Warm-up the Hidden Edge


Found this in the archives – Thought it would shed some light on this now controversial aspect of training. This was written in 2002, before movement prep was born!

Warm-up is the most neglected part of the workout, yes it is part of the workout. The workout begins with the warm-up! The first mistake that people make is to take warm-up for granted. It sets the tempo for the workout to follow. It is the bridge from normal daily activities to actual training. Too much emphasis in warm-up is placed on raising core temperature and heart rate, from a physiological perspective that is not my main concern, rather it is neural activation. Getting everything firing properly to prepare for the more intense work to follow in the actual workout is most important. From a psychological perspective the warm-up should almost be a ritual. This is a security point or anchor for the athlete regardless of the situation.

The warm-up is “active” not continuous. It should build progressively in intensity into the workout. There is a great emphasis on mobility, not much on static flexibility. Stretching does not warm you up! It is only a part of warm-up. Flexibility is trained as a separate training unit, preferably after the workout. For descriptions of the actual exercises, sample warm-ups as well as cool down activities, see the Warm-up and Preparation video. The coordination portion of warm-up should be tailored to fit the theme of that day’s workout. That will serve to specifically prepare the athlete for the day’s activities as well as add much needed variety. Pay particular attention to the order and sequence of the warm-up. It is designed to flow synergistically from one exercise into the next.

Last but no least, think of warm-up as a daily investment in general fitness training. Given that warm-up should be a minimum of twenty mites a day, the cumulative fitness benefits of warm-up rapidly accrue. Twenty minutes a day, six day a week adds up to two additional hours of training a week. Over forty-eight training weeks that represents a significant amount of training time.

Active Multi-Stage Warm-up

  1. Mini Band Routine (12″ band above ankles)
    • Sidestep
    • Walk – Forward/Back
    • Carioca
    • Monster Walk
  2. Basic Core (3 Kg Med Ball)
    • Wide Rotation x 20
    • Tight Rotation x 20
    • Side to Side x 20
    • Chop to Knee x 20
    • Figure 8 x 20
    • Big Circle x 5 each direction
  3. Balance & Stability
    • Single Leg Squat (Hold each position five counts; Straight 2 x ea leg; Side 2 x ea leg; Rotation 2 x ea leg )
    • Balance Shift
    • Shift Right – Shift Left
    • Back Right – Back Left
    • Forward Right – Forward Left
  4. Multi Dimensional Stretch
    • Lunge & Reach Series ( 2 reps in each plane- Forward/Side/Rotational)
    • Reach Up
    • Reach Out & Down
    • Reach Across
    • Jack Knife Crawl x 5
    • Spiderman Crawl x 5
  5. Active Stretch (No more than two minutes)
    • Pecs
    • Calf
    • Hamstrings
    • Psoas
    • Lats
  6. Coordination (All @ 30 meters x 2)
    • Skip
    • Crossover Skip
    • Side Step
    • Carioca
    • Backward Run
    • High Skip
    • High Skip with Rotation
  7. Accelerations; 4 – 6 x 30 meters
  8. Sport Specific Activities

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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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