Warming up - Part 2 / 2

In our last post, we touched on warming up. In particular, the difference between your sympathetic nervous state and your parasympathetic nervous state.

For today’s post, we’re going to break it down further.

So, how do you switch from a parasympathetic state to your sympathetic state when exercising?

By warming up.

“Wake Up > Move > Go”

“Warm Up Your Brain > Warm Up Your Body > Start Exercising”


What does that look like?

It can vary. There are literally 1000’s of ways you can warm up. The perfect exercise or strategy doesn’t exist. However, taking the time to work out what suits you is the most important thing. Ignoring it will come back to bite you.

At SOF, our warm up works a little something like this.


#1 - Muscle Release

Let’s assume we are coming in to the gym cold. When we are cold, our muscles can be prone to being more stiff and sore. There is research to suggest that by foam rolling/triggering etc, it helps promote blood flow and circulation and as a result, can help make us feel a little less stiff and sore. However, of late we have noticed people spending waaayyy too much time doing self myofascial release. Make it deliberate, make it quick, use it to help you get moving.

Read here for more about the research.


#2 - Mobility & Activation

Now that you’ve spent a few minutes loosening up, you should already feel an improvement. Your body will start to open up and you’ll be able to access a greater range of motion than before. From here, you must ‘switch on’ your muscles. By that, we mean you must create a map of your body and connect the dots from brain to muscles. This is also referred to as muscle activation. A combination of these two will have you feeling and moving a whole lot better than 5 minutes ago.


#3 - Movement/Interaction/Game Play

This is where it will vary depending on the exercise that you are about to perform.

If you are about to run, do run-specific drills.
If you are about to squat, do squat-specific drills.
If you are about to swim, do swim-specific drills.

You get the point.

What’s important here is that you start to ramp up the intensity of the exercise and move from a slow > medium > fast paced state.

Using a runner as an example, this might look like going from a ‘high knee’ and ‘butt flick’ drill to actually running at fast paced before the main set begins.


#4 - Go time.

By now, you should be warm.


In summary:

  • When your brain is ‘cold’, your body is cold. When your body is cold, everything feels worse than it should.

  • Sometimes your mind and body just isn’t as prepared for exercise as what you think it is.

  • You want to switch from ‘parasympathetic’ to ‘sympathetic’ during a warm up.

  • Warm up your brain. Move your body. Start exercising.

For more on this, feel free to send us an email.



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