Over the last 8 years of being a professional trainer, I’ve changed a lot of my practices. I’ve changed how I communicate, program design, choose exercises, and just think in general. This has led to me becoming a better trainer, but more importantly it has led to an increase in my client’s potential. What I want to talk about with this article is very important and often times neglected and misunderstood by many professionals in the health and performance fields. I want to talk to you all about priming your body before your training sessions. I would like to acknowledge https://www.mindpumpmedia.com/ for teaching me the value of priming and helping me to help others to move and feel better with this acquired knowledge. 

First and foremost, before I go any further I want to briefly explain what Priming actually means to me, and how it can be beneficial to you. Priming is a better term than the traditional “warming-up.” I don’t like that term, when I hear that term all I can picture is the typical gym goer who spends 15 minutes jogging on a treadmill or elliptical and then static stretching for 5 minutes after that. That practice is not only inefficient, it’s not productive nor reliable. Let me be clear that process does “warm-up” your body before a training session; but only in the sense that it increases your core temperature. Before you do a training session, whatever your goal and purpose for training may be, I believe you should prime your body. What priming does far better than a typical and traditional “warm-up” is that priming gives you better access, potential, and control to your body as a whole. Priming, activates the central nervous system which is the driver of all human movement, and if your nervous system is ready to go before a training session the muscles and joints will take care of themselves.

Now let me be crystal clear, although priming is important and should be utilized before your training sessions that doesn’t mean it needs to be complicated. Efficiency and complexity are not the same thing when it comes to training and when it comes to priming I keep it simple. I just focus on the big 4 mobile joints of the body. I choose 1-2 priming movements for your ankles, hips, Mid-back (Thoracic Spine), and shoulders. Since I have been training this way, my clients workouts have been more efficient with their time, and their results have increased as well. More importantly, the best feedback I have been getting is that everyone feels better more consistently throughout the days and weeks that they’re not in the gym training with me, which is extremely important. With that being said, below are a couple of priming movement videos for each Big 4 joints of the body.

The first joint I believe we should prime is the ankle, which is very underappreciated when it comes to human movement. The more efficient your ankles can glide you’re going to move better, feel better, and function better as a whole; simply put, when your ankles move better you’re reducing your chances of injury significantly. Below are video examples of how to prime the ankles: 

The next mobile joint that I would want to prime is the hips. The hips are the powerhouse of all fundamental human movement; simply put, the better your hips can function will have a tremendous side effect to the entire body functioning better as a whole. Below are video examples of how to prime the hips:

The next area that I would want to address is the Mid Back, or Thoracic Spine as the more technical term. This is the area of the spine that should have the most degree of movement. However, if this area is lacking in any degree of movement, our lower back will have to make up for that lack of efficiency. Below are video examples of how to prime the Mid Back or Thoracic Spine:

The final area that I would want to address is the Shoulder Girdle. The Shoulder Girdle is made up of the shoulder blade (Scapulae) and shoulder joint (Glenohumeral Joint). We often talk too much about these joints being separated, when they should function collaboratively with one another to allow for greater efficiency of movement. The more efficiency we can bring to your Shoulder Girdle, the less likely you will be to have pain in joints like your neck or your elbow.  Below are video examples of how to prime the Shoulder Girdle:

As far as programming these priming movements, what I professionally recommend is really quite simple. Pick 1-2 priming movements for each of the Big 4 joints of the body. Listen to your body first and foremost, and if you know you have more restrictions at one joint more than the other spend more time with that joint and choose 2 priming movements instead of 1. Like I said earlier, I keep it simple and I only do 1 set of each priming movement per joint and I do 10-15 repetitions total of the Bilateral exercises and 10 repetitions per side of the unilateral exercises. With some patience, discipline, and consistency you’ll start to notice that you move and feel better having implemented priming into your training routine.