Friday night at gym after coaching I thought I would do Chelsea with the kids. It wasn’t even a full Chelsea or Cindy, it was 15 rounds in 15 minutes of 5 pullups 10 pushups and 15 squats. I had done a similar thing with the younger competitive kids the night before and I had enjoyed watching that so I thought it would be fun for us all to do it together on Friday. Unfortunately I took my 2.5 hours of coaching as adequate warmup and jumped straight into the workout without warming up properly first. Now I am a pretty fit guy but I guess it may be my age or maybe just the fact that standing around doesn’t count as a warmup but once the 15 minutes was over I realized I had made a critical error. My legs were shaking and weak, a sure sign that I had done something I was going to regret. The next day, Saturday was painful, but Sunday was torture. Thank goodness there was the Carling Cup Final to watch (GO LIVERPOOL!! YNWA!!) and Tottenham getting thrashed by Arsenal because I was in no shape to be on my feet. Now there are plenty of studies to show that the cooldown period after exercise is basically a myth but I am a staunch supporter of the warmup before you start. The warmup is so critical because it gives your body time to ease into the exercise, giving your muscles and your circulatory system time to ramp up into the work. It enables you to warm up the muscle in order for you to stretch effectively before you start and even a light stretch is pretty much mandatory before a workout. Some people (myself included) used to think stretching was a ridiculous waste of time but in hindsight I can tell you that unless you want to end up with muscles that are shortened and inflexible, even the most basic of stretch before you start is super important. I am not talking about a static stretching regime here, I am talking about dynamic stretching of the muscles you are about to use. Experts have found that you can actually increase your risk of injury if you statically stretch before or during your workout and also that ballistic stretching is almost always a bad idea. If you are a fan of the P90X system you will find that P90X2 is almost completely dynamic stretching and foam rolling, a suitable replacement for static stretches.
In my case on Friday, it wasn’t the stretching that was the problem it was the warmup. My body wasn’t ready to work even after several hours on my feet. Just like being on the treadmill my body had gone into autopilot mode and wasn’t really using any effort to move me around. Let me tell you, I won’t do that again. Just 5 minutes on the spin bike would have been enough to save me from three days of hell.