The Ultimate Pre-Workout: Smash, Stretch, Sweat
To access the 1% club in anything you do, you must have longevity. The vomit, blood and sweat is the romantic part, it takes real dedication to grind out the boring mobility sessions day after day.
I’ve seen talented athletes falling short too many times. They have the genetics, talent, work ethic and environment yet they get injured – trust me I was one of them. Elite athletes are a lot like drag racing cars, we construct unnatural levels of speed, strength and power then let them loose. Parts fly off, engines explode, and tires wear down. These cars are then taken back to the garage to be restored back into their previous condition. Not doing your mobility work is the same as not doing your garage work, your slowly falling to bits.
What astounds me is that I still see athletes going to train when their body is not in a good place. I’m not necessarily talking about “overtraining”. I’m referring to easily fixed problems, the common one being a little stiff from sitting all day. You’re sending a drag car into a race with rusty tires!
Smash, Stretch, Sweat is my Pre-Workout:
Smashing involves any sort of self-myofacial release work using objects such as a lacrosse ball or a foam roller to work on soft tissue. I recommend covering 2-3 areas that need work, which are involved in the upcoming training session. A general recommendation is 2-3minutes per area but I’d personally do it until you FEEL a positive change.
This continues to be very controversial topic – static stretching before training. I used believe that you shouldn’t static stretch before training, following the theory that you temporally lose strength and stability. There have been studies that have supported this (Gergley JC, 2013). However, when trying static stretching before training I found my range of motion dramatically increased. Therefore my technique was far greater, which allowed me to lift maximal weight safely. I’d recommend stretching two areas until you can achieve a NORMAL range of motion, anything beyond this will be a hindrance.
Sweating is referring to a “normal warm up” but instead of running on the treadmill for 10 minutes with no purpose I recommend mimicking the movement which your about to perform, with light weight and high repetitions. For example, if you’re doing a squatting session warm up with some overhead squats. This not only gets the blood flowing into the correct muscles and synovial fluid lubing up the joints but gives you the opportunity to reinforce good technique. Pick 2-3 movements.
Bringing it together
It’s important to stress that the warm up will be dependent upon the individual, you most likely know what you need to work on. However, if you have no idea whatsoever here is a general guide for different training sessions:
|Squatting session||Hinging (i.e. deadlift) session||Press + upper pulling session|
|Smash + Stretch||Thoracic mobilityAnkle mobilityHip mobility||Hip mobilityHamstringsBack||Thoracic mobilityAnterior shoulderPosterior shoulder|
|Sweat||Overhead squatCrab walksCossack Squats||Kettlebell swingsGlute bridges||PushupsPull-apartsBand pushdowns|
Follow Smash, Stretch and Sweat and you’ll see a dramatic increase in your training performance, both strength and technique wise. Longevity will follow, giving you time to achieve great things with your body. It may be hard graft but it separates you from the rest, good luck. Please share, comment and don’t forget to “Like” the Facebook page found at the right hand side –>
- Gergley JC. (2013). Acute effect of passive static stretching on lower-body strength in moderately trained men.. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 27 (4), 973-7.