Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Daily Warm-up for Old Bastards


I tend to design the best warm-ups when I'm sick or injured. After another round of back pain followed by a pulled Latissimus dorsi and/or Serratus posterior muscle, not sure which is hurt, I have changed my starting routine. The logic is that if I can do a warm-up while I'm sick or hurt then I never have an excuse not to do it. As you can imagine this takes some creativity.

While I'm not yet an old bastard, I do sometimes feel like one. There are mornings where stiffness and ache threaten to ruin my plans. The truth is that when we get older we need more time to get the engine going so mobility becomes a bigger priority. They have a saying in Crossfit, "The shorter the workout, the longer the warm-up." Such logic applies to this cause. In this case the workout is your wake-up, that step into daily life.


All you need to do this warm-up is a piece of PVC pipe about 5 feet long and maybe 3 or 4 inches wide. This length/size/weight will allow you to do basic exercises like the overhead press, bench, squat and bent over row. Multi-joint exercises are preferred but don't be afraid to put curls in there. Just remember the most important rule: This is a warm-up. This is not a workout. This is not a shock exercise. The reason for using a PVC pipe instead of a weight bar is that it cannot be upgraded or plated. Stay light to get warm.

In addition to the PVC exercises you can also throw in one or two bodyweight exercises but with one qualifier: You must know your limits. If 50 reps worth of air squats causes you soreness the next day, then you can't use that exercise. Try PVC deadlifts instead. So here is the next rule: Your exercises must add up to 300 with a 50 rep minimum. In other words you can do 100 lat raises, 100 lunges, 50 air squats and 50 back extensions. Or you can try 100 bent over rows, 100 bench presses, 50 overhead and 50 box squats. There are a multitude of variations but I do find that this one works best: 100+100+50+50=300.


The magic number is 300. The exercises are up to you but you must stick with the PVC pipe, strick form and 300 reps. Why? If you do 500 it becomes a workout. If you use more weight it becomes a workout. If you misread your own limits it becomes workout. You want to be able to do this every day. There should never be a time when you are too sore or too tired or too sick to manage 300 reps. In addition I like to follow it with a short walk or run. I'm talking about 1 to 3 miles but no more.

My goal was to create something very basic, flexible and easy to follow. We all want to slow the process that turns us into old bastards. It's going to happen but we can fight it every step of the way.

Disclaimer: Alex is not a licensed fitness expert. He is just a crazy fucker who writes books, rides bikes and lifts weights. If you follow his advice then doom on you!


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