It’s 40 or so minutes before the Open WOD launches and you’re in the double. As you scan the room you see athletes rowing and foam rolling, using resistance bands and PVC pipes, all with the goal of being mobile and warm for the impending test of fitness. You know you should join their ranks but you’re not sure where to begin. Here are seven steps to being ready for each Open WOD.
1. Get a light sweat going. Maybe it’s a moderately paced 500m row, 25 burpees, or 5 minutes on the airdyne with 10-second sprints at the end of each minute. Whatever you choose make sure you have a little sweat on your brow before you move on to your mobility.
2. Think macro to micro. I usually start with a 10-minute, full body foam roll before I mobilize specific areas. During the foam roll I target my back, calves, quads, shoulders, and chest, each for about 2 minutes. This continues to warm the muscles, helps to flush out lactic acid, and loosens any knots you might have from workouts earlier in the week.
3. Focus on your problem area(s). Each of us has particularly tight areas or areas of chronic concern. Spend some quality time on these spots in particular but also be sure to…
4. Let the workout dictate your mobility work. If the workout includes toes to bar and pull-ups spend extra time with your forearms and grip. If it’s box jumps and shoulder to overhead, be sure your calves, hips, and overhead position are loose. Your goal with mobility work is to put your body in the best positions you can to ensure prime performance in the workout.
5. Stay on the clock. It’s easy to start gabbing with other people or to stay in one mobility exercise for too long. Your goal should be to sustain each mobility exercise for at least 2 minutes in order to effect change. I also encourage you to test, mobilize, and retest to ensure your position has improved thanks to that mobility exercise. If not you may have to try another means toward that end.
6. Prime the movements. There’s not always a lot of time to warm up the movements during class. Therefore, use the last ten minutes or so of your warm up to prime the movements found within the WOD. If the workout is a triplet of deadlifts, box jumps, and shoulder to overhead, hit two sets of ten rebounding box jumps. Then, get an empty bar and prime the movements focusing on technique. Continue to load weight do a few reps until you reach the working weight. This way you won’t feel rushed when you get into the triple. Along these lines, I’d also suggest…
7. Go heavier if possible. If the workout calls for 20-pound wall balls, warm up to a 30 pounder. If the deadlift weight is 135, hit some reps at 155 or more. Neurologically, it will help ensure your muscle fibers are firing. Psychologically, it will make the working weight feel that much lighter in your hands.
The Open is not the time to shortchange your warm up. Instead, give yourself the time you need to be warm, mobile, and confident before you enter the doors of the triple wide.