Warm Up For Crossfit Athletes:

The warm up is often a place of confusion for many Crossfit athletes. Questions like “How long should it take?” or  “What should I do?” or “Do I stretch or do I move?” come up frequently. This article tries to address some of the common questions about warming up and points to resources to help you develop your own warm up routine, suitable to your goals and allotted training time.

At Meadow Ridge Crossfit we generally like to have our athletes perform their own pre-warm up and then we get into a more dynamic warm up with higher skill, involving some body weight movements and gymnastics routines. Then we prep movement for the strength work that is programmed for that day. It’s worked well for us over the years but there is an even better method. However, before deciding on a warm up, you have to ask yourself how much time are you willing to dedicate to training, and what is the most effective use of your time?

For me, factors like how intense the workout ahead of me is, how much free time I have that day, and how important the training session is, will all affect how I design my personal warm ups. If time is not an issue for you and you have upwards of an hour to prep for training, I would recommend the following routine:

  • 10-15mins Trigger Point Release Therapy | MWOD
  • 5-10mins General Monostructural
  • 10-15mins General Dynamic Warm Up
  • 10-15mins Targeted Movement Prep For That Day’s WOD

Lets break down each one of these areas:

Trigger Point Release Therapy | MWOD:
Goal: Release, lengthen, and prep muscles / Improve movement efficiency / Increase blood flow.
Examples: Foam rollers, ball smashing, barbell rolling, etc. 100’s of examples can be found at Mobilitywod.com

General monostructural cardio:
Goal: Get blood flowing, heart rate up / initial heart rate spike, breathing rate increased.
Examples: Rowing, running, skipping, high step / heel strike, biking, etc.

General Dynamic Warm Up:
Goals: Central Nervous System activation, Place joints and muscles through full range of motion and prepare them for more intense exercise.
Examples: Arm swings, air squats, lunges, mountain climbers, push ups, dips, pull ups, sit ups, leg swings, hip rotations, burpees, oly lifts with dowel, hollow rocks, etc.

Targeted Movement Prep For That Days WOD:
Goal: Full activation of CNS, Prepare movement patterns to withstand heavy loads and intensity.
Examples: If you were doing 5×5 of 225# deadlifts, start with hip extensions, then light barbell deadlifts, then a set of 10 reps at 135#, then a set of 5 reps at 185#, then a set of 2 reps at 205#, then 2 at 215#, and now perform your set of 5×5 heavy at 225#.

If you are pressed for time and can’t fit it all in, remove the TTP therapy first, then the cardio, then the dynamic, but never remove the movement prep. Like I mentioned, at Crossfit Meadow Ridge we always program a dynamic gymnastic warm up and some strength work to follow. Those that are prepped and ready for the strength work will see faster gains and those that aren’t generally use this time as movement prep for the WOD and intensity portion of our training.

Josh Everett has an excellent Crossfit Journal video that not only explains this full warm up in detail, but it also shows some great examples of how you can design your own. Below is a 2min preview of the entry:

If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask or feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our world class coaches.

– Coach Clark