To Skip or Not to Skip Convict Conditioning Warm Up Sets: That is the Question
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a gym workout, a martial arts class, or an in-home calisthenics training session. The question on many an athlete’s mind (particularly those doing their workouts while pressed for time), seems to be: How should I warm up? Or, perhaps even more fundamentally, should I even do convict conditioning warm up sets?
My answer to this is an unequivocal … YES! Just like you shouldn’t start your car and drive off immediately after parking it outside all night on a cold winter’s evening, so too should you not jump into the hardest possible exercises without first getting the blood and oxygen flowing through the body.
But what if you don’t have a lot of time to work out as it is, let alone warm up? Not to worry: help is on the way!
Quick and Easy Warm-up
The goal of warming up is to get your body ready for the workout you are about to put it through. When your body has been at rest for awhile (behind a computer, on the couch, or even driving from work to home), only about 15-20% of blood is flowing through your skeletal muscles. It makes sense, because your heart doesn’t need to work any harder than this to sustain these sorts of leisurely or sedentary activities. Yet only after a brief period of exercise, you can increase the blood flow to 70-75%. Since blood brings nutrients and oxygen into your working muscles, increased blood flow can translate into higher levels of performance. The increase in body temperature also accompanying this higher rate of blood flow further results in faster muscular contractions/relaxations and improved nerve transmission (i.e. your nervous system sending more efficient “directions” to your muscles). You can read more on it here. So, the better the blood and nervous signals flow through your body, the better the results of your workout are likely to be.
So how do you get these great results in a short period of time? Here are three simple steps you can do for a convict conditioning warm up sets…
First, get everything moving in your body. The U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) calls this phase the general warm-up.
convict conditioning warm up set
Do an exercise that engages your entire body and therefore forces blood to flow throughout all of your system. Perhaps this is why exercises such as jumping jacks have been so popular in aerobics studios, martial arts dojos, and gym classes for decades. Other alternatives can include the mountain climber or even simply running in place (be sure to move your arms through a natural range of motion as you would if you were actually running). I usually go 30 reps of alternating 2-3 whole-body exercises like these.
convict conditioning warm up set
If you’re feeling like a change of pace, some light jump roping or “shadow boxing” (punching at the air while shuffling your feet as you might if you were actually fighting someone) can work as well. This guy has a great video demonstrating how to shadow box. The technique on jump roping and boxing isn’t too important for the purposes of warming up as long as you’re moving your entire body and working up a light sweat/slightly heavy breathing. When doing either one of these exercises, 2-3 rounds of 30-60 seconds should be enough. Start the first round at a slow to moderate pace, and then ramp up the intensity with each set that follows. Your final set should be between 50-75% maximal effort, but never go to 100% effort on your warm-up. The point is to get your body primed for activity so that it’s stronger during your exercises, and a super intense pre-workout session will just tire you out and leave you weaker.
Now, you’re ready to attack the muscles you’ll actually be targeting during your workout, or what NIH calls the specific warm-up. For this, Coach Paul Wade recommends you perform earlier versions of whatever exercises you’re hitting that day. I like to move back 2-3 steps in the program. For example, if I’m currently doing stage 4 pushups (half pushups), I’d warm up with some incline pushups (stage 2) or even wall pushups (step 1). As the Coach recommends, two sets of ten reps should be just fine to get your muscles warm and used to the similar range of motion that you’re about to put them through.
convict conditioning wall pushups
Moving with a sense of purpose, you can knock out a simple warm-up in about five minutes. However, if you find yourself truly pressed for time and tempted to skip your pre-workout, at least do a quick specific warm-up. This is one case where doing something is better than doing nothing, and even a few minutes of specific activity may decrease your chances of muscular or connective tissue injury. Make the time for even quick warm-ups, and you’ll soon see how once you’ve put your muscles through a good range of motion and gotten a light sweat going, you’ll feel better prepared to tackle your more challenging work sets.
Getting in the Zone: Mental Preparation and the Warm-Up
Here’s one final aspect as to why warming up shouldn’t be overlooked: these pre-workout routines tell your body and your brain that it’s time to get to work! As you take your muscles through a routine comparable to what they’ll experience during your actual work sets, you become increasingly mentally present in how you are working out, here and now. It’s a chance to refine your technique, range of motion, and pacing during easier steps so that you’re more ready to execute movements properly during your work sets.
Your Workout is your Warm-Up
You’ll also find that you can use your actual workout as a type of warm-up. By this, I mean that once you’re done exercising your larger muscle groups (i.e. chest, shoulders, and arms during pushups), you’ve gotten blood flowing to these areas of the body and can use this fact to your advantage. Since your upper body is already warm, the Coach recommends throwing in a few sets of forearm and grip training bar/towel hangs at the end of a chest or back session. Or, toss in a few sets of calf raises after doing a squat-based workout. Use the momentum you’ve gathered during your work sets efficiently and take your calisthenics training to the next level.
Give your body the time and attention it deserves with a good warm-up, and you’ll be on your ways to gaining strength safely and more efficiently.
What warm-ups do you do? How does your pre-workout routine change when you’re pressed for time?
Convict Conditioning 2 – Taking your strength to the next level
Convict Conditioning 2
If you are way on the way with CC 1 it might be a time to pick up Convict Conditioning 2 or a DVD Serious to boost your performance
In Convict Conditioning 2, Coach Wade takes us even deeper into the subtle nuances of training with the ultimate resistance tool: our bodies. With an amazing understanding of anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology, Coach Wade explains very simply how to work the smaller but just as important areas of the body such as the hands and forearms, neck and calves and obliques in serious functional ways.
Get your copy today and join the revolution for developing great strength and power at your convenience.
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Mike Escobar is a teacher, fitness enthusiast, and martial artist. Exercise and nutrition are two of his biggest passions. He holds a second degree black belt in a mixed martial arts system and a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.