We have all been there- in the gym at 4:30pm on the dot, set our clothes down, and half-ass it through the warmup. What we don’t realize is what we are missing by not prioritizing this opportunity to learn. Our bodies learn motor patterns- patterns that we ingrain via repetitions. Our warm ups should mimic most of what we will be doing on a given day if not the exact movements at a lighter load and intensity. This is the perfect time to teach your body to move PERFECTLY! If you can’t move with a PVC, how can you move with a barbell? If you can’t move perfectly with a barbell, how do you expect to move well with a prospective PR on your bar?
I’m sure you’ve heard, “practice makes perfect.” The truth is, “PERFECT practice makes perfect.” All you are doing by showing up late and giving a half-hearted effort to the warmup is teaching your body to move poorly.
Use this time to work on new techniques.
If we are rowing 500m in the warm up, use that time to work on your rowing technique. Try to keep your back flat, and hinge at the hip. Try to stop the seat from hitting your feet. Pull straight to your chest. Listen to your coach, and work on fixing it the movement pattern here. Or, you can do the same lazy reps you normally do and never improve. When the 500m row WOD comes, you’ll naturally resort back to the movement patterns your body is used to if you don’t work on it during warmup.
Your body will always resort to it’s ingrained motor patterns once fatigue sets in. If you’ve done the work during your warmup and worked on technique, your body is more likely to learn those good patterns we desire. Good patterns equal faster work and more efficiency which, in turn, equals more fitness!
Please take a minute to examine the warmups we do and why we do them. Put effort into them, and your movement will improve! Before you know it, you’ll have that sought after overhead squat, 1:35 500m row, or whatever movement ails you today.
What did we learn today…
Show up early
Look at the warmup
Set a goal during that warm up
About the Author: Justin Tway started CrossFit/eating better in 2008 as a way to become more athletic and healthy, after training regular bodybuilding style, and finding that his blood work was off the charts in the wrong direction.