Check out our video briefly describing what goes into a good warmup, and why we picked the warmup that we did, here.

A good warmup should do 4 things:

  1. Raise core muscle temperature.  This is what most of us think of when we think of a warmup, and it is why the term “warm” appears in the name of the activity.
  2. Activate the right muscle firing patterns.  Athletic movement requires a neutral (straight) spine and pelvis, precise ranges of motion, and good use of primary movers like the glutes and deep hip flexors rather than muscles farther away from the core, such as hamstrings and quads.  A good warmup should allow the athlete to start firing the muscles required to achieve good shapes and use the right combo of muscles to do so.
  3. Mobilize the joints.  Athletes are often restricted in their ability to move. their joints on one way or another. Certain athletes like dancers, gymnasts or athletes who are natuerally extremely flexible might need to *de-mobilize* their joints and learn how to constrain movement into ranges that are more effective for power, rather than always allow themselves to stretch as far as they can go.  Either way, a good warmup should demand the shapes required at the end-ranges of athletic movements so athletes learn how it feels to get into those positions and move there effectively.
  4. Potentiate the athlete.  Potentiation is the state of physical preparation where muscles are pre-tensed and ready to fire, the most muscle fibers are on-hand for action, and the athlete’s nervous system is alert and ready to go.  A good warmup should be high intensity – particularly toward the end – and blend seamlessly into the training.  At Speed School, we do certain high intensity movements like our “ladder” drills where we require athletes to combine their perception with action at high speeds, to try and get athletes ready to go at full-speed.

One reason we picked the warmup exercises we picked, is that we believe that the above goals are accomplished with our warmup activities.  Another reason is that these activities are common ones.  Athletes are likely to be exposed to these warmup drills in a normal team sport setting, gym class, or another area where athletic development takes place.  We have noticed that almost no one teaches how to perform our warmup drills correctly.  “Correctly” means in a way that reinforces shapes that lead to faster times and more explosive movements. Although humans are free to move however they want – in general – there are a relatively narrow range of choices for how to move *as fast as possible*.  Athletes who want to get faster need to learn how to do so effectively, and we teach concepts related to speed and efficient movement in everything we do, including the warmup.

Here are the warmup drills we do, and how to do them effectively.  Athletes who want to earn movement achievements by performing warmup drills correctly can learn everything they need to know to do so in the following videos.  The videos are primarily aimed at the parents and coaches, as they are in a good position – external to the athlete – to view what is going on and provide feedback.  Athletes who want to film themselves and compare to the video – and / or get feedback from Thunderbolts coaches – are obviously encouraged to do so!

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