The importance of Movement Preparation (Dynamic Warm Up)

Movement preparation, also referred to as a dynamic warm-up, involves moving in a variety of directions at different speeds to help activate the tissues along with the nervous, circulatory and respiratory systems responsible for controlling and fueling movement. Movement preparation can be an effective and functional way to prepare the body for a neurologically, and physically challenging training session.

Performing a warm-up at the start of an exercise session:

  • Increases circulation, which moves oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the involved muscles

  • Elevates tissue temperature so that muscles can rapidly lengthen and return to their starting shape

  • Turns on the sensory receptors of the central nervous system responsible for identifying position changes in the body, which is essential for determining the appropriate motor response

  • Elevates the levels of hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for providing energy during a workout.

  • Rehearses movement patterns in slower, controlled tempos before adding resistance or moving at a fast speed

  • Otherwise prepares the body for physical activity

Movement preparation exercises are an effective pre-workout warm-up because they move the body in all directions and involve a number of different muscles and joints. For best results, a movement preparation warm-up should start with exercises that focus on stability of the lumbar spine along with mobility of the hips and thoracic spine, while gradually increasing the level of intensity to allow tissue temperature and circulation to increase. Here are five ways that movement preparation works as an effective pre-workout warm-up strategy:

  1. Joint capsules and ligament endings contain numerous sensory receptors that measure and identify pressure, movement and rate of movement of their respective joints. Slow, controlled movements through a complete range of motion allows the nervous system to learn how to regulate the degrees of freedom allowed in each individual joint.

  2. Muscles are comprised of two different kinds of tissue: the contractile element of the actin and myosin proteins and the elastic component of the fascia and connective tissue, which surrounds every muscle fiber down to the most microscopic level. Muscle and fascia contain sensory receptors that sense tension, length change and rate of length change. Movement preparation exercises engage the sensory receptors in both the contractile and elastic tissues to fully involve the central nervous system and prepare it to control the muscles used in the workout.

  3. As muscles lengthen, the muscle spindles sense the rate of length change and communicate with motor neurons to initiate muscle contractions. Movement preparation exercises increase nervous system activity within muscles, making them more effective at producing powerful contractions during exercise.

  4. Multiplanar movements at a variety of rhythmic speeds increase heat in the body. As body temperature elevates, muscle and fascia become more pliable and capable of lengthening and shortening at faster rates of speed.

  5. Reciprocal inhibition refers to the physiological action that occurs when the shortening or contracting of one muscle sends a signal to its functional antagonist (the muscle on the other side of a joint), which allows it to lengthen. The controlled contractions during movement preparation exercises use the principle of reciprocal inhibition to allow muscles to lengthen and prepare for activity.

An effective movement preparation sequence involves all of the foundational movement patterns of exercise: lunging, squatting, pushing, pulling and rotating. Start with slow, controlled movements and gradually progress to challenging, fast-paced multidirectional movement patterns. The body can take at least eight to 12 minutes to fully warm up. Therefore, setting aside the proper time for a complete movement preparation sequence can help ensure your client’s workout is a success.

All of our Odd Object Playground classes include a comprehensive, challenging , and fun movement prep component. We always encourage our members to keep the concepts they learn in the classes so that they have useful tools that they can utilize when ever they need where it is at PCC/DiamondHeart MA or when ever traveling or visiting another facility. 

Time saving fat burner!!!

If you were looking for the 2 perfect movements that would not only burn a larger amount of calories, scorch fat, build muscle, boost your endurance, and would also improve your posture and help keep you from getting lower back pain—you’d need to look no further than the The Turkish Get Up (TGU) and Russian Kettlebell (KB) Swing.

 

 

First lets look at what the Russian KB swing brings to the table:

 

1) Increased power 

To properly do a kettlebell swing, you’ll need hip drive. Being able to use your glutes (that’s yer butt) and hamstring muscles in order to propel the bell along its path dynamically. In all forms of athletics, strengthening this movement pattern will give you the advantage of being able to quickly activate, creating power to move fast.

 

2) Increased aerobic capacity

KB swings used in moderate to high repetition will give your pulmonary system an incredible workout. Studies have shown that this kind of training will help to increase your VO2 levels.

VO2 max (also maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, peak oxygen uptake or maximal aerobic capacity) is the maximum rate of oxygen consumption as measured during incremental exercise. 

Simply put, if your heart is able to supply blood more efficiently to your body, then your body will recover and perform more optimally. This has an incredible benefit to your overall well being, allowing you to regain a sense of ease quicker when recovering from stress.

 

3) Better muscular endurance

Muscular endurance is your ability to generate sub maximal muscular contractions for extended periods of time. Moderate to high reps of KB swings will add to your muscular endurance.

Increased muscular endurance will allow you to do more for longer periods of time. When you can apply this idea to your favorite athletic activities in and out of the gym, it means being able play even longer (and who doesn’t like that???).

Be sure you are doing these repetitions with good form and technique. This helps promote proper body mechanics that apply to other facets of movement including good spinal health. 

4) Full body training

More bang for your buck!!! This movement is amazing for its overall effect on the body. Everything is employed when you learn to utilize the KB swing efficiently and safely.

 

Now let’s take a look at the benefits of the Turkish Get Up or TGU…

 

1) Full body exercise

Let’s start where we left off… Bang for the Buck!!! The TGU is what I consider a “Complex Carry”. It is a full body exercise that promotes cross lateralization (getting the right brain to work with the left side). It promotes upper and lower body stability while simultaneously developing upper body, trunk, and hip strength.

 

  1. 2) Challenges balance and coordination
  2. Something that always seems to get overlooked in training is the stimulation of the vestibular, visual, and proprioceptive systems. 
  3. Some of us might remember spinning in circles as a child or playing on the playground merry go rounds til we were dizzy.
  4. Activities such as these help these systems to develop. Their importance to our general homeostasis, which is the tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes. These systems play an underlying role throughout our lives, and have sometimes an even greater impact as we age.

 

  1. 3) The TGU as a “corrective” exercise
  2. In the modern day we see a lot of systematic maladies do to the lack of movement and through an increased sedentary population. 
  3. Work place ergonomics play into this in a big way by sitting daily at a computer (or just sitting). If we can use this movement to get our members and clients moving better and pain free, increasing their ranges of motion, than we are damn well going to!
  4. Studies using the TGU to rehab injuries in the shoulder, hip and torso have shown to have amazing benefits to patients not only getting them back to their previous fitness levels, but have shown to increase those levels in the process.
  5. In the martial arts and sports training community, the use of the TGU as an “injury preventative” has become a standard amongst coaches who are aware of the importance of bolstering the musculoskeletal system helping athletes to limit chances of injury during combat and ballistic sports.

 

  1.  “If you wanna get strong, pick stuff up off the ground, lift stuff over your head, and carry stuff around”
  2.           ~Dan John
  3.  
  4. There is not a single situation in life where being strong is not an advantage. Although martial arts is based in the concepts that a smaller athlete can overcome a larger athlete with technique, the basic fact is that when two equally skilled athletes are paired, the stronger athlete will come out ahead in the end. 
  5. Strength allows us the ability to help others, to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Strength brings resilience and vitality to the quality of our everyday lives.
  6. As the saying goes, strong people are harder to kill!
  7.  
  8. Come to our Odd Objects Playground classes to learn these exercises and more. Check the schedule for current class times.

Breathing techniques to improve recovery.

Recovery was once an often overlooked factor in athletic development and training.

Many coaches and athletes will push to high levels of intensity in the gym and on the training floor but once out of that surrounding we need to refuel, recover, reset ourselves for our next training session.

 

We need to start understanding that the human body is an intertwined number of subsystem that each play there own important roles in our performance, recovery and overall longevity. Targeting the recovery of only the muscular system will leaving the rest of the system in a training deficit and over time lead to problems.

 

The human performance system is broken down into:

 

-Musculoskeletal

-Nervous

-Cardiovascular

-Digestive

-Respiratory

-Cognitive

-Endocrine

-Exocrine

-Immune

-Renal

 

A stronger and more comprehensive approach to movement and recovery put this integrated model into play, Keeping in mind each subsystem that all combined complete one super system.

Each of these subsystems hold influence upon the other in our ability to manage and strengthen both outputs of performance and the recovery from it.

 

The primary shift in thinking needs to step away from the outdated mode of thinking that everything starts and stops with the muscular system and begin to work towards and adopting a more integrated concept that includes all of the subsystems with in this framework.

 We need to apply a more global view of how the body works in recovery as opposed to the outdated segmented recovery concepts. In other words to start looking at this as a collection of cohesive systems which are interconnected an working together.

 

Once we have made that mental paradigm shift , the next step is to understand that all of the subsystems play a role and are important but one of them is what should be considered the foundation that everything else rest upon.

 

Breathing and it’s obvious “and not so obvious” importance

 

when it come to optimizing movement and recovery, the of the most crucial pieces of the performance puzzle, proper breathing mechanics are paramount.

Respiration is the most underutilized and overlooked aspect in recovery which is ironic because it is the foundation that allows all of the other systems to thrive.

If your respiration isn’t normalized, it is hard for the other systems to follow suit.

If your breathing is out of whack then it will effect the other systems in a similar fashion.

 

 

Get your breathing right and you will have a good platform to build and develop all of the other systems upon in order to build  a solid symbiotic amongst them and optimized your movement and recovery.

 

From a movement and recovery standpoint this should be obvious.

If you aren’t breathing effectively and efficiently , can you really expect to perform well in an activity where the most basic requirement is the effective utilization of oxygen.

 

The mechanical effects of airflow, and how it can detract from or enhance movement cannot be overstated.

With sub-optimal breathing patterns, posture and movement quality are compromised, leading to less efficient movement during exercise or competition which will obviously have a depreciating effect on the level you will be able to perform at.

Breathing influences movement patterns, posture, pain, as well as performance by altering the position of the musculoskeletal system, Causing restriction of airflow leading to the under inflation or hyperinflation of your lungs, thus creating a mechanical barrier that limits movement.

In short and in a very real way, being able to move optimally during performance and exercise comes back to the ability to breathe effectively.

 

Recovery is affected in a similarly detrimental way. To truly get a grasp on optimal recovery we need to think past the muscles and look to the nervous system.

 

The recovery of the nervous is a powerful influencer in regards to regaining the capacity to provide output to the movement system. But it also must be considered baed on its impact on the behavior of any number of subsystems that can allow these local adaptations to occur as well as our ability to maintain health.

 

If Your nervous systems chronically fatigued, it won’t matter how “effective” of a training or condition ing program you are following, results will be suboptimal due to the “trickle down” effect that will occur.

 

For instance, A strongly, rigid, less adaptive nervous system has broad spectrum consequences that may promote similar reductionist the ability of other systems.

If the autonomic system is overtaxed and remains sympathetic dominant , an excess of stress hormone circulation may delay the ability of energy restore mechanisms be effective.

This could lead to digestion being interrupted, which in turn will limit the necessary energy and nutrient absorption.

 

Keep the human movement/performance system is a network of interconnected parts that react to one another. 

 

Sympathetic System-“Fight or Flight”             Parasympathetic-“Rest and Recover”

-Increases Heart rate                                      -Slows heart rate

-Raises blood pressure                                   -Decreases blood pressure

-Diverts blood flow to working muscles           -Dilates blood vessels 

-Release sugar and fats into bloodstream       -Promotes energy storage

-Inhibits digestion                                             -Stimulates digestion

-Reduces appetite                                            -increases appetite

-Dilates pupils                                                   -Constricts pupils

 

Being “Sympathetic dominant “ reduces the immunes systems ability to manage inflammation promoting the inability of soft tissue to hypertrophy or adaptively reconstruct.

This in tun may lead to the degeneration of tissues such tendons which may eventually lead to injury.

In simplest terms, the more “sympathetic dominant” your nervous system is due to being overtaxed, overstressed and fatigued the less efficient  your body and its systems will be at facilitating movement ( your performance during both training and competition will be below what they should be) as well as being less capable of facilitating the recovery process after training meaning you will be walking around in a low level state of fatigue that will escalate over through the period of your training program leading to possible sickness and injury.

 

The more stress that is placed on the body , the greater the demand on the nervous system. Things that can contribute to an overtaxed nervous system include:

 

- Poor sleep habits

-Persistent health issues

-Lack of necessary nutrients due to poor dietary choices

-being hyper-driven, “Never quit” type of person

-Physical training/ Conditioning (exercise is a stress on the body)

-Poor breathing patterns

 

Obviously, Addressing each of these environmental and behavioral aspects of stress is important but if we were to establish a “hierarchy”, understanding and developing better breathing patterns would take priority.

In terms of recovery, Proper breathing can shift the nervous system from its stressed sympathetically dominant state toward a more restorative , recovery based, parasympathetic state. The focus here is: In order to move optimally during exercise and competition your nervous systems need to be in check.

 

You can train respiration just like you can any muscle or component of health and fitness. Over time, the consequences of an overtaxed nervous system can be altered in a favorable manor by  working on and developing better breathing mechanics.

 

With practice, as part of an effective movement and recovery program, a subject may be actually able to enhance recovery between repeated bouts of activity and training  to maintain performance levels as well as to improve their ability to recover better from a health and long term perspective.

 

3 breathing exercises to can try

 

Bear breathing

 

-position your self on all four on the floor

-Hands should be directly below the shoulders and knees directly below the hips

-Push long through the arms as if to push away from the floor until you feel a stretch between your shoulder blades

-elevate knees off the floor until shins are horizontal to the floor

-hold this position as you take 3-5 full breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth

-relax and breath normal for a few seconds

-Repeat and perform 3-5 repetitions

 

Wall Breathing

 

-Standing with your back against a wall place your feet at hip width and about 10-12 inches from the wall.

-Posteriorly tilt the pelvis to flatten the lower back against the wall

-Reach forward maximally with both hands allowing upper back to round forward.

-hold this position as you take 3-5 full breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth

-relax and breath normal for a few seconds

-Repeat and perform 3-5 repetitions

 

Forearm Plank Breathing

 

-Lay face down on floor.

-Place your hands below you face palm down on the floor such that they form a diamond with your index fingers and thumbs.

-Push through the forearms and push the shoulders forward to lift the chest and abdomen upward off the floor until weight is only on the forearms and pubic bone.

-Hold the upward position and perform 3-5 full breaths, in through nose out through mouth.

-Return to starting position

-Repeat and perform 3-5 repetitions 

 

These breathing exercises can be used at any time weather it be warm up , cool down , or as an active rest between sets or exercises if there is adequate time.

 

They can even be used at home upon getting out of bed or pre-bedtime or pre and post meditation if you follow that practice.

Try to incorporate a couple of these into your daily routine and you’ll quickly feel the difference.

We totally welcome your feedback!!