The Science of Warming Up

Guest Article by Dan Go, PTS, NWS

After posting my last article on of ice baths and their effects on various markers of recovery, my buddy Dan (fellow Torontonian) shot me over this article that is in the similar vein on warming up that includes reviews of various studies relating to optimal warmups.

Dan is a trainer and runs his own gym up in north Toronto, where I've shot a bunch of videos. It's the place with the rows of Pullup bars across the wall and turf on the ground - sweet little setup and makes for clean videos.

He also often wears really tight pants and shirts that open up to his navel.

While those sins can never be forgiven, much appreciation goes out to Dan for shooting this short literature review over for those of us who enjoy understanding the science behind the methods.

- Eric

Enter Dan…

Hey there, today I want to talk to you all about how to perfectly start your workouts to enhance your performance.

Would you trade 6 minutes of your time to instantly become a better athlete?

Now while that may seem like a very audacious thing to say the truth of the matter is that the right exercises…

…done at the right time…

…within the right time frame…

…Can and will lead you to your best potential of human performance that you have ever experienced.

What I’m talking about is a specific 6 Minute Sequence that you’ll do before any type of physical activity that will enhance your strength, speed, power, agility, endurance and energy while bulletproofing your body from injuries.

You can do it at anytime and anywhere and it doesn’t require any form of supplements or illegal injections.

It’s 3 step sequence called the Peak Performance Formula and yes, it only takes a total of 6 minutes to complete and yes, it will help you become a better all around athlete.

So take out a pad and pen for some notes. We’re about to get pretty deep on why you should apply this 6 Minute Peak Performance System to your body.


Self Myofascial Release (SMR)

I’m pretty sure you have heard the question:

What came first? The chicken or the egg?

A common argument in the fitness world is: Should you do SMR before or after your workouts?

Well I’m not here to tell you one way or another. I’m just here to tell regardless of whether it is before your workout or after JUST DO IT.

SMR is the perfect way to heal all of the old dysfunctions and adhesions happening in your body.


Effectiveness of a home program of ischemic pressure followed by sustained stretch for treatment of myofascial trigger points.

Background and Purpose: Myofascial trigger points (TPs) are found among patients who have neck and upper back pain. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a home program of ischemic pressure followed by sustained stretching for the treatment of myofascial TPs.


Forty adults (17 male, 23 female), aged 23 to 58 years (mean=30.6, SD=9.3), with one or more TPs in the neck or upper back participated in this study.

METHODS: Subjects were randomly divided into 2 groups receiving a 5-day home program of either ischemic pressure followed by general sustained stretching of the neck and upper back musculature or a control treatment of active range of motion. Measurements were obtained before the subjects received the home program instruction and on the third day after they discontinued treatment. Trigger point sensitivity was measured with a pressure algometer as pressure pain threshold (PPT).

Average pain intensity for a 24-hour period was scored on a visual analog scale (VAS).

Subjects also reported the percentage of time in pain over a 24-hour period. A multivariate analysis of covariance, with the pretests as the covariates, was performed and followed by 3 analyses of covariance, 1 for each variable. RESULTS Differences were found between the treatment and control groups for VAS scores and PPT. No difference was found between the groups for percentage of time in pain.

CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION: A home program, consisting of ischemic pressure and sustained stretching, was shown to be effective in reducing TP sensitivity and pain intensity in individuals with neck and upper back pain. The results of this study indicate that clinicians can treat myofascial TPs through monitoring of a home program of ischemic pressure and stretching.


Want another?

OK, here you go:


Immediate effects of various physical therapeutic modalities on cervical myofascial pain and trigger-point sensitivity.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the immediate effect of physical therapeutic modalities on myofascial pain in the upper trapezius muscle.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

SETTING: Institutional practice.

PATIENTS: One hundred nineteen subjects with palpably active myofascial trigger points (MTrPs).

INTERVENTION: Stage 1 evaluated the immediate effect of ischemic compression, including 2 treatment pressures (P1, pain threshold; P2, averaged pain threshold and tolerance) and 3 durations (T1, 30s; T2, 60s; T3, 90s). Stage 2 evaluated 6 therapeutics combinations, including groups B1 (hot pack plus active range of motion [ROM]), B2 (B1 plus ischemic compression), B3 (B2 plus transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation [TENS]), B4 (B1 plus stretch with spray), B5 (B4 plus TENS), and B6 (B1 plus interferential current and myofascial release).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The indexes of changes in pain threshold (IThC), pain tolerance (IToC), visual analog scale (IVC), and ROM (IRC) were evaluated for treatment effect.

RESULTS: In stage 1, the IThC, IToC, IVC, and IRC were significantly improved in the groups P1T3, P2T2, and P2T3 compared with the P1T1 and P1T2 treatments (P<.05). In stage 2, groups B3, B5, and B6 showed significant improvement in IThC, ItoC, and IVC compared with the B1 group; groups B4, B5, and B6 showed significant improvement in IRC compared with group B1 (P<.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Ischemic compression therapy provides alternative treatments using either low pressure (pain threshold) and a long duration (90s) or high pressure (the average of pain threshold and pain tolerance) and short duration (30s) for immediate pain relief and MTrP sensitivity suppression. Results suggest that therapeutic combinations such as hot pack plus active ROM and stretch with spray, hot pack plus active ROM and stretch with spray as well as TENS, and hot pack plus active ROM and interferential current as well as myofascial release technique, are most effective for easing MTrP pain and increasing cervical ROM.

Now keep in mind that most of these research studies were done using therapist based Myofascial Release techniques…

Almost all the research regarding “Self” Myofascial Release has been done by using a foam roller, while being a great way to massage, it is NOT an accurate way to test SMR at all in my opinion.

While foam rolling is an effective way to generally massage yourself it definitely is not the BEST way to do SMR and really dig into those trigger points.

The best way is trigger Self Myofascial Release is to use a Lacrosse ball. The Lacrosse Ball is the perfect way to imitate the pressure and strength used by an RMT’s fingers.

For a cool way on how to use the Lacrosse ball to massage and soothe your trigger points just check out the video below:


Dynamic Mobility Exercises

Dynamic Mobility exercises are short stretches and muscle activation techniques where the main function is to give your body full range of motion as well as activate the muscles that have become dormant due to the ravages of modern society.

Dynamic Mobility exercises are, and should be, an ESSENTIAL part of your workout program and, simply put, they allow your joints and muscles to move freely.

Their function is to repair and regenerate parts of your body including the cartilage.

They do this by increasing your mobility through repair of your joints so you can have the range of motion you were meant to have.

MOST importantly Dynamic Mobility exercises help slow, and in most cases, REVERSE the aging of your joints through the transport of detoxifying synovial fluids into your the key areas of your body.

You especially NEED to do the full body Dynamic Mobility drills BEFORE your workouts and sports because the short stretches give your body maximum range of motion, which will give your body the best peak performance to work in.


Acute Effects of Different Warm-Up Protocols on Anaerobic Performance in Teenage Athletes

Although pre-event static stretching (SS) is an accepted practice in most youth programs, pre-event dynamic exercise (DY) is becoming popular. The purpose of this study was to examine the acute effects of pre-event SS, DY, and combined SS and DY (SDY) on vertical jump (VJ), medicine-ball toss (MB), 10-yard sprint (SP), and pro-agility shuttle run (AG) in teenage athletes (15.5 ± 0.9 years).

Thirty athletes participated in three testing sessions in random order on three nonconsecutive days. Before testing, participants performed 5 min of walking/jogging followed by one of the following 10 min warm-up protocols: a) five static stretches (2 × 30 s), b) nine moderate-to-high-intensity dynamic movements (2 × 10 yards), or c) five static stretches (1 × 30 s) followed by the same nine dynamic movements (1 × 10 yards).

Statistical analysis of the data revealed that performance on the VJ, MB, and SP were significantly (p < .05) improved after DY and SDY as compared with SS. There were no significant differences in AG after the 3 warm-up treatments.

The results of this study indicate that pre-event dynamic exercise or static stretching followed by dynamic exercise might be more beneficial than pre-event static stretching alone in teenage athletes who perform power activities.



Effects of differential stretching protocols during warm-ups on high speed motor capacities in professional soccer players

The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different modes of stretching within a pre-exercise warm-up on high-speed motor capacities important to soccer performance.

Eighteen professional soccer players were tested for countermovement vertical jump, stationary 10-m sprint, flying 20-m sprint, and agility performance after different warm-ups consisting of static stretching, dynamic stretching, or no stretching. There was no significant difference among warm-ups for the vertical jump: mean 6 SD data were 40.4 6 4.9 cm (no stretch), 39.4 6 4.5 cm (static), and 40.2 6 4.5 cm (dynamic).

The dynamic- stretch protocol produced significantly faster 10-m sprint times than did the no-stretch protocol: 1.83 6 0.08 seconds (no stretch), 1.85 6 0.08 seconds (static), and 1.87 6 0.09 seconds (dynamic). The dynamic- and static-stretch protocols produced significantly faster flying 20-m sprint times than did the nostretch protocol: 2.41 6 0.13 seconds (no stretch), 2.37 6 0.12 seconds (static), and 2.37 6 0.13 seconds (dynamic).

The dynamic- stretch protocol produced significantly faster agility performance than did both the no-stretch protocol and the staticstretch protocol: 5.20 6 0.16 seconds (no stretch), 5.22 6 0.18 seconds (static), and 5.14 6 0.17 seconds (dynamic). Static stretching does not appear to be detrimental to high-speed performance when included in a warm-up for professional soccer players.

However, dynamic stretching during the warm-up was most effective as preparation for subsequent high-speed performance.


The right type of Dynamic stretching before a physical activity has the ability to enhance every aspect of your performance as well as reversing the age related effects of injuries and tightness throughout the entire body.

For a quick demonstration on how to apply Dynamic Mobility into your exercise program just see the video below:

To not do these types of exercises right before a workout is to give you the keys to a Lamborghini Gallardo but not even driving it.

Both Self Myofascial Release and Dynamic Mobility have the chance to alter your current state of physical health and they are both MUST DO’s in everyones workout program.

Imagine – boosting your strength, speed, flexibility, power and energy while making your body bulletproof to injuries – and doing it in about the same amount of time it takes to buy a coffee at Starbucks.

If you’re not doing them, start. Now.

Dan Go, PTS, NWS

Thanks again goes out to Dan for sharing this info with us.

If you're not doing what he recommends, you've got to start. Your workouts, performance and health depend on it.

Dan has just launch a program that he calls "6 Minute Superhuman" and because it's the launch, he's offering it for 50% off right now:

>> 6 Minute SUPERhuman

If you're not using these techniques you're in the dark ages, so if you want to know exactly how to warmup properly to MAXIMIZE performance and MINIMIZE aches, pains and injuries, check it out.

- Eric

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7 years ago

This was an interesting article. I always warm up, but targeting myofascial trigger points isn’t something I really considered. I knew it could be good to relieve chronic back/neck problems, but actually doing it as a preventative measure to avoid injury wasn’t something I had really considered. Will definitely have to consider this more in my training regimen.

7 years ago


check this video out this is the best one armed pushup i have ever seen

also great cardio good for a six pack