A lit­tle ‘self talk’ pre­pares mind, body for warmup

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - MATT PARROTT Matt Parrott has a doc­tor­ate in education (sport stud­ies) and a mas­ter’s in ki­ne­si­ol­ogy and is cer­ti­fied by the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Sports Medicine. vball­top@aol.com

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.

Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette/CELIA STOREY

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