For Athletes
The New Way To Warm up

The 3Sixty Athletics Movement Based Warm up Method

The whole point of a warm up is to prepare you to perform.

It must accomplish the following things:

  • increase the athletes’ heart rate
  • elevate body temperature
  • enhance blood flow
  • awaken the nervous system and prime the body to perform

Doing so will not only prepare the body to train and play well, but will help fend off the potential for injury.

Most of us know this.  So, what’s missing?

Optimization Of Movement

What we sometimes overlook is that the warm up is also the perfect time to teach the body how to move efficiently, correctly, and optimally. It’s the ideal time to improve body awareness and teach motor control, in other words, the athletes’ ability to maintain control of their body while in motion. At the beginning of the training session we are physically, cognitively, and emotionally fresh and primed to learn. At this time, rather than mindlessly sloth through warm ups as is typically done, we must be  mindful and present.  If we take advantage of this, we can lay the groundwork needed for the mayhem and chaos that is about to go down during the training session.

Establishing Movement Cues

What I mean by this, is that it’s an excellent time to establish movement cues between coach and athlete. Take for example the overhead press. We know people tend to arch the back as they press overhead. This is not good. Cueing ‘ribs down’ while the arms move overhead is an important cue that can help prevent this, and it’s a lot easier to teach while doing 9090 Overhead Reaches than it is during a heavy Jerk. Similarly, the idea of reaching for the ceiling and making sure our scapular flow is correct, is another example that is much easier to teach during a floor slide rather than with a heavy weight.

Attacking Weaknesses

The warm up is also an excellent time to attack weaknesses. The upper back, core, and hips are all typically in need of extra strength work, are often overlooked or put to the end of the workout. The warm up can be an ideal time to take care of it.

For example, if we can get the heart rate and body temperature up by performing a mini band glute activation series or riding a bike, why not choose the former and allow the athlete to layer in some extra hip strengthening work. Now the athlete is warmed up and perhaps more resilient to injury.

Warm Up Cues Win, Again

Circling back to cueing during warm ups, these band hip drills allows us to lay the groundwork for our ‘knee’s out’ cue that will now be much easier understood and more impactful while teaching landing mechanics, squat mechanics, etc.

During a landing drill, we scream, “knees out, just like when we did our band drills.” This layering with context is hugely helpful.

The Complex Becomes Simple

A few well implemented exercises during the warm up that help drive optimal movement, motor learning, and address weaknesses can provide a huge boost to the entire training process. We typically see improvements in change of direction, speed, power, and strength mechanics. These exercises are often complex and difficult to teach, but when we use this type of warm up system, we find teaching the more complex exercises to be much easier.

The foundational groundwork for all the the snatch and clean and jerk technique and strength that won Rhi USAW National Gold years later in part came early on in the form of various movement based warm up exercises.

The Issue With Most Movement Based Warm Ups

One, they don’t get the athlete warmed up at all. Remember, the number one goal of the warm up is to be, well, warmed up. If you lay around on a foam roller, proceed to lay around yanking your body into stretches with a band, and then do super low intensity ‘corrective’ exercises with tons of rest between sets, you are anything but warmed up. And you are most definitely not prepared to perform optimally.

The second is that most of the exercises look excellent on paper, or when the coach/trainer does them. Most coaches have excellent body awareness and can complete these correctives with excellent activation at the correct places, however when the client or athlete does them, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. And when this is the case it’s largely a complete waste of time.

The Fix

The pace must be fast enough between exercises to elicit an increase in heart rate, tissue temperature, and blood flow. You should break a sweat. And you must be warm. The exercises must flow from one to the next to allow quick and easy transitions.  Further, we must not choose extremely complex movements. Put the athlete in a position to be successful. Simplify and go to work. Allow them to listen to your cues, watch your demonstration, and get after it. Band Pull Aparts are a great example of an exercise that can really target the upper back while not being terribly difficult to get quality performance from most athletes on. Choose your exercises wisely.


Here’s What You Need To Do

Below is a sample upper, lower, and total body warm up. I included foam rolling and mobility flows prior to our movement work because most of our sessions do begin with a quick and easy release and flow to set the tone, lightly open things up, and optimize our movement work.

These examples will take around 10 minutes and will leave the athlete sweaty, loose, resistant to injury, and stronger in the areas that are typically weak and overlooked. They will also have a better understanding of key movement needs that will now be the foundation that you can build on during the rest of the training session.

Sample Upper Body Warm Up
3Sixty Release
3Sixty Flow
3Sixty Move:
9090 Overhead Reach x 12
Floor Slides x 8
Belly Reach x 12
Cuff To Reach x 8
Overhand Pull Aparts x 15
Underhand Pull Aparts x 15

Sample Lower Body Warm Up
3Sixty Release
3Sixty Flow
3Sixty Move:
Strapped Leg Lowers x 12/12
Single Leg Bridge x 12/12
Delete Dog x 12/12
Pushup Position Taps x 8/8
Banded Side Steps x 15/15
Banded Forward Steps x 15

Sample Total Body Warm Up
3Sixty Release
3Sixty Flow
3Sixty Move
9090 Overhead Reach x 12
Strapped Leg Lowers x 12/12
Delete Dog x 12/12
Pushup Position Reaches x 8/8
Banded Side Steps x 15/15
Overhand PullAparts x 15