15 Minutes Is All You Need
These days you see a lot of lifters and athletes spending the better part of their workouts warming up. It's understandable. There's a lot of info out there now about warm-ups, activation, correctives and mobility. Do a little of everything and soon your warm-up becomes longer than your workout.
Is it really necessary to spend an exorbitant amount of time just on warming up? No. Most of the time, it's not necessary to spend more than 15 minutes on it. The goal of your warm-up should be to prepare you for the training that day by priming the central nervous system and primary movers, as well as increasing core temperature.
What About Correctives & Mobility?
Many use corrective exercises to improve muscular imbalances, retrain a movement pattern, or rehab from an injury. Sometimes, these corrective sessions should be considered workouts all by themselves. Add a ton of this type of work to your training for the day and you could detract for your strength and hypertrophy work. Mobility work can be done in a separate session as well.
Of course, most people don't have time for multiple training sessions a day, nor do they have the time to spend 45 minutes on their warm-up, correctives, and mobility. But it's possible to include mobility and correctives in our warm-ups to save time. Here are some examples of efficient warm-ups that can you start adding into your training right away.
Option 1: The Dynamic Warm-Up
Here we'll include dynamic flexibility as well as activation and mobilization, tying all of these components together.
The mobilization will take place after we've already had the chance to increase core temperature via dynamic movement. The purpose of our mobilization isn't to put ourselves in pain. Quite the contrary. We're simply trying to prepare the primary muscle groups that will be directly involved with our training for the day. Here's an example for both the lower body and upper-body:
Lower Body Warm-Up
Upper Body Warm-Up
Both warm-ups include active movement, activation, and mobilization. Give these a try before your next workout and you'll find you're more alert and prepared to get into the meat and potatoes of your training session.
Option 2: Mini-Workout
Performing a "mini-workout" before the actual training is a favorite of Louie Simmons, and it's incredibly effective and efficient.
This will help increase core temperature, potentiate weaker muscle groups by adding a little more volume to your session, and fully prepare you for the training ahead. You'll feel more engaged, increasing the chances of success during your workout. Here are two examples:
Lower Body Warm-Up
Do 3 rounds of the following with 30-45 seconds rest between sets:
12 Reverse Hypers, squeezing glutes a top for a 1 count
12 Goblet Squats
12 Reverse Crunches plus Deadbug
No reverse hyper? Do 12 reps of the 45-degree back extension.
Reverse Hyper Overview
Reverse Crunch Plus Deadbug
Upper Body Warm-Up
Perform 3 rounds of the following with 30-45 seconds between sets:
12 Dumbbell Bench Presses (alternate pronated, neutral, supinated grips)
12 1-Arm Dumbbell Rows (each side)
12 Hollow Rocks
Option 3: Sled Work
Sleds may be one of the most multi-faceted tools we have available to us. We can use the sled for both lower-body work as well as upper-body work. Here are two examples:
Sled pull power walk with half bodyweight (includes sled-weight) x 400 meters. Here you're going to alternate between forward, backward, and lateral movement (similar to Carioca).
3 rounds of:
Sled Pull Rows/Face-Pulls with half bodyweight x 100 ft
Banded Pushdowns x 15
Upper Body Sled Pull Variations
Your goal is to keep your workouts as efficient as possible. Having a plan in place beforehand ensures that you aren't having to spend any extra energy coming up with something on the spot.
It's vital for health and performance that you're covering all of your bases and not cutting into the time better spent on higher-value training. Remember, you can be fully prepared to get the most out of your training in 15 minutes or less.