Warming up and cooling down

I’ve noticed, browsing other people’s kettlebell workouts, that my own are a little longer than some; probably around 45 minutes as opposed to other people’s 25-35 minutes.  I also seem to burn a few more calories – verging on 750/per hour – not that I ever train with KBs for a full hour!  I suspect this might be to do with my regular warm-up and cool-down, which are fairly lengthy and also get my heart rate nice and high in preparation for the hard work to come.

My OH picked up this warm-up from Tommy Matthews of Optimal Life Fitness, when they trained together a few months ago.  Goes without saying that posture should be excellent at all times – chest up, shoulder blades in tight, etc.

  • Rotate arms forward for a few revolutions, then backwards.  Keep them long, straight and fairly loose.
  • Hold your arms out to either side, palms facing out, then swing them across the body and allow the palms to rotate towards the floor.  Repeat a few times to loosen off and stretch shoulders and chest.
  • Standing straight, rotate to the left through the hips and core. Pat yourself on the shoulder with the right hand, and on the back with the left; repeat on the right hand side.  Continue til you’ve done 4-5 reps each side.
  • Holding your hands close by your sides, bend through the core and slide your hand down your leg; repeat several times each side.  Don’t let the hips swing out, make sure the work is in your abs.
  • Body weight squats, arms held in front for balance. 4-5 reps.
  • Lunges!  Lunge forward with one leg and swing the other arm straight over your head; lock out at the elbow.  4-5 each side.
  • More lunges!  This time lunge backwards and touch your hands to the floor so you almost look like you’re about to start a sprint race.  Stand up, making sure the hips come to full extension.  4-5 each side.
  • Get in push up position, then touch your chest 10 times with your right hand and ten times with your left.  No need to put your hand fully back to the floor each time, just make sure you touch the floor in between reps.
  • Still in push up position, this time move into the T position.  One hand stays on the floor, while the body rotates up and the feet roll to the side to fully support your body weight.  The other arm goes straight up in the air.  It’s almost like you were standing upright with your arms straight out to the sides (like a big letter T), then someone pushed you over. Again, 4-5 each side.
  • Finally, mountain climbers.  I usually get into the position a couple of times each side just to stretch out my hips, before doing a few proper ballistic reps.  On sadistic days I do one push-up after each change of side (if that makes sense).  On non-sadistic days I just do a few push ups afterwards 😉

All of that takes a lot less time to do that it does to read, and it makes a pretty effective warm up for just about any activity.  For the cool down I do exactly the same but leave out the more ballistic exercises; so everything except the forward lunges and the ballistic portion of the mountain climbers.  If I’ve got time I’ll do a few static stretches too, mainly concentrating on my problem areas of calves, hamstrings and lower back.

Now having typed all that, I’m off to do it! 😀


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarah
    May 26, 2009 @ 15:35:28

    Nancy — Thank you for the warm up/cool down routine. Do you do the same routine every day or sometimes throw in other stuff? Halos are a great warm up exercise for your shoulders – I’m sure you’ve done them before!


    • Nancy K
      May 27, 2009 @ 15:03:25

      Sarah, this is just one of many warm-up routines I’ve used with kettlebells. I’m sure it’ll change again – whenever I learn something new I tend to go a bit crazy with it for a while! In the past, warm up exercises have included halos, around the worlds, “priming the pump” and various others. Sometimes I’ll just do a couple of quick sets of swings with a light bell. For now I’m using the same routine every day, apart from when I inevitably forget what I’m doing and miss one out!


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