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A Time Efficient Warm Up That Will Improve Your Workouts and Reduce Injuries

A Time Efficient Warm Up That Will Improve Your Workouts and Reduce Injuries

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 6:35am

The Body You Want's Josef Brandenburg (right) suggests foam rolling as part of a complete warm up. See below for a video.

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True 180 Fitness - personal training studio
Four Workout Recovery Tips from Washington DC Trainer Josef Brandenburg
Top 5 Fitness Pitfalls
A Time Efficient Warm Up That Will Improve Your Workouts and Reduce Injuries
5 Ways To Boost Your Recovery
Why You Don’t Need To Eat Every 3 Hours – Meal Frequency Myths
3 Things Not To Do With A Kettlebell
4 Fitness and Weight Loss Myths
5 Strategies For Muscle Growth Success
The Truth About “Super Foods” and 7 Foods To Consider Eating More Of



We have an idiotic debate going on in the fitness industry.  On one side we have trainers who pretend to be physical therapists – the lady who came in to drop 2 sizes before her wedding is spending her sessions “fixing” her knee pain instead of losing fat.  Then on the other side we have trainers who don’t screen anyone before working with them, ignore mobility, and just hammer people (usually until they break).

The truth is that this debate makes no sense: not hurting people and training hard are not mutually exclusive.  Helping people move better produces superior results if it’s married with smart and hard training. This approach also keeps people consistent because they don’t get hurt.  

Movement is Metabolism

Movement is metabolism.  Exercise is movement, and a body that doesn’t move very well can’t get much out of exercise.  Cleaning up your ability to move before you workout will condition any improvements so that they are more likely to become permanent changes.  This will also make your stronger and give you move access to your own metabolism – more fat loss!

Step 1 – A minimalist’s approach to foam rolling (5min)

Foam rolling is wonderful, and what I see is that people either don’t do it at all or they spend 15 or 20 minutes on it.  If you have the time, then the later is great.  However, if you’re like me – small business owner with an 8 month old daughter, then you need to figure out how to get 80% of the results in 5 minutes or less.  Here’s your mantra:  front pockets, back pockets, upper back & pits.  If you have extra time, then go to work on the lower leg (calf, shins, etc.).


Step 2 – Total body mobility in just 4 moves (4min)

The Brilliant Dr. Mark Cheng calls the hips and shoulders the four knots of the body – untie these and everything else will follow.  I would just add in the two ankles to make it six.

Open book –  do this about 3 times per side 


½ kneel ankle mobilization – do this 10 slow times per side


Bretzel 1.0 – do for about 30 seconds (or 5 slow, deep breaths) per side


Bretzel 2.0 – do for about 30 seconds (or 5 slow, deep breaths) per side


Step 3  - movement prep (6min)

½ kneeling KB Halo – 3 per leg per side


Inchworm – 5 reps, hold the end


Miniband walk – 10 reps each direction


Side lunge – 5 each side


Squat to stand – do 5 slow reps


There you have it, a RAMP UP that will untie all 6 knots in your body and improve or maintain most of all of the fundamental movements that humans do, and all in under 15 minutes.  Oh, and if you’re wondering how this fits into a workout session as a whole, then check out item #1 in this piece.

Important disclaimer – please don’t use this article to “treat” chronic pain.  The above advice is about preventing most problems, and will often clear up minor issues.  If you have pain on a regular basis, then you need to see a medical professional (not a personal trainer pretending to be a physical therapist).  If you’re in the DC area, these are the two best places I know – Solutions Physical Therapy and Jessica Probst.


About the Author

Josef Brandenburg is a Washington D.C.-area fitness expert with 16 years of experience and co-author of the international best-selling book "Results Fitness." In 2004, he started True 180 Fitness (formerly The Body You Want) personal training program, which specializes in helping you get the body you want in the time you have available. Josef holds certifications from Precision Nutrition, American Council on Exercise, National Academy of Sports Medicine, Functional Movement Systems, Corrective High Performance Kinesiology, and the National College of Exercise Professionals. Learn more about Josef on his blog, follow him on Twitter and Facebook, or check out his fitness videos on YouTube.



Submitted by Warren Bloom (not verified) on

I love this article. Most people do slow static stretching pre workout which is the exact opposite of what you want in a pre workout prep. I am also a personal trainer in Georgetown and at Warren Bloom Personal Training we offers a similar approach to workout prep as well. In addition a proper cool down is essential to maximize fitness results. Learn more about us at


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