Ya I used a click-bait title for this blog post, but it’s probably the only click-bait that actually produces results. Your warm ups take about 10 minutes, right? That’s the time I’m talking about, and also happens to be the most easily squandered time in class. Over the last several months at TMF HQ, I’ve been sneaking quite a bit of strict gymnastics and skill work into my warm ups. Sometimes it can be difficult to make skill sessions fit in class, especially if the class is jam-packed with programming and/or members so I had to get creative with some stuff that I think is important. Below are a couple examples of what I’m referring to and how to make it work in your classes.
A battle I’m sure you’ve fought more than once is convincing athletes to develop their strict gymnastics strength before moving onto kipping movements (e.g. pull ups). I’ve found that as coaches, whatever we deem to be important to both safety and health will eventually become important to members, it’s just a matter of how consistent I am with what I preach. Now we have athletes doing push ups and strict pull ups after class. I personally believe that athletes need to demonstrate the capability to perform most movements strict before adding the ballistic element of kipping, mostly for joint/ligament health and safety. Since I’ve discovered most members aren’t all that excited about doing strict pull ups or static holds outside of class, I’ve made it a priority to put them into the warm ups. Just because there isn’t a barbell doesn’t mean athletes aren’t getting stronger. Someone who can take their strict pull ups from 3 to 8 has gotten stronger, and someone who goes from 10 push ups with elevated hands to 10 regular push ups has also gotten stronger. I like to give rep ranges for the strict work – it tells athletes that it’s ok to be on the lower end and that I don’t actually care about quantity, but quality. Here are two examples of warm ups with some strict gymnastics.
3 Steady Rounds
6-10 Strict Pull Ups in 2 sets or less (otherwise grab a band)
12 Pause Empty Bar OH Squats
AMRAP 6 Minutes
(5) 3-second Ring Dip Negatives (or push up negatives)
10 Goblet Squats
Skill Work and Holds
Another easy way to improve your athletes fitness levels in a warm up is with skill work like handstand walking and static holds. I’ve found that just by providing a few minutes a day for movements like handstand walking, many athletes realize they actually can do them, they had just never practiced so they assumed that they couldn’t. Handstand holds, handstand walking, ring support holds, chin over bar holds, L-sits, planks, hip extension holds, etc. are all excellent warm up options because they can generally be performed “cold” and can be done by all fitness levels with minimal scaling. Here are two more examples:
On a 7 Minute Clock:
2 Rounds of
10 Medball Cleans
10 PVC Pass Throughs
Then, Max 10′ HS Walk lengths with remaining time
2 Steady Rounds
:45 Second Dead Hang From a Pull Up Bar
:30 Static Ring Support Hold
:15 Hanging L-Sit or Hanging Knee Raise
The nice part about the running clock in example 1 is that people will have plenty of time to practice their variation of handstand walking without worrying about being the “slowest one”. In example 2 I’m getting a little cheeky by mixing multiple examples of holds, but this would serve as a great warm up for a day with a lot of pressing.
There’s nothing special about any of these movements other than the fact they they frequently get missed in many programs. We often-times trade strict gymnastics for kipping in the name of intensity, or for back squats and deadlifts in the name of strength. Both are great, but let’s not forget some of the most basic things every human should be able to do: push their own bodyweight off the ground, pull their own bodyweight up, and demonstrate the stability to hold themselves in one place. Mix these into your warm ups a couple times a week and watch your members get stronger and start to show skills they didn’t know they had.
Written by Hunter Wood