Friday, February 14, 2014

Sharpen the Axe

"Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

Abraham Lincoln 

The quote tells the significance of preparation.  Prepare well and the task that will be undertaken will improve.  I'm not one that loves to warm up, so I have started to implement 5-10 minutes of "Sharpen the Axe" routines.  

Very often if you get a workout, it just lists warm up.  I was guilty of this as any strength coach out there.  Maybe it's my aging joints, my current city being in the midst of a 3 month ( Not an exaggeration) sub freezing temperature streak or maybe I'm getting smarter,  either way,  my warm ups are getting more intelligently designed and slightly longer.

Part of the warm up should be mentally stimulating.  So not one warm up routine will do.  Create at least 3 that can be rotated from workout to workout.  Some rules to apply to your sharpen the axe routines.

1.  Body temp must be elevated.   (Get the body moving)
2.  Mobility must be incorporated.  Active (You moving into ROM) and Passive (foam rollers)
3.  Cross body movements  (brain likes it when limbs cross mid line)
4.  Squat pattern (goblet squat, air squat)
5.  Hip Hinge Pattern  (good morning, KB swings,)
5.  Pushing Pattern  (push up, spider man push up, Hindu)
6.  Pulling Pattern  (chin up, inverted row)
7.  Anterior Core (ab wheel, plank)
8.  Dynamic Movement  (jumps, KB swings, power skips, med ball toss)

Many of the movements can just be body weight, but kettlebells, furniture sliders, and prowler type sleds can make for easy implements to add in.

If all 8 are somehow incorporated you will not only have an awesome warm up to prepare you for an even better workout, you will have a very mini workout for the days when you are in a time crunch or don't feel like working out.  In fact, after you do this type of warm up, you will often find you do have the inertia now to keep working out.  Inertia is a powerful thing.

Spend a minute on most,  some just 30 seconds.  You decide.  A few examples to pick from:  air dyne, jump rope, skipping, A drills, skips with arm swings,  different types of crawls, air squats, body weight good mornings,  push ups, chin ups, ab roll out wheel, inch worms, swings, box jumps, squat jumps, spider man lunges,  push and pull a sled from various angles, animal flow, body weight Turkish Get Ups, somersaults  both forward and backward).  The list can get endless.  

Sharpening the Axe allows you to get the most benefit out of your workout.  It will keep you healthier. It will prime the nervous system for heavier weights and faster movements.  Go Sharpen the Axe!

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