Best Warm Up Movements

Best Warm Up Movements

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked by CrossFit athletes and coaches are what the best mobility movements are for a CrossFit athlete’s warm up. As much as I wish I could give a straightforward answer, I can’t as each individual’s mobility (and stability) needs are very very different.

I do however, believe there are three specific things that I’d like to see every athlete work on daily to improve their overall movement, strength, and resiliency. These three things are the goblet squat, upper back strength work, and neutral spine stability.

Warm Up  

Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is without a doubt my favorite warm up exercise. The anteriorly held weight gives the athlete a counterbalance which allows them to sit back, really focusing on loading the hips and maintaining a neutral spine. This exercise is unparalleled in its ability to improve the movement pattern of the squat, making it the perfect exercise to do in your warm up.

Goblet Squat

Upper Back Strength & Stability

Up next for warm up, I like having some upper back strength work as I believe this will help significantly with both performance and injury prevention. The way most people program their training tends to strengthen the “big guys” like the pecs and lats. Smaller muscles like the lower/mid traps, posterior rotator cuff, and rhomboids need some TLC too!

This can be accomplished with a huge variety of movement (and there are tons on my Instagram account to choose from). One of my recent favorites is prone PVC lift offs which really help strengthen end-range shoulder flexion. For athletes doing overhead lifts, this will really translate well to improved overhead stability, and thus bigger lifts!.

 

Neutral Spine Work

Finally, I think athletes should do some form of neutral spine positioning work in their warm up. This does not need to be max effort, to failure work as you will be soon getting into your workout and don’t want to do that in a fatigued core state.

Neutral spine work can include things like loaded carries, planks, 90/90 breathing, back extensions, dead bug variations, and many many more movements. For those athletes with specific core needs, this work can focus on those. For example, I am in general an overextended, anterior pelvic-tilted athlete so I tend to focus my work on anti-extension / flexion based work such as the anti-extension dead bug: