouts.

There are many factors that contribute to how I warm up, but those are two main ways that I will warm up.  When time is restricted, it is important to know how to warm up quickly, which areas of your body require special attention and make sure not to neglect the central nervous system.  You know the feeling of getting into the groove on your 2nd or 3rd round of a workout?  Make sure you get your body integrated and those neurons firing!

My fastest warm up protocol is to perform the movements of the workout in short sets (while slowly loading up weight if necessary) and performing DROM and mobility in between sets.  If you don’t mess around, you can be ready to go in less than 10 minutes!


Overhead squats are a great warm up!


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