50 shoulder dislocations and 50 full ROM (range of motion) squats.
It’s simple and efficient, gets the body warm, stretches and strengthens tissues, and gets the nervous system ready for action…hoo-rah!! Invariably, I always explain to new clients the reason behind my technique to warm up with squats instead of a treadmill:
"As you squat 50 times, your muscle fibres and soft tissues get warm. This creates mobility in your joints as your tissues stretch and relax. This improves the pliability of your lower body and increases the potential for strength and endurance, making you a winner ;)
I know that sounds a bit extreme, having a protocol for EVERYONE to follow, but the reason is simple...in real life, everyone squats! ‘Squat’ is just a pretty word for standing and sitting…think car, chair, toilet or ground. So here we go, this is the perfect squat. Start from sitting on a chair: stand up, keeping your chest up, eyes forward, and sit back down reaching back with your hips…that’s it. Don't cheat by using your hands, instead, tighten your abs and keep your toes light as you stand through your heels.
- Externally rotate your hips to grip the floor with your feet.
- Keep your knees pressing out to the side throughout the entire range of motion
- Get rid of the chair and squat all the way down so that your hamstrings reach the top of your calf muscles, thus demonstrating your epic ankle flexibility and full range of motion!!
The question that my clients inevitably ask is: "Why 50?”
My answer: "50 repetitions is enough to get you warm, and develop your strength for basic human activities." This sub-communicates that if you can do 50 squats, you are increasing the probability that you will never fall prey to life in a wheelchair, while simultaneously expressing your capacity to do more strenuous exercise. Therefore, if my client is able to do 50 squats, then he probably can handle a bit more work than his de-conditioned, lethargic, human contemporaries who forgot to ever step into a gym…ooops! And if my client cannot perform 50 squats, no problem…that’s why they hired me as their trainer!!
Most people I know exercise three times a week, and I would ask them to do 5 sets of ten squats with perfect form (as described above), making sure they squat at least parallel to the floor. I would ask them to perform ten reps at first, rest about 1 min, then repeat 4 times, making a total of 50 squats. If the person struggles, I would ask them to perform as many as they can for five sets, again resting one minute after each set, then repeating four times. This person now has a goal to match that number or beat it until they can hit five sets of ten.
In the case that the client can do 5 sets of 10 without a problem, that means next time there will not be a chair to sit on, and I will ask the client to perform the same routine, now squatting below parallel, and eventually right to the floor as I help them improve their range of motion.
Next goal is two sets of 25 repetitions...and then finally one set of 50! At that point my clients are looking good, and I will add variety in terms of different squat variations, or use of external loading like barbells or dumbbells.