Does Your Warm Up Help You Evolve?

Over the past month or so I have read some very interesting blogs/articles on the structure and content of a warm-up. Namely these:

They made me ask the question:

“Is my warm-up going to help me or my athletes with the content of the session?”

To effectively answer the question one needs to consider the session content – what lifts are being performed and/or what movements are in the conditioning session. The other consideration is the athlete; more specifically – what movement dysfunction(s) do they have that need to be address?

Common drills that are included in warm-ups are:

  • A pulse raiser: a light row, skipping or jogging (this maybe pronounced yogging, it might be a soft J!).  Not always necessary and definitely boring as hell! We want to fire ourselves up for what’s to come, right!?
  • Foam rolling: A colleague of mine wrote a great article on his blog about the need to foam roll as part of a warm-up. Controversial you say? Check it out! Jowesy knows his stuff!
  • Dynamic Warm-up/Movement Prep: Heed the title! Nothing static, hitting the joints and muscles that will be involved in the lifts and/or WODs. You are getting ready to ‘unleash the fury’ (two movie quotes in one blog!? I’m sorry)

Implementing the above tactics should get you in a position to move and perform well. But now another question:

“What do I put in my dynamic warm, and will it help me ‘UNLEASH THE FURY’?”

 I have been struggling with some kind of shoulder impingement since September of last year. I took the advice of a physio at work, which was to lay off the overhead whilst it settled down, didn’t seem to do the trick. Press variations and handstand push ups were a complete no go! I made sure that I included plenty of mobility drills and scapula prehab exercises to try and ease the problem…this didn’t work either.

Then I had a real face palm moment…

After reading the blog of a colleague of mine, Sir James Jowsey of CrossFit 3D, and using the knowledge I gained on a course from a few years ago, I decided to make sure that my warm up involved tri-planar movement – helping my body restore lost movement to certain joints, specifically ankles, hips and thoracic spine.


 Almost every joint in the body is capable of moving through 3 planes

Three Movement Planes & Joint Actions

Sagittal Plane

Frontal Plane

Transverse Plane



Internal Rotation



External Rotation










During almost every human movement it is common to find body segments moving simultaneously, or, in sequence through the three movement planes. During walking, for example, dorsiflexion (sagittal), eversion (frontal) and internal rotation (transverse) occurs simultaneously at the foot and ankle (Hintermann et al, 1998) at heel strike. According to Gray (2003), tri-plane motion at joints is necessary to proprioceptively stimulate the muscles to react, therefore, creating the necessary stability needed to protect them. Throughout the course of life our joints can lose motion in any one of these planes – this leads to joint dysfunction and inevitably to another part of the body being ‘bullied’ into compensating for that loss of movement…how often does Kelly Starret aka K-Star talk about restoring movement to a joint?

My warm-up now includes movement patterns that are driving movements, in all three planes, into my body, primarily my hips, thoracic spine and shoulders. The benefits have come extremely fast. . I integrated this dynamic warm-up last week and today I managed a comfortable 5×10 handstand push-ups when before Christmas the pain allowed me to get through just single reps!

Guys, the CrossFit Games Open is starting in mid-February. Competition to get to Regionals is going to be like nothing we’ve ever seen before. THINK about your warm-up; DON’T just go through the same of routine. PREPARE YOUR BODY TO UNLEASH THE FURY!

 “No function-no performance; know function-know performance”. Gary Gray 2006


Todays WOD

On a 10 minute timer:

3 rounds:

5 squat cleans, 100kg

15 ring dips

then establish a 1RM squat

3 rounds in 3:50 and a 180kg squat

2 thoughts on “Does Your Warm Up Help You Evolve?

  1. Pingback: Restoring Joint Function – Thanks to Jami Tikkanen for this one. « athleticevolution

  2. Pingback: Is Your Foot Holding You Back? « athleticevolution

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