On some days, your workout just never feels "right." Something in your body is just off and no exercise seems to flow. There's stiffness, twinges, and an all-around feeling of wrongness.
The problem? It most likely has to do with your warm-up, or lack thereof. There's tons of info about advanced warm-ups here at T Nation, but a lot of folks just aren't willing to go through a half hour of warm-up drills, at least not when pressed for time. Here's the solution.
The Lazy (or Busy) Lifter's Warm-Up
This quick warm-up takes two minutes and seems to take care of most stiffness issues that lifter's experience. Yes, you may need more than this depending on your issues and your workout for the day, but if you're rushed or just want to get to the iron, at least do this. You'll feel the difference almost immediately.
1 – Do a Deep Bodyweight Squat
Using only bodyweight, drop down into a deep squat and hold it there for 30 seconds.
Since this movement is unloaded, feel free to relax into it and allow the spine to sink down into the stretch. Toward the end of the 30 seconds, you'll start to feel a nice release in the lower back too.
Bret Contreras notes: "The deep squat will help you maintain your hip flexion mobility – the ability to squat all the way down – throughout life. If you use this ability, you'll keep it. If you don't, you'll lose it."
2 – Hang From a Bar
Legendary bodybuilder Lee Labrada started every workout with the bar hang. He was onto something.
Just hang from a pull-up bar and relax into it. Now lift your knees and hold that for a while. After the initial stretch, lightly swing and twist your lower body. Experiment with a wider and narrower grip width. Now release one hand and use your toes to alter your position. Find sweet spots for the lats and pecs. Shoot for about 60 seconds on the bar.
Dr. Ken Kinakin notes: "What happens is when you squat, deadlift, or anything else, the spine starts to compress down and the facet joints in the low back start to compress, too. It's called facet imbrocation. If there's too much of a load on these joints, they'll neurologically shut down the muscular system. The joint has receptors in it that will shut the muscles down so you won't hurt yourself." He adds that lifting your knees during the bar hang leads to the best results.
3 – Repeat Deep Bodyweight Squat
You'll notice that you'll get a little deeper this time.
Do this quick combo before every training session. Feels great on off days too.