This is the method I use at the start of just about every warm-up that I do. It takes just a few seconds to complete, yet can have a big effect on the quality of the rest of your training.
The first thing you need to understand about warm-ups is that one of their primary functions is to get the blood out of the abdomen. This is known as “sequestering”…your body keeps a reserve of blood in the abdomen when it’s not needed for activity.
So the idea of the warm-up is to make the blood accessible.
Most people try to accomplish this with a cardio warm-up, to “get the blood moving”. Me, I prefer a more direct route that doesn’t require extensive time.
I prefer to actively squeeze the blood out of the abdomen using a squat position and the muscles of the abdomen, hips and upper body.
This two-exercise combination isometrically targets just about every major muscle group in the body in addition to getting the blood out of the abdominal cavity and ready for use. I’ve found this simple combo cuts my warm-up time tremendously while still giving me the benefits of the warm-up.
Here’s the first exercise…
Squat down and brace your elbows on the insides of your knees. Press your hands together and actively push inwards with your adductors (trying to push at the knees) while actively pushing OUT with the muscles of the back, basically resisting that inwards push.
At the same time, bear down on your core HARD, contracting your abs strongly.
You can imagine this as literally squeezing the blood out of your abdominal area.
The second exercise warms up the outer hips and chest, while still squeezing blood out of the core.
Set your arms out the outsides of your knees then use your abductors (the hips and gluteus medius and minimus muscles) to push against your arms. Use your chest to resist that pushing by squeezing in.
Do this while squeezing the abs hard.
And yes, this does look like you’re going to the bathroom…just try not to bear down so hard that you actually…well, you get the idea.
All in all, this is a very simple method for getting blood out of the core storage and ready for the rest of the muscles to work with.
From this point, I go directly into some arm circles to warm up the shoulder joints then a light set of the first exercise I’m going to be working with. Warm-up done!
You may need more warming up than this, just fyi…definitely give these two exercises a try in conjunction with your normal warm-up. You may find you don’t need to do quite as much, which is helpful for keeping your energy up for the actual workout itself.
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.