After the last podcast, I was asked a question about warming up and I would like to address it this week. First and foremost, let me begin with this... you should consider yourself a lab rat or monkey if you prefer. Each human person is different in their genetic make up and history. Even identical twins have been demonstrated to have their own individual preferences and responses. This means that there is no one size fits all or even most. If you come across any recommendations, you should try it out for yourself and consider how YOU respond. It make work for many and may not work for you. Conversely, it may work for you and not many. You may have been doing a particular exercise for many years and now suddenly find it is no longer helping you to relieve that discomfort in your low back or knee. Why? Because your body is also always changing.
So how do you know what to do? What is working and what won't work with the least amount of trial and error? Pay attention and record your experience both in a quantitative way and a qualitative way. Let's use the example of a training session where your plan is to do the following:
As a coach, I already have some questions for you.
There are many variables that will impact how we feel on any given day ranging from what we ate and how we slept the night before, whether we had a busy day the day before, or how stressful the past week, month, year has been. Add in environmental factors, training history, etc and you get the picture... lots of things influence your starting point.
As noted in Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, excellence in performance is the result of 10,000 of dedicated practice. What is this dedicated practice? It is practice where you can answer all the questions I asked above about the warm up and few additional questions to boot.
If you want to get better at something, you need to start by figuring out what your baseline is.
Quantify what your:
How long does it take you to recover? What is heart rate up to?
How much do you like doing these types of exercises?
**Remember, we climb because we enjoy it, therefore it is really important to be able to keep enjoying it. If you notice your motivation going down, try to determine if it is because you don't like all these numbers. Or it could be a particular type of music that influences the way you are enjoying the gym.
How does your energy fluctuate on a given day? For me, anything early in the morning and until about 2 pm and I am ready to go. After 2 pm, I prefer to nap and do more restorative activities. It doesn't mean I never climb late in the day, it means I adjust my training expectations and potentially even my training approach.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So what do I recommend for a warm up?
The key is TRACK IT and get a baseline of what you can do and how much fatigue that creates. Get a sense of whether you get too fatigued too quickly if the heart rate goes up too high too quick, or if you just can't get going if you feel like keeping the heart rate at 50% of max is too low for you. Just like those lab reports you had to do for science, you will record your observations this will inform you how to adapt once you have collected enough information.
Alright... that's it for now. Let me know how figuring out your best warm up works for you. If you have a specific question, comment or send me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org - and I will do my best to help you out.