A little ‘self talk’ prepares mind, body for warmup
The pre-activity warmup is often performed, but not often performed correctly.
Many of us kind of go through the motions with our warmup, almost a passive participant in the process.
This week, I’ll help provide some ideas for activating the mind and body during this important “wake-yourself-up” period. Plus, I’ll introduce a warmup exercise that’s perfect for increasing lower body flexibility.
Regular Master Class readers likely have learned the various elements of a proper warmup (increase blood flow, light stretch, activate target muscles), but the psychological engagement of the warmup is an area we have yet to discuss.
Engaging the mind in preparation for a workout is nearly as important as the physical warmup.
To prepare the mind, focus on two things: how you feel at the moment and how you want to feel.
Embracing your psychosomatic (fancy word for mind/ body) feelings will put you in touch with areas that might need extra attention. Thoughts like “My right hip is tight this morning” or “I feel a little sleepy today” are important to notice because they are real.
Being honest with yourself about how you physically and mentally feel is critical. It allows you to build credibility in your own mind. Embracing negative and positive feelings provides the freedom to express those feelings to oneself, which then prompts you to take advantage of the opportunity to address them.
Reframing is a technique that turns negative self-talk into positive. A thought such as “I feel a little tired today” can simply be reframed to “I feel tired, but I will overcome it.”
This simple adjustment in self-talk allows one to control the approach used to surmount almost any psychological obstacle. I recommend using reframing during the warmup to improve your ability to deal with any negative thought or feeling.
This week’s exercise is a good warmup activity that goes hand in hand with reframing, simply because it lets you work through lower body muscle tightness and physically overcome it.
1. Get on your knees on an exercise mat.
2. Step back with your right foot as far as you can and raise up so that your left knee is at 90 degrees. Your right leg should be fully extended. At this point, you are in a full lunge position.
3. Lean forward with your upper body and place your right palm on the floor.
4. Your left hand should be on your left ankle.
5. Slowly move your left knee in very small circles to stretch out the left ankle.
6. Perform five small circles, then switch legs and repeat.
When combined with a proper mental warmup, this exercise (and others) can truly set the stage for an outstanding workout. The key is to take control of your feelings, thoughts and physical presence. Once that step is out of the way, the rest is easy. Enjoy!
The knee rotation required for the Spider Lunge With Ankle Rotation causes a small motion of the ankle, but Amanda Price is also feeling the stretch at her hip.