Monday, January 28, 2013


Welcome to the Herd Demetrius, Krisanne, James and Bill!

by Coach Jan Dayleg

    It is cold outside! Which probably means your body is tight, immobile, and cold as well. (Unless you're Coach Jan-cracked-out-on-caffeine-warm, but that's another story.) This week we are going to delve into why we warm up the way we warm up. There seems to be a lot of confusion in the box, and some bad habits that need to be eliminated from our minds. Hopefully, if we all get on the same page, there will be less confusion, a more streamlined warm up routine, and less athletes who are just going through the motions and wondering why they still can't get their elbows up on a front rack.
    Usually the first thing we do, especially now since its a million below zero plus wind chill, is a "mono structural warm up". This is the 400-800 meter run or row, the 3 minutes of working on double unders, the 25 burpees if you are late, and on occasion, dodge ball or some type of team warm up. The intent here is to get some blood flow to your muscles and increase body temperature. To illustrate why, take a rubber band and leave it in the freezer over night. The next morning, take it out and try to pull it apart. Congratulations, you just pulled a metaphorical muscle! Our muscles do have a level of elasticity that is diminished when we are cold and inactive. Therefore it is imperative to get warm as best we can before any other movement.
    Next up on the menu is typically our "static stretching" portion of the warm up. This is also where a lot of the confusion is. It's not your usual "grab your ankle and pull your heel to your butt" or "touch your toes" static stretching. This is where we pull out the lacrosse balls and torture ourselves into better movement. Spending two minutes rolling around on a ball is much better for you than pulling your arm for 30 seconds. Foam rolling and lacrosse ball torture sessions manipulate the body's tissue in another way by ironing out tight spots, also leading to improved mobility and blood flow. The only stretches that resemble the old-school 20-30 second gym class stretches include those for your ankles and hip flexors, because those muscles are usually main inhibitors of good movement. And even those specific stretches have better alternatives. If it sounds like I'm bashing static stretching, I am. Static stretching is still taught universally to the youth and in most gyms, which in my humble opinion is discouraging. All static stretching does is increase your pain tolerance for holding said stretch. It does not prime your muscles for movement, in fact it weakens them. Look it up. I'm sure if you are currently a proponent of static stretching, your mind will be blown, if not already from this blog post.
    So what do we do instead of toe-touches? Enter DROM's, or dynamic range of motion drills. This is also usually the second to last part of our warm up. These include the arm circles, leg kicks, iron crosses, etcetera etcetera. Performing these movements after the mono structural warm up and a few lacrosse ball/ foam roll sessions will complete the priming of your muscles for what's to follow. They further increase body temperature and allow your body to work through a full range of motion. Sometimes some body weight movements are also included here, like pullups, pushups, air squats, lunges, etcetera etcetera. (OMG WE CAN USE ACTUAL EXERCISES IN A WARM UP? Yes, young padawan, yes you can.) Remember athletes, the intent during this part of the warm up is to work the joints through a full range of motion, so if we have pullups or air squats on the warm up menu, suck it up and drive on.
    The final part of our warm up, and often neglected, are warm up sets. Whether its "Back Squat 3-3-3-1-1-1" or "30 Clean and Jerks for time at 135/95", warm up sets are a critical part of the warm up. This is where we do PVC drills, then empty bar drills, then add some weight in increments to work up to the first working set or the prescribed weight for the workout. Too often are athletes going from arm circles to a 155 pound push press. If I have permitted this, I sincerely apologize, but I hope we all can see that it is a no-go. When I look you in the eye and tell you to load up a weight you think is lighter than you can handle, it's because I know it's a weight that is lighter than you can handle. This may or may not be the weight you work with when it's "3-2-1-GO!". Warm up sets should be that final piece to really get you ready for the WOD. They give you a chance to work the movements with some weight, which will improve technique and lessen the chance of form break down, and injury.
    After this, hopefully we are all on the same page about how we conduct our warm ups here at CrossFit Dumbo. Read it ten times over, remember it, and let the words ring in your head as you go through the daily warm ups before the WOD. Properly warming up will increase your productivity in the hour we spend together, and set you up for success in the long run by preventing injury and making each of you a more mobile athlete.
Happy toe-touching! (Kidding.)

5 Deadlifts 275/135
10 Burpees
 *Scale as needed

5 rounds of
Bear crawl 90ft 
Standing broad jumps 90ft
Every 5th broad jump do three burpees 

- Beginners

Skill Builder
Ring row
Med ball sit up


10 Med ball sit ups
10 Ring rows
10 Burpees
250m row
* scale as needed

To get up each morning with the resolve to be happy is to set our own conditions to the events of each day. To do this is to condition circumstances instead of being conditioned by them. - Ralph Waldo Trine

Post results to comments.


  1. Tuesday: sore wrist so adapted the workout:

    5RFT with 20# weightvest
    - Sled harness drag 90' 160#
    - 5 x Broad Jumps / 5 x jumping squats 90'


  2. Next time we do this beginner workout as a team, let's make it 25 minutes instead of 20!