It seems like we just don't have enough of it and we are fighting the clock every day.
"I don't have time to meal prep"
"I don't have time to get to the gym"
When it comes to working out, I have a hard time putting effort and focus into an adequate warm up. Nowadays, my workouts are no longer than 45 minutes and I feel as though the warm up is eating into the meat and potatoes of what I want to do that day.
When I was training with Tony Gentilcore at CORE in Brookline MA, each program would have a section called "Warm-Up & Pre-Work". After over two years of training with him I could probably count on two hands the amount of times that I actually did all of the exercises.
It actually became a joke between us and he would write lovely reminders to me in the notes section....
It wasn't that I was lazy or uncomfortable doing them, it was more that I wanted to use the hour I had with him to focus and spend time on the most difficult and taxing parts of the workout. In my mind, the last thing I wanted was for the hour to go by and only be halfway through the workout.
You can't teach an old dog new tricks, but all old dogs love a new toy. So today, I am proud to share my new toy that I have introduced in my own training. It is effective on the whole body and if done correctly you should start to break a sweat. To maximize the exercise, you must give all out effort for 10 seconds.
This exercise is a plank variation known as the Strong First/RKC/Hard Plank.
Personally, I enjoy using this exercise before I start my workout AND sporadically as a superset. For example, I may do some deadlifts and then get right into the plank.
For those who enjoy recreational or outdoor activities, try throwing this exercise in before, during, and after said activity. I've used it on the golf course and at the mountain as I frequently find myself rushing to make a tee time and get out on the hill.
Before we highlight the exercise in the video below. Here are a few takeaways to make sure you are doing it correctly.
1. Get into normal plank position
2. Make fists with both hands and screw your elbows (externally rotate) into the ground.
3. Squeeze your legs together.
4. Flex the quads and Glutes as hard as you can.
5. Now think about trying to press through the floor to meet your elbows to your toes and your toes to your elbows (as if trying to do an ab crunch through the floor).
6. Doing this exercise without shoes and in your Pedestals allows you to press directly through the floor and really engage the toes and feet.
Check out the video here:
Every exercise can be advanced by paying attention to muscle engagement/tension from the ground up. Building this tension starts at the feet and doing some consistent barefoot training work will do wonders for your body.
So next time you are in a rush or just want to switch up your boring warm up routine, give this approach a go and let us know what you think.