Coach's Corner

An Unexpected Call to Warm Up Less in CrossFit

Challenge yourself to find the least effective dose.

the box warm up

I can’t wait to read the comments from outraged men and women who didn’t read this entire article. I’ll just come out and say it: Warm up and move on.

I couldn’t have imagined that it would be possible, but we have made warming up sexy. More than ever, men and women are compelled to foam-roll, activate and passionately “warm up” for what feels like ages. I’m calling out athletes and coaches who are using this as a crutch to avoid the work. This isn’t just avoidance of hard work because, at some point, we hear “3, 2, 1, Go!” and get our dose of intensity. The work it’s avoiding are the challenging nuances of training.

I’m here to challenge coaches and athletes to warm up, yes, but get to the point. Warm-up efforts should be effective, intentional and, frankly, brief. Get it done. The real gift in training is the skill development, the deliberate practice, the strength elements and the meat of the conditioning.

When coaches prescribe lazy, lingering warm-ups, they’re avoiding 20 minutes to stare his or her class in the face. It’s those precious “empty” minutes that can make your training or coaching experience go from average to remarkable. It’s in this “empty” 20-minute block that skill work on the rings can happen. It’s when athletes can tumble. It’s a time to climb ropes and handstand walk. It’s a time to do drills and spend time with complex movements rather than speed through a progression and get the room competent enough to send them on their way.

When it comes to warming up, I challenge you all to find the least effective dose. I observe that we’ve run away with this notion of the warm-up. Get it done and move on, people.