Something I’ve learned from the past 2 decades of working out and 17 years of training clients:
Your warm up is as important as your actual workout.
Most people think that “warming up” consists of jumping on the treadmill for 5 minutes, getting a sweat on and doing a couple of sets before going HAM in the gym.
Misguided warm ups like this not only are a complete waste of time they also sets up your body for pain down the line.
It’s akin to driving with the parking brake on: By doing so you are holding back your true potential and causing more damage to your machine than you think.
A well thought out warm up system should…
– Make you move better
– Activate your dormant muscles
– Relieve and correct your often tight areas of pain
– Bulletproof your body from injury and…
– Prime your body for a bad ass workout
If you do the warm up right then you can get ALL of those benefits in ONLY 10 minutes. How?
Enter the SMAPEC system.
SMAPEC is a 10 minute performance system designed to unleash your bodies full potential and prep it for its best performance in the gym (and life).
SMAPEC stands for…
S — Self Massage
M — Movement prep
A — Activation
P — Pre Hab
E — Empty Bar Activation
C — Central Nervous System Wake Up
This system is 10x more effective than warming up on a treadmill and, when done correctly, it takes about 10 minutes to complete.
This is the EXACT system I have all of my entrepreneur clients do before working out and the feed back I get from them as a result of doing it is life changing.
By treating their warm up correctly they feel less pain, more activated muscles, better ranges of motion while incurring ZERO injuries while working out.
They also say that they feel more stronger in their bodies than they did in their 20’s.
Would you want feel activated, less pain, more powerful and feel better in your body than you did in your 20’s in 10 minutes?
If so then read on…
SMAPEC — Your 10 Minute Performance Enhancing System
Within this phase we use foam rollers, lacrosse balls, massage guns and other soft tissue devices to work the tight areas of your body.
This means searching for trigger points and using the massage to create a better response for your body.
Think of self massage as a radar:
1. While you are massaging you will target the areas of hyper sensitivity.
2. When you find them you’ll stop, stay and breathe into those sensitive areas.
Doing this opens up new ranges of motion and less pain in that area.
An example would be this hip flexor massage I do right before squats:
Contrary to popular belief self massages do not “smooth out your fascia”.
What the massage actually does is send signal to your brain to move better and feel better in the tight area.
A good self massage will prime the tight areas of your body so you can move with increased range of motion in your workout.
Movement prep uses active movements where joints and muscles go through full ranges of motion. It “preps” your body for the range of motion it needs for the exercises in your workout.
But this is not about stretching in a static position for 30 seconds to a minute.
It’s about taking 30 to 45 seconds to oscillate between full ranges of motion and relaxation.
These stretches would correlate with the areas of your body you intend to use in the workout.
An example of Movement Prep would be the World’s Greatest Stretch I do before leg days:
The World’s Greatest Stretch mobilizes my hips, hamstrings and activates my thoracic spine, which are all needed for a good leg day.
Self Massage and Movement prep tap into the power of your parasympathetic nervous system. This allows the body to function as well as it can given your ranges of motion.
Activation is about turning on your primary muscles for your workouts.
Whatever main muscles we are using within a workout need to be “woken up” due to long periods of underuse. We do this with bodyweight exercises.
The other main benefit of activating your muscles pre workout is to stimulate the mind to muscle connection.
The more your mind is connected to how a muscle should contract the more you’ll be able to use it in your workout.
All you’d need to do is a bodyweight exercise that correlates with the muscles you’re using in your workout.
An example would be frog pumps before a leg day to activate your glutes:
When you’re in activation mode you must mentally focus on your target muscles (in this case the glutes).
Doing this “hardwires” the connections of muscles to move and stabilize in a new ranges of motion you created with the stretches and massage.
When you wake up your muscles pre-workout you are giving your body a great chance of utilizing them when you’re lifting heavy weights.
Prehab exercises are also known as corrective exercises.
The main purpose of these are to target weak links in your movement and “correct” any imbalances you may be dealing with.
An example would be the Shoulder YTWL circuit:
Prehab exercises like the Shoulder YWTL (above) offset the stresses of living like a human in the 21st century.
Example: When you sit at a desk your posture starts to deteriorate by turning your upper back inwards and tucking your chin in.
An exercise like the Shoulder YTWL starts to “correct” your body by working the small muscles that support good posture as well as increasing shoulder mobility.
In the long term, prehab exercises can improve your bodies weak links and turn them into strengths.
Empty Bar Activation aka. EBA
This is simply the first set you do before your main lift the day.
You would use an empty bar (or as close to one as you can get) to hone in the movement pattern of the exercise you’re doing.
An example would be deadlifting with an empty bar before doing stiff legged deadlifts:
Or bench pressing with an empty bar before benching:
The goal is to lock in the proper movement within the exercise while activating the muscles needed.
My focuses when doing EBA’s is to ensure that I’m locking in proper form.
I’m also trying to mentally activate the muscles to contract as needed in the exercise.
What you’ll notice is that you’ll need about 2–5 reps with an empty bar to clean up form and to get that mind to muscle connection going.
When you do this you’re giving your body a blueprint to access when putting load on the bar.
Central Nervous System Wake Up aka. CNS wake up
A few reps on an empty bar does is great but not sufficient to get you out of a parasympathetic mode and into a sympathetic state.
This is where the CNS wake up comes into play.
We want to do some high velocity, low risk exercises to activate our CNS and prepare it for the workout ahead.
The trick to these is to pair the CNS wake up to the muscles you intend to use in your workout. Example:
Before a Lower Body Day
– 30 second Sprints
– 10 Kettlebell Swings
Before an Upper Body
– 10 Med Ball throws or tosses
– 10 Plyo Pushups
Before a Total Body Workout
– 10 Jumping jacks
– 10 Seal jacks
The idea is that we want to prime our central nervous system to get out of its Parasympathetic recovery state and into a Sympathetic “fight or flight” state.
This will prime your Central Nervous System to prepare for a great workout.
An Example Using the SMAPEC System for Lower Body
Done in a circuit:
- Self massage hips, glute, quads, calves and IT bands
- Movement prep with World’s Greatest Stretch x 3 reps per exercise
- Glute bridges x 15 and a plank for 1 min to activate core and glutes
- Prehab with the Couch Stretch
- Squat with an empty bar x 8 reps
- Jumping jacks x 15
You now have a 10 minute system that you can do before your workout that will increase your performance and potential in the gym.
One of the cool things I’ve see with this system is that I’ve seen my own clients heal chronic low back, shoulder and knee problems just by utilizing the first 10 minutes of their workout properly.
Now this may seem like a lot of work to be doe but it’s not. The trick is to do these exercises in a circuit. This cuts time significantly and also does a great job of increasing your core body temperature.
The more you do the system the faster you’ll get it done.
Start applying this system to your body and track your performance. Chances are you’ll unlock new potentials in strength, speed and power while feeling 10 years younger.