Last week I attended the world weightlifting championships, where I got to watch and learn from the best lifters in the world. Although weightlifting is a specialized sport, there is no better sport to look to when it comes to training in the gym. In weightlifting, adding more weight to the bar must be earned by demonstrating coordination, control and power with a lesser weight.
Perfection of movement patterns is the focus before a lifter is allowed to train with added weight. Weightlifting is a sport that uses every muscle in the body. For optimal speed and power all muscles need to be recruited very quickly. This is where warm-up becomes important. Weightlifters in the championship that did not have adequate time to warm-up were often unable to make lifts that were easy for their competitors. These lifters were quickly eliminated from the competition.
One of the things that made the best teams of weightlifters stand out was their warm-up routine. Warm-up that include dynamic stretching and practice the movement patterns are most ideal when it comes for preparing for strength training and power type exercise. Here are some of my favorites:
Dynamic hip flexor stretch:
This one is good to setting pelvic position in neutral and activating the glutes. Move forward and backward or lift and lower the back leg to add movement to this. Perform 2 sets of 10 forward and back and 2 sets of 10 lifts up and down.
Thoracic reach and twist:
In half kneeling, plant one hand on the floor and reach the other hand up to touch the sky. Then, reach under and through the opposite arm and leg. This warms up the shoulders and the upper back area. Do this at a moderate pace and go faster as you desire. Do 1 set of 5 per side.
Walkout to plank:
Bend from the hip to stretch the hamstrings and activate the quads. Hands walk out to get into plank position. Hands can be placed further out if the midsection is strong. Hands walk back in towards the feet. Stand up to finish and add a squat with hands reached overhead. Aim to keep your torso vertical and abs engaged. Perform 2 sets of 5 walkouts.
Chaouachi, A., Castagna, C., Chtara, M., Brughelli, M., Turki, O., Galy, O. & Behm, D. G. (2010). Effect of warm-ups involving static or dynamic stretching on agility, sprinting, and jumping performance in trained individuals.The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(8), 2001-2011.
McMillian, D. J., Moore, J. H., Hatler, B. S., & Taylor, D. C. (2006). Dynamic vs. static-stretching warm up: the effect on power and agility performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 20(3), 492-499.
Young, W. B., & Behm, D. G. (2002). Should Static Stretching Be Used During a Warm-Up for Strength and Power Activities?. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 24(6), 33-37.