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General Health, Mobility

Priming Your Body Before and After Workouts

By Joe Talarico on Dec 16, 2020 10:00:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time


Priming before and after your workout is one of the best fitness tips I’ve ever implemented. I’ve always been tight in my hips, and felt like I could never get a low squat. I never really understood the importance of priming or activating your muscles before a workout, because no one really explained it in simple terms. It was always a lame one off description of something we begrudgingly have to get through.

The Benefit of Priming

Priming before your workout involves doing a dynamic mobility routine that is designed to encourage superior muscle recruitment patterns, proper joint mobility, and prime the central nervous system so that you are firing powerfully during your workout. This will help ensure you are optimizing the muscle building signal and getting the most growth out of each session. It will also make sure you are properly firing the muscles you want to be growing.

How to Prime

Ideally you’d do a self assessment on each section of your body to see where your pain or tightness resides, and what areas need more activation and work. I’d recommend looking into our MAPS Prime program if you want details on how to do the assessment. If you have great body awareness, and know your tight areas, then you can just focus on those for now.

The beauty of this is you are no longer following a cookie cutter program. You are individualizing the session to YOUR needs which is what it should be all about.  

Hit me with a Prime Session!

It’s good to choose 1-2 exercises for each area you lack range. Try this routine out for 3 sets, 10-12 reps each (or 30 seconds each side). The purpose of a primer session before your workout isn’t just to warm up. It’s to properly activate and fire the muscles in question. This will reinforce proper patterns when you get into the lift. For example, if you are getting ready to squat, but aren’t engaging your hips, you might do a 90/90 drill beforehand. Then, when you get into the squat you should feel the hips firing a little better and with a little more range than normal.

Lower Body - Hips - 90/90 drill: allows you to constantly cue your hips and engage your core while working on the limits of your range of motion

Upper Body - Thoracic - Lizard with Rotation: activates glutes, hamstrings, and the lower body while also waking up the thoracic spine which is extremely tight on most of us allowing it to relearn its proper full range.

Upper Body - Shoulder girdle - Shoulder Dislocates: increases blood flow to the shoulder joint allowing better movement from front to back. 

Once you’re done with your workout, then you can get into post-priming sessions to lock in all the hard work you’ve done with activation and movement patterns.

Priming After Your Workout

Spending 5-10 minutes after your workout to Post-Prime, will allow you to solidify the signal you’ve achieved throughout your workout. If priming before your workout helps activate the muscle, and the workout itself allows for proper activation, I like to think of Post Priming as locking down that movement pattern and ensuring the body is better at remembering what you spent all session learning.

Lower Body - Hips - Tension Gecko

Upper Body - Thoracic - Side Lunge Windmill

Upper Body - Shoulder girdle -Handcuff Pancakes with Rotation

By spending 5-10 minutes before and after your workout focusing on a handful of drills addressing that day's movements, you can increase a better mind muscle connection, better recruitment patterns, and thus an overall healthier skeletal frame. Your body may get worn down like a car, but we can’t really replace the parts as easy as a car. Treat it good, and you’ll find yourself well into your 60’s moving like a 30 year old.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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