Now that we are working out at home more frequently, we don’t always have the guidance of a group class and a Coach to make sure we are warming up properly (or at all) before each workout. I know that I am horrible about warming up properly if left to my own devices. But warming up is so incredibly important! If you are a Remote Coaching member, you know that we give you just as much info about the warm up as we do the workout.
A long running joke told by CrossFitters is that “our warm up is your workout.” Irreverent humor aside, there is a reason we spend so much time on warming up and why we have relatively difficult warm ups!
First, we have to wade through a tad bit of science. I promise, I’ll make it quick.
The body needs an indicator of how hard to breath at any given moment. Hopefully, we don’t walk up a few steps and end up covered in sweat and gasping for breath.
The brain is constantly monitoring the levels of dissolved carbon dioxide in the blood and spinal fluid. As we work harder and move faster that level of dissolved carbon dioxide will increase. This triggers us to take bigger, deeper, and faster breaths.
This will bring in more oxygen and push more carbon dioxide out of our bodies. The problem is that all this doesn’t happen instantly. It’s an adaptive process over several minutes as workload increases.
If you don’t get enough of a warm up, your body will actually still be warming up 1-2 rounds into the workout. Think about a fast and intense workout like Fran – for elite athletes, 2-3 minutes and that workout is over!
What all this means for us when we are working out is that we need to take some time to make sure our bodies are ready for some intense training. The harder you plan to workout, the more you need to make sure that ramp up happens.
In fact, if you are looking at a short intense workout (like Fran) you need a longer and more intense workout in order to insure that you are performing at peak efficiency at the call of 3-2-1 GO! The shorter the workout, the more time you should take on your warm up! We have spent an entire hour class just prepping for the rigors of a short workout like Fran.
A good warm up serves many purposes. It will increase body temperature and bring the heart rate up. It will loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles. And, it will get your brain ready to adapt to your oxygen needs as you hit that work out hard. Remember – we are impressed by intensity!