Over the years, my warm-ups and pre-workout protocols have changed a lot. I’ll admit, I used to be “that guy” who simply had clients swing the light weights around to warm up the shoulders, do some leg swings then jump in. However, with experience and research I improved this process and am pretty happy with the system we’re using now. Below are 5 daily drills that all of my Clients (including myself) perform every day.
- Hip Flexor Stretch: 2-minutes per leg. This has become foundational because of one daily factor: Sitting. Most jobs in the Western World now revolve around sitting at a desk for 8-12 hours a day and as a result the hip flexors become very tight. Stretching out the hip flexors does two key things for my clients:
- Exercises such as lunges, squats, deadlifts and bench press become easier since the body is able to move within it’s full range of motion during these movements.
- Looser hip flexors also help alleviate pressure on the lower back as they help loosen up the anterior pull on the pelvis that tight hip flexors have.
- Iron Cross: 10 per side. This is an excellent dynamic stretch on the lower back. I absolutely LOVE this drill and have been doing it for the last two years. Huge shout out and thank you to my good friend Jesse Archer for showing me the “Limber 11” video on YouTube. It opened me up to the knowledge that Joe DeFranco has and this is one of the drills I totally stole from him! This stretch feels fantastic on the lower back and is a MUST DO before any lower body lift!
- Deep Squat Sit: Start with 30-seconds, work up to 2-minutes. I have to give huge credit to Bret Contreras for this one. This drill is fantastic as it helps you do the following:
- Increase or maintain flexibility in the lower back and hips in order to squat with a full range of motion.
- Fantastic warm-up drill for the legs preparing for squats or deadlifts. You definitely feel those legs working when you have to get back up!
- Spider Man Mountain Climbers: Perform 1-round for 20-seconds. I love this drill as it helps prime your body to workout by increasing your heart rate, blood flow and core body temperature. An added bonus is that this drill also helps loosen up your groin which makes it a great pre-squat or deadlift drill!
- Band Face Pulls or Band Pull-Aparts: Start with 4×15, work up to 4×25. This is another drill that I took directly from Joe DeFranco. This drill is highly-effective at doing the following:
- Improving the muscular imbalance of the shoulders due to overuse of the anterior muscles from daily living (texting, driving, typing, etc…)
- Improving posture as a result of this. Increasing strength and building muscle in the upper back helps bring your shoulders from an internally-rotated position to more neutral. In the long run, this will also help improve lower-back health as it won’t be overworked supporting you walking around like Quasimodo!
- Pressing strength: As my Clients have been doing these, their upper body strength has SKYROCKETED. My Client Judge Jones went from benching 185×5 to hitting 205×5 over just a couple of months after throwing these into his program. Similarly, one of my other Clients Lena Warrior Princess went from a 95×1 bench to nailing 115×1. STRONG is an understatement!
Throw these into your program and see how you feel going into your workout!
To your lifelong health and success,
-Demarco Crum, CPT