When did we learn to warm up? As children we climbed trees, rode bikes, wrestled and did just about everything athletic without out thinking about warming up. At some point though we all learn we should warm up.
I learned warm ups doing gymnastics in my teens, up until I was in my mid twenties it was a routine I went through without ever feeling much of an effect, and regularly skipped to no noticeable effect. But then work got more stressful, injuries piled up and suddenly I was doing 45 minute warm ups before I felt comfortable attempting the highest levels of performance.
So should we warm up? Should we need too?
When you study play you find some interesting answers, it is true that children and animals do not need to warm up to begin high intensity activity, a kid can see a favored friend sprint over too them and start roughhousing right away, a wolf can wake up from a nap and chase down a rabbit.
But in fact they usually do some kind of warm up though they don’t think of it this way, children often begin play with parallel play not interacting with each other but engaging in the same activity, then they may move to interactive games that are relatively gentle like patty cake before getting into the games of chase and wrestling.
Wolves frequently howl play bow, frolic and play games of chase and and rough and tumble before heading out on a hunt. You can see some of the prehunt ritual starting around 14:00 minutes here
When I roughhouse with my daughter we usually snuggle face to face first then she will start pushing me and pulling on me then I will begin lifting and throwing her slowly increasing the speed of spins and the height of the throws, if I increase the intensity to fast she will let me quickly let me know
Play has a natural cycle moving from low intensity to higher and then back down, this is the safest way to regularly practice movement it need not be strict drills as you progress in your practice it should not be, exploring, being creative will fire you up for your sessions more then doing the same repetitive rote drills day in day out.
Making your warm up open ended and playful is a powerful practice. But you should approach is cautiously a child or animal can jump right into full on activity because they pay into the movement bank every day, years of sedentism and injuries mean you probaly need to take more time for your warm up and a formal warm up is good place to start learning what you need too get your body ready but the evolve move play system treats warm ups like everything else the goal is to move towards being able to move into playful, flowing and improvisational movement practices.
Yesterday we talked about movement practice that build mobility these are great places to start with warm ups play with movements that force you into large ranges of motion but with control and smooth movement rather then dynamic and quick changes of direction.
Kelly Starret divides movement into techniques which move from a position of high stability to a position of high stability with connection or without connection. A heavy squat has a strong connection of continuous tension from starting to ending position a snatch involves releasing tension on the bar completely in switching between the pull and the catch, the later movement is more complex and higher risk.
This concept of static or connected movement is not unique to crossfit, good climbers will warm up by practicing static climbing, where the have to move as smoothly as possible from connection to connection with slow control.
Internal martial arts involves practicing complex movement sequences slowly with incredibly precise control of the balance between relaxation and tension.
In evolve move play we apply this slow connected movement strategy to broad realm of of movement capacities to develop warm ups that are playful, develop powerful mind body connection and warm the whole body up through a broad range of motion.
Here is video of some of the types of movement I like to include in my warm up the speed is something you would see towards the end of the warm up. This video was shot 6 months after an achilles tear if you look closely you will see I was still unable to walk with a normal gait but could still play in low intensity ways.
Your challenge is to find ways to do this, what are the key capacities explored in your warm up? Is there a way to address them that gives you more capacity to develop connection, complexity and creativity in your movement without unduly stressing your body before it is fully warmed up?