Tag: warmup

Back Hyperextension to Superman Plank

I do Back Hyperextensions regularly in my training. I usually do them as a warmup for my other training especially on leg days. Getting the lower back prepared for squats and deadlifts is essential. In the video below I demonstrate a decent lower back position when doing Back Hayperextension exercises. Be sure to keep that back straight and don’t let the curve in your lower back collapse, like the classic angry cat image.

Back Hyperextension: close up of lower back and glute area

From the Youtube Page: I keep my lower back static while feeling the emphasis in my hamstrings and glutes. It’s not really a workout, but it’s a great way to warm up and cool down from your other posterior chain training.

In that back hyperextension video you probably notice that I don’t go for a large range of motion. About 45-60 degrees of movement is plenty. If you see someone doing this in a dynamic swinging movement with their shoulder pushed down and pulled back at the bottom and top, don’t imitate them. You can get hurt very badly. I think you should do back hyperextensions slowly and under control. It’s not strength training. You probably won’t be doing this with 200lbs on your shoulders. Ever.

Back Hyperextension to Superman Plank

I was talking to one of the people I train about fast uphill motion and they noticed some definite nagging pain in their Quadratus Lumborum area. I recommended back hyperextensions and Superman planks.

Back Hyperextension target muscle Quadratus Lumborum c/o Wiki
Back Hyperextension target muscle Quadratus Lumborum c/o Wiki

While training the other day it suddenly struck me to combine the two exercises into one set. It’s a lot easier since you are already set up to do the back hyperextension, and just lift your arms out for the plank. Here’s the Facebook Video I posted for this combination exercise.

The usual disclaimers apply. If you are hurt, injured, have some disability or pain or other issues that prevent you from doing this, please, check with a qualified professional before attempting it.

Concept2 SkiErg Upper Body Warmup Series

I have been using the Concept2 SkiErg for a while now for cross training primarily. I also like it as a warmup for upper body training. The resistance is a large fan, similar to the Concept2 rowing machines, only upright. Inside the post are ropes exiting the top at two rotating swiveling pulleys. There are 10 resistance settings, depending on your training goals and personal fitness level.

Concept2 SkiErg upper body training
Getting my back and Lats ready for Ice Climbing

For my upper body warmup, I set the Concept2 SkiErg (Ski Ergometer – the movement simulates the arm/hand motion of Nordic skiing) to level 5, about halfway on the resistance scale. I mix it up a bit, but in general do a little Lat work and a little Pec work. I do some Core work and occasionally a little Tricep work.

For a more advanced warmup, especially if I’m doing a few extra minutes of core work, I keep a wobble disc [Reebok Balance Board] or pad handy to add some instability. I like how it helps me use my core and leg stabilizers. It’s also a pretty cool mind game, since it’s tough doing a few different things at once.

Concept2 SkiErg Warmup Video

Concept2 SkiErg Warmup Ideas

Some things to keep in mind when using the Concept2 SkiErg for training other than as intended. The pulleys will go a lot of different directions. Experiment and see what different angles you can come up with. Keep in mind that the rope is thin, and limited in length. Don’t try too hard to go past the internal stop. Protect your back, keep your lower back flat. Don’t hunch unless, like ab curls, it’s part of the motion. Even then, do what’s right for your body.

Remember it’s only a warmup. A good burn is a great feeling, but if you can’t lift your arms after, you might affect your other training negatively. Be very careful of what’s in your blind spots, or behind you. Notice that for the high and low diagonal movement I have to clear the racked squat bar.

I use a Nordic Grip on the handles. This is probably the best way to use it, since it’s originally intended for Nordic ski training. But whatever works for you, just grab the handles and go.

Concept2 SkiErg warmup for full body cardio
Warm up for full body cardio on the SkiErg

The Concept2 SkiErg is a little expensive to use only for an upper body warmup. I generally do a few 15 minute sprints at level 10 (max level) every week for cross training, as well as endurance training for Ice Climbing. I noticed a huge difference in my endurance last season after using it in the Fall prior. I’m looking for even better results this season, having worked my way up in levels over the Summer.

If you have a Concept2 SkiErg and want to share your own warmup videos, please post them to my Facebook Page and share with all of us. We’d love to see what you have for us.

Glute and Hamstring Training – Warmup

Recently on my Facebook page I linked to an article about Posterior Chain training. That’s a fancy phrase that powerlifters use to describe the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. These are basically the “pulling” muscles if you lay flat on the floor on your front and pull your knees off the ground and up behind you.

I mentioned that I normally trained these muscles hard, as they were majorly involved in mountaineering. Ryan of Climbingreport.com asked me for my opinions about why it was important, and while I gave a short answer on Facebook, I have a little more here.

Ryan from Climbingreport.com postholing in bottomless slush
Postholing requires strong balanced leg muscles. [Ryan from Climbingreport.com]

When walking uphill you normally place your foot out in front of you, then pull yourself over it. That’s the posterior chain working. When climbing vertical, either rock or ice, you place your foot higher, but generally under your body, then use mostly your quads to lift your body up over your foot. As your quads become more tired, you’ll have a tendency to stick your butt out some then pull it into the crag. That’s to roll off some of the work to your glutes and hamstrings. Of course that’s an over-simplification, but you get the drift. Another consideration is the agonist/antagonist balance. If your quads are too big for your hamstrings, you’ll be more likely to have injuries and pain, and they’ll most likely be manifest in your knees or hips – where the muscles from both groups attach. Most people like training their quads more than their hamstrings from my experience.

I made a couple videos of my Posterior Chain Warmups:

In this first video, I’m using a Back Hyper Extension bench. I keep my back fairly still, while hinging at the hips and as I hit the bottom and top, my hamstrings flex a bit. Since there isn’t much angle at the knees it’s an interesting difference, contracting a fully extended muscle. If you do this and don’t feel your hams and glutes firing at all, go slower and consciously squeeze your glutes at the top, and try to feel that squeeze all the way to your knees. If you look at the video as I come to the top, you’ll see my hamstrings flex some.

I usually do sets of 25 for this, since it’s really easy. YMMV.

In this second video, I’m doing one of those classic “not as intended” movements. The Glute Ham Raise bench is a powerlifting classic, and hard to find at most facilities except maybe some basement gyms. I can’t really see you getting away with taking ski poles into Gold’s or 24 hour, but this is just an idea. You can totally make do with the knee pads on a lat tower and a cardio step held out in front of you. Be creative. I am doing this move with the poles way out in front, similar to a core training move called a fallout (if done with straps) or rollout (if done with an ab wheel). I’m not putting a lot of weight on them, using them mostly for balance, and to give a little boost if I get tired so I don’t fall forward and snap my legs off at the knees.

I ride the poles out as far as I can go feeling sure I can get back up, then bring my butt back to over my heels, then do it again. The majority of the stress with this is at the fully extended position, and a little pause there is good. I normally do sets between 10 and 25 depending on what my training goals are for the day. If I’m doing 25 I don’t hang out to the front for as long a period, and use a little momentum to start my ride back. With sets of 10 I hang out there quite a while, and use a lot more hamstring to pull my butt back.

While I call these warmups, for some people just starting out who’ve never done serious hamstring or glute training, these might be a dang tough workout all on their own, so go slow, be careful, and be safe. Remember that anything you do is better than nothing you do.