For the most part, CrossFit 1864's sessions are run the following way:
General and Specific Warm up
Strength and/or Conditioning piece
Cool down / post-WOD whiteboard huddle
If we ran a poll and asked what our members thought the most important part of our classes is, I bet that everyone would say the Strength and / or Conditioning piece. And you would be mostly right. I mean, without our strength and conditioning piece, how are you going to get stronger and improve your conditioning, i.e. why you came here in the first place??
However, it is actually the 10-15 minutes BEFORE the strength and conditioning that is key to your development and will bring you closer to the gainz...
"But the warm up is child's play, right? There's no heavy weights, no high intensity, to be honest, sometimes it just feels a little bit dull and UNNECESSARY."
Quite the contrary! The warm-up is the most important part of the class and your success as an athlete is dependent upon it. Now let me tell you why…
Gets you warm
The first role of our warm-up is to GET YOU WARM. Obvs. Let me tell you… Baby, it's cooooold outside. Taking in to consideration safety first, trying to sprint or do anything heavy or dynamic when your muscles are cold is a recipe for disaster and just begging for a pull or a tear.
But we're not just trying to warm up your muscles, we're trying to warm up your Central Nervous System (CNS). Have you ever noticed that when you're prepping for a heavy or complex (Read: Olympic Lifting) session, your coaches have you do loads of bounding, Junk Yard Dog, or explosive movements like kettlebell swings? That's to wake up your CNS and to get you primed for the heavy lifting you are getting ready to take on. The same principle applies to short sprint-style workouts such as Fran or the Bergeron Beep Test. Ever tried these workouts in the middle of winter after a 5 minute warm up of mountain climbers and twisting bears? It sucks. Don't do it. Your score will suffer and your body will feel miserable. The shorter and more intense the workout, the longer the warm-up needs to be.
Before our strength or conditioning begins, we need to introduce you to the ranges of motion we want you to hit during the session. And just because you're not sat on a foam roller doesn't mean we're not taking you through a mobility piece and improving your range of motion. In our warm ups, we normally utilise dynamic mobility (versus the static mobility of mashing, rolling or static stretching). Dynamic mobility comes in many shapes and sizes, from our wall squats and crossover lunges, to wall-facing handstands, bear crawls and inchworms. With these movements, we are not just improving your range of motion; we're also teaching your body how to best use its newly increased range, whilst still keeping you warm.
All of the movements we do can be broken in to a group of archetypal positions:
Overhead position: (Full flexion + External rotation) e.g. top of a pressing movement
Front rack position: (Flexion + External rotation) e.g. rack position in a front squat
Hang position: (Internal rotation) e.g the pulling of the arms in the snatch/clean
Press position: (Extension + Internal rotation) e.g. Bottom of a push-up
Squat position: (Flexion + External rotation) e.g. a squat
Lunge: (Extension + Internal rotation) e.g. a lunge or back leg when running
Pistol: (Full hip flexion + full ankle dorsiflexion) e.g.....you guessed it. A Pistol
For more details on the archetypal positions, check out our blog here.
During the warm-up we aim to get you hitting the same movement patterns that you will come across in the strength and conditioning pieces later in the session. Whether you notice it or not you are actually doing a lot of skill work (if you are focusing on moving well) as well as improving ranges of motions and getting warmed up.
Skill Development and / or Strengthening
You've no doubt seen this more recently with our Open Prep Specific warm-ups, but just in case you haven't… We also use the warm up as a great opportunity to throw in some extra skill development and basic strength work. Hanging is great for mobility, but it's also great for improving grip strength. The single arm / single leg work is introducing some uncommon planes of movement as well as bringing in some unilateral loading of movement, both great ways to address strength and mobility imbalances. Tabata skipping is a great way to get get you warm, but it's also a great opportunity for you to get in some practice with your skipping and try linking double unders whilst you're fatigued.
There are some days when you come in to the gym a bit deflated, tired from a rough week, not really feeling motivated at all to train. Hell, after spending 30 minutes on the tube with your face in someone's armpit, you might not even want to see another person, let alone partner up for a workout! But, as the minutes go by, you find yourself playing musical medballs, abmat tag, jumping over and crawling under people you've never met before like you were still in primary school, laughing with your warm-up partner as Carly Rae Jepsen plays YET AGAIN (will Coach Maria EVER get a new playlist?). Before you know it, you're in a completely different mood, you're a completely different person! You're pumped, buzzing off post-WOD endorphins, high fiving and chest bumping people. How did that happen?! Well, the warm-up played a big part! In addition to all the aforementioned things we use warmups for to improve your training, your coaches also use warm-ups to act as icebreakers, to help you relax and unwind from your day, introduce you to a new member, and make sure your sessions are just as much about play as they are about working hard and lifting heavy. Because what is training good for if you can't have a little fun?