Your workout should start well before you hear, ‘3…2…1…GO!’ It’s essential to warm-up properly before you jump in and attack a WoD with the necessary physical intensity CrossFit demands. The 10-15 minutes you spend getting your muscle and joints ready aren’t glamorous or exciting, but they’re pivotal to your continued success so stop skipping them and dig in.
What’s the point of warming up? Well, a good warmup will improve the communication between your central nervous system and your muscles, for one. It will also elevate your heart rate and increase blood flow, which will result in better join mobility, which reduces the chance of injury.
Warming up just doesn’t get your body ready for exercise, it also offers the opportunity to slow down and perfect some of the most important foundational movements, like squats and pushups. The more you do these movements, the better you get at them. And the better you are at them, the more likely it is that you’ll get good at tougher, more skill- and strength-reliant movements, such as thrusters and handstand pushups. Think of a warmup as building a foundation for short-term effort (the workout ahead) and long-term effort (your overall fitness goals).
It’s a good idea to use your warmup to work on foundational movements, but you can also use it to catch up on movements you may have missed in the week. For example, there could have been a pullup workout you missed that you’d like to somehow incorporate into your warmup. You can also use this time to work on a skill a coach has encouraged you to practice. Spend a few minutes getting warm – there’s always a warmup posted on the board – and then find a place where you can work on your double-unders or muscle-up transitions. The more time you can spend on these movements, the quicker you will progress.
We believe that the warmup is so important that, starting in August, we will be doing group-led warmups to make sure everyone is getting through the programmed material. We believe this will dramatically increase performance levels in classes, as well as solve any mobility issues and improve those skills some of you have been struggling with.
After all, the warmup is the most important part of the class.
Broder McNeill is a coach and co-owner at Alchemy CrossFit.