Fab Five Warm Up

by Joe Giandonato, MBA, MS, CSCS

Pump up your performance in a pinch with these fivemovements.


Let’s face it, most athletes dread warming up. Much likemeeting the parents, college math classes, flossing, and practice, warming upis a necessary evil. The failure to complete each aforementioned task carries substantialconsequences.

Dodging the folks will spoil your courtship. Blowing offcollege math classes will relegate you to jobs in which you must “wash yourhands before returning to work”. Abjuring regular flossing will result in eachtrip to the dentist becoming a noncredit oral hygiene elective. And unlessyou’re Allen Iverson, not practicing will earn you an express ticket to thebench.

Failure to warm up may rob you of the ability to displayathleticism and worse yet, might permanently cement you a spot on the bench.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of the warm up, allowme to extoll the many virtues of warming up, which collectively allow you toperform at your best while warding off injuries.

Warm ups serve the following purposes:

·        Boost blood flow which elevates your coretemperature

·        Align and lubricate your joints which improvestability and mobility required to perform athletic movements

·        Activate your CNS

Simply stated, warm ups provide your body thephysiological ammunition it needs to perform optimally. Dynamic stretching isthe preferred choice prior to commencing your workout. Dynamic stretchinginvolves movements performed through a full range of motion which oftenreplicate exercises or components of exercises which will be performed later inthe workout. Research has shown that dynamic stretching prior to practice andcompetition elicit improvements in sprint and jump performance (1). Sprinklingin plyometric exercises within your warm may improve your explosiveness.  When plyometric exercises are performed, theCNS favorably recruits high threshold motor units (2), thereby allowing you toproduce more muscular force , in turn making you faster, your cuts moreprecise, and giving you a little more hang time.

Now that you have been blinded by science, it’s time totry the warm up.

The warm up protocol is something I’ve used with myathletes in my past life as a strength and conditioning coach and with thediverse client base, ranging from soccer moms to powerlifters, which Ipresently train.

The Fab Five Warm Up is a total body, multiplanar warm upconsists of five movements with each performed five times or, where specified,for five seconds. This warm up doesn’t require any equipment and you won’t needmuch space. An empty squat rack or bare platform will suit you just fine.

1)     Half Kneeling Stance with Overhead Reach

·        Assume a half kneeling position, keeping theknee of the leg and foot of the front leg firmly planted on the ground

·        Keep the core tight and rib cage “pulled down”

·        Keep the rear hip extended by squeezing the glute

·        Pulling the chest big and shoulder blades down,elevate your arms overhead

·        Exhale as your reach overhead while keeping thecore braced

·        Try to avoid arching the back, pushing the headforward, or allowing the ribs to flare

Reps: 5 each side

2)     Groiner Stretch with Thoracic Rotation andShoulder Internal Rotation

·        Set up as if you are getting ready to do a pushup

·        Bring up one foot as far as you can withouteliciting discomfort

·        Place your hand on the small of your back

·        Using your core, “push” the spine into the backof your hand to engage your core

·        Rotate through the shoulders and try to open upthe chest

·        Lead with the head. Remember, where the headgoes, the body follows.

Reps: 5 each side

3)     Contrast Push Ups

·        Assume a push up position and perform an isometricpush up with the body hovering over the ground for five seconds

·        Next, perform five regular push ups

·        Wrap up the set by performing five plyometricpush ups

Reps: 5 each movement, following a five second isometricpush up

4)     Rotational Squats with Overhead Reach

·        Assume a standing position and plant your leftfoot on the ground

·        Rotate through the shoulders and hips away fromthe left foot and perform a lateral squat

·        During the lateral squat, perform an overheadreach while exhaling

·        Be sure to keep the core tight

Reps: 5 each side

5)     Contrast Squats

·        Assume a squat position and perform an isometricsquat with the hips back, knees out, and core engaged for five seconds

·        Next, perform five regular squats

·        Wrap up the set by performing five jump squats


1.      Needham RA, Morse CI, Degens H. The acute effectof different warm-up

protocols on anaerobic performance in elite youth soccerplayers. J Strength Cond


2.      Macaluso F, Isaacs AW, Myburgh KH. Preferentialtype II muscle fiber

damage from plyometric exercise. J Athl Train. 2012;47(4):414-420.



About the Author

Joe Giandonato presently serves asthe Coordinator of Fitness Programs at Drexel University, where he overseesassessments, personal training, and all recreational fitness programming.Previously, Giandonato served as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach andFitness Director at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, PA, where hepresided over the assessment, preparation, and implementation of trainingprograms for athletes in grades 6 through 12 and a diverse and accomplishedalumni base, many of whom compete in collegiate athletics and in a host ofprofessional and amateur leagues. Giandonato also serves an adjunct instructorof exercise science and fitness electives at colleges throughout thePhiladelphia-area. Concurrent with his administrative and teaching duties,Giandonato is also an accomplished writer, having authored over 250 articlesappearing on websites and in print. Presently, he serves as the Senior ScienceEditor for ]]>