How to Warm-Up Properly for Strength Training

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Squat/Deadlift Training-    

General Warm-Up          Training Specific Mobility          Activation Techniques          BONUS-Calf Mobility

Olympic Lift/ Bench Press Training-    

General Warm-Up          Training Specific Mobility          Activation Techniques


Warm-Ups to Get

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Format:

General Active Warm-Up and Systems Check- Full body active stretches with movement (non-static) to force soft tissues to create change and improve positioning, while testing full body function for that day.

Daily 30- Used to teach proper movement patterns, while increasing muscular temperature, heart rate and peripheral blood flow.

Training Specific Mobility- Specific active stretches for that day’s training session, used to improve specific muscle and joint function.

**Note: This is the place to implement any extensive stretches specific to the individual to improve specific mobility needs**

Activation Techniques- Used to activate the muscles used most during that day’s training session and improve their function.

Game Time!

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Warm-Up

The goal of the warm-up is to better prepare your body to perform safely and optimally. This includes physically raising your body’s skeletal muscle temperature, which is vital for proper muscle function; due to your skeletal muscles have a resting temperature less than your body’s core temperature.

Pre-Training Mobility and Activation Drills- This warm-up begins by loosening your body’s soft tissues through active mobilization allowing you to get into better, stronger positions while training. Many of us have tight, damaged or just short muscles, tendons and ligaments that need to be mobilized in order to get into more efficient positions. By mobilizing through active stretching and/or rolling out a muscle it is more likely to perform at an efficient rate, through better positioning and increased joint range of motion. For muscles that are limiting your ability to get into a proper position, longer duration stretches should be utilized to let this muscle relax and lengthen, increasing range of motion. Stretching for long duration while breathing properly allows for a muscle to relax, or turn off. For this reason, after doing some short, and possibly long, duration stretching to improve positioning there are activation drills set in place to both teach the correct muscles to turn on, or activate, and bring blood flow to the muscles used during each training session. Activation drills are specific to each training session’s main movement. The activation drills include balance training to improve neuromuscular proprioception, or muscle activation, and joint stability. Both mobility to improve positioning and the activation drills to teach proper muscle activity will better prepare your body to perform optimally and make you STRONGer.

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Squat/ Deadlift Mobility Warm-Up

 

General Active Warm-Up:

 

Toe Reach                                                                      x 10

Purpose- Improve Hip Flexion, Hamstring Complex Function, Hip and Knee Joint Mobility

With feet shoulder width apart, keep a neutral spine and bend from the hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. From this static position hold for 5-10 seconds and then actively extend your knees and reach both hands towards the floor just in front of your toes. Hold this for at least 2 seconds before reversing the motion by engaging your hamstrings to raise your torso slightly. Do a total of ten 2 second holds. If you have enough hamstring flexibility to keep a neutral spine with your knees extended and you can touch the floor then this mobility exercise is not necessary for you.

 IMG_2308

The Bow                                                                        x 10-30 sec.

Purpose- Open breathing pathways, Increase Thoracic Extension and Release Tension

While standing erect, interlock your fingers together behind your head, and pull your elbows as far behind you as you can. Begin by pressing your hips forward, with your knees slightly bent, lean as far back as you can while maintaining balance. Keep your glutes activated to support the connection to the ground and increase hip extension.

 

Torso Twist & Reach                                                    x 10 total

Purpose- Improve Spinal Rotation, Scapular Protraction and Retraction Function

IMG_2309

IMG_2311

While standing erect with a vertical spinal alignment and feet shoulder width, twist your torso to each side while reaching your opposite hand towards the opposing side horizontally. Allow your scapula (shoulder blade) to protract and retract during the motions. As you twist to the left, your right hand will reach past your body to the left as if to touch the side wall and visa versa.

 

Side Bend & Reach                                                        x 10 total

IMG_2318

IMG_2315

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Abduction and Spine Lateral Flexion Function

With your feet shoulder width apart, do not rotate your torso as you bend laterally while reaching your opposite hand, palm away, overhead holding for 1 second before returning to the start position. Do a total of 10 repetitions.

 

Chest Open-Close                                                                   x 3

IMG_2324

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Purpose- Improve Scapular Protraction and Retraction Function, Thoracic Spine Mobility

Start standing erect with your arms spread out laterally. Begin by protracting your scapula (shoulder blades) forward, rounding your thoracic spine and wrapping your arms around an imaginary ball in front of you until you feel a slight stretch in your back. Then reverse this motion by retracting your shoulder blades, extending your thoracic spine, and opening your arms until you feel a slight stretch in your chest. Hold each position for 1-2 seconds and do 3 repetitions.

 

Hip Circles                                                                     x 10 total

IMG_2325IMG_2327

Purpose- Improve Hip Joint Function and Synovial Fluid Lubrication

With feet shoulder width apart, create a large circle with your hips in both directions. Do a total of 10 repetitions.

 

Hip Open-Close                                                             x 1 each side

Purpose- Check Hip Function

Start by standing erect with feet shoulder width apart. Begin by bringing one knee to the opposite side of your body and slowly create a large circle going in front of your body, up and over to the outside of your body. Then slowly reverse this motion by raising your knee from the lateral side of your body, up and inward creating another circular motion back to feet shoulder width apart. Repeat on the opposite side one time.

 

Paleo Squat                                                                    x 30+ sec.IMG_2342

Purpose- Improve Spinal Decompression, Ankle Dorsi-flexion and Hip Flexion Mobility

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes straight or turned out slightly. Brace your core and externally rotate (twist) your knees out during the entire movement while clenching your toes into the ground. Begin the motion by opening your hips and descending into a full depth squat while keeping your feet flat. (Note: Only go as deep as you can while keeping your heels down.) Pause at the bottom position for two seconds before reversing the motion to stand erect. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes straight or turned out slightly. Brace your core and externally rotate (twist) your knees out during the entire movement while clenching your toes into the ground. Begin the motion by opening your hips and descending into a full depth squat while keeping your feet flat. (Note: Only go as deep as you can while keeping your heels down.) Pause at the bottom position for time to gain and maintain the necessary flexibility.

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Daily 30                                                                         1-3 Rounds

  • Paleo Squat                                                                 x 10
  • Push-Up                                                                      x 10
  • Prone Cobra                                                                x 10

Purpose- Teach Proper Movement Patterns, Increase Muscular Temperature, Increase Heart Rate and Peripheral Blood Flow

Go to the Daily 30

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Squat/ Deadlift-Training Specific Mobility:

 

Lat Stretch- Underhand                                                 x 10-30 sec.

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Flexion and Latimus Dorsi Function

Grasp a stable object, near your head height, with an underhand grip (palms up). While maintaining a neutral spine and hips square, extend the same side leg behind you as you lean forward until you feel a stretch in your lat. With your arm and leg fully extended keep a forward torso lean as you attempt to push your head through, in front of your arm. Work though the tension in this position by internally and externally rotating your torso. If you can flex your arm beyond your ear then this movement is not necessary.

 

Bicep Stretch                                                                  x 10-30 sec.IMG_0365

Purpose- Improve Elbow and Wrist Extension, Wrist and Arm Flexor Functions

With your fingers spread, externally rotate your hand and place your palm flat against a wall, shoulder height or below. Initiate the stretch by leaning your bodyweight into your hand and slowly lower your body until you feel a stretch in your wrist flexors. Next, turn your body away from your hand until you feel a stretch in your biceps brachii or anterior deltoid. To further increase the stretch, turn your head away from your hand. Move in and out of these tense positions under control while maintaining pressure against the wall.

 

Squat & Extend                                                             x 3

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Purpose- Improve Hip, Knee and Ankle Joints Mobility

With a shoulder width stance, raise the balls of your feet and place your fingers of each hand underneath. From this position, go into a full depth squat with your knees outside of your arms. Next, force your knees into extension until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Hold each position for at least 2 seconds.

 

Dynamic Hamstring Stretch                                          x 10 total steps

Purpose- Improve Hip Flexion and Hamstring Complex Function

Standing erect, take a short step forward and, while maintaining a neutral spine, lean forward and reach your hands out in front of your toes until you feel a stretch in your hamstring complex. Hold this stretch for 2 seconds before using your hamstrings to flex out of the stretch. Take another short step and repeat with the other leg.

 

Deep Lunges                                                                  x 10 total steps

Purpose- Improve Hip Extension and Hip Flexor Function

Standing erect with a neutral spine and hips square, take a moderate-long step forward and lunge until your knee is hovering slightly over the ground or you feel a stretch in your anterior thigh. Hold this position for 2 seconds before flexing out of it and stepping forward. Repeat with the other leg. To increase the stretch you can twist your torso towards your forward knee or laterally flex your torso with your arm overhead in the same direction. Do not allow your knee to travel in front of your toes at any point.

 

Dynamic Pigeon Stretch                                                x 10 each

Purpose- Improve Hip External Rotation and Glute Function

Find flat raised surface, between knee and hip height. Place the lateral side of your lower leg against the raised surface parallel to your shoulders. Extend and internally rotate your opposite leg behind you until you feel a stretch in your glute. Flex in and out of the base position by pressing your leg down against the raised surface, holding the bottom and top positions each for 2 seconds.

(Note: If you feel pain in your knee, then you likely have tight peroneals (lateral calf muscles) and should free your foot by allowing it to hang off the edge of the flat surface until they are better mobilized.)

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Activation Techniques:

 

Single Leg Romanian Deadlift                                       x 10 each

Purpose- Activate Hamstring Complex

Stand erect an arms distance away from a stable object to use if needed for balance (only use if needed at first). With a slight bend in your knee, hover one foot off the floor while maintaining a straight line from your head to that foot, and lean your torso forward as you extend your leg behind you. Keep your hips square and internally rotate (toes in) your foot as it moves behind you. Stop when you feel a stretch in your hamstrings or reach 90 degrees of hip flexion. Pause for 2 seconds before flexing your hamstrings to return back to the starting position.

 

Hip Airplanes                                                                x 10 each

Purpose- Activate Glutes

Stand erect an arms distance away from a stable object to use if needed for balance (only use if needed at first). Hove one foot off of the floor and lean your torso 30-45 degrees forward, keeping your raised leg in line with your torso. Bend your grounded leg to a more stable position and keep your hips in line with your shoulders throughout the movement. To start, internally rotate your raised leg’s hip inward towards your opposing knee before flexing your glute to reverse the motion, externally rotating your hip away from the opposing knee. Control the motion with your glute and maintain a straight line from your raised foot to your head.

 

Bulgarian Split Squat                                                    x 10 each

Purpose- Activate Quadriceps and Mobilize Hip Flexors

Start by standing erect and placing the ball of one foot on a raised surface (6-12 inches) behind you. While maintaining a vertical torso, hips square and your glutes activated, dip your raised knee down until you feel a stretch in your anterior thigh, or reach 90 degrees of knee flexion in your front leg. Hold this position for two seconds before flexing back to the start position. To increase the stretch further, raise the surface higher or put your front foot out in front farther. Do not let your front knee go over your toes at any point.

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BONUS- Calf Mobility:

Single Leg Calf Stretch                                                   x 1-2 min. each

Purpose- Improve Ankle Dorsi-flexion and Calf Function

With your knee fully extended, place the ball of your foot on a raised surface, high enough to feel a stretch in your calf. Allow your heel to sink down as you put your weight on your foot. Actively move around in this position by flexing in and out of it, forcing your knee into further extension, or pulling your toes towards your face.

 

Weighted Deep Squat Calf Stretch                                x 2 min.

Purpose- Improve Ankle Dorsi-flexion and Calf Function

While holding a barbell, place it just above your knee caps and go into a full depth squat. Ensure that your heels are down in this position, and only rise slightly as you push the weight and your knees forward. Move around in this position to create change, by flexing the opposing muscles and moving under control. You may put more stress on one side by leaning the barbell to that side or placing all the weight on one side at a time. Use this stretch sparingly as it is more intense than non-weighted mobility techniques.

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Olympic Lift/ Bench Press Mobility Warm-Up

 

General Active Warm-Up:

 

Toe Reach                                                                      x 10

Purpose- Improve Hip Flexion, Hamstring Complex Function, Hip and Knee Joint Mobility

With feet shoulder width apart, keep a neutral spine and bend from the hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. From this static position hold for 5-10 seconds and then actively extend your knees and reach both hands towards the floor just in front of your toes. Hold this for at least 2 seconds before reversing the motion by engaging your hamstrings to raise your torso slightly. Do a total of ten 2 second holds. If you have enough hamstring flexibility to keep a neutral spine with your knees extended and you can touch the floor then this mobility exercise is not necessary for you.

 IMG_2308

The Bow                                                                        x 10-30 sec.

Purpose- Open breathing pathways, Increase Thoracic Extension and Release Tension

While standing erect, interlock your fingers together behind your head, and pull your elbows as far behind you as you can. Begin by pressing your hips forward, with your knees slightly bent, lean as far back as you can while maintaining balance. Keep your glutes activated to support the connection to the ground and increase hip extension.

Torso Twist & Reach                                                    x 10 total

Purpose- Improve Spinal Rotation, Scapular Protraction and Retraction Function

IMG_2311IMG_2309

While standing erect with a vertical spinal alignment and feet shoulder width, twist your torso to each side while reaching your opposite hand towards the opposing side horizontally. Allow your scapula (shoulder blade) to protract and retract during the motions. As you twist to the left, your right hand will reach past your body to the left as if to touch the side wall and visa versa.

 

Side Bend & Reach                                                        x 10 total

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Abduction and Spine Lateral Flexion FunctionIMG_2315IMG_2318

With your feet shoulder width apart, do not rotate your torso as you bend laterally while reaching your opposite hand, palm away, overhead holding for 1 second before returning to the start position. Do a total of 10 repetitions.

 

Chest Open-Close                                                                   x 3

Purpose- Improve Scapular Protraction and Retraction Function, Thoracic Spine MobilityIMG_2323IMG_2324

Start standing erect with your arms spread out laterally. Begin by protracting your scapula (shoulder blades) forward, rounding your thoracic spine and wrapping your arms around an imaginary ball in front of you until you feel a slight stretch in your back. Then reverse this motion by retracting your shoulder blades, extending your thoracic spine, and opening your arms until you feel a slight stretch in your chest. Hold each position for 1-2 seconds and do 3 repetitions.

 

Hip Circles                                                                     x 10 totalIMG_2325IMG_2327

Purpose- Improve Hip Joint Function and Synovial Fluid Lubrication

With feet shoulder width apart, create a large circle with your hips in both directions. Do a total of 10 repetitions.

 

Hip Open-Close                                                             x 1 each side

Purpose- Check Hip Function

Start by standing erect with feet shoulder width apart. Begin by bringing one knee to the opposite side of your body and slowly create a large circle going in front of your body, up and over to the outside of your body. Then slowly reverse this motion by raising your knee from the lateral side of your body, up and inward creating another circular motion back to feet shoulder width apart. Repeat on the opposite side one time.

 

Paleo Squat                                                                    x 30+ sec.

Purpose- Improve Spinal Decompression, Ankle Dorsi-flexion and Hip Flexion MobilityIMG_0508

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes straight or turned out slightly. Brace your core and externally rotate (twist) your knees out during the entire movement while clenching your toes into the ground. Begin the motion by opening your hips and descending into a full depth squat while keeping your feet flat. (Note: Only go as deep as you can while keeping your heels down.) Pause at the bottom position for two seconds before reversing the motion to stand erect. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes straight or turned out slightly. Brace your core and externally rotate (twist) your knees out during the entire movement while clenching your toes into the ground. Begin the motion by opening your hips and descending into a full depth squat while keeping your feet flat. (Note: Only go as deep as you can while keeping your heels down.) Pause at the bottom position for time to gain and maintain the necessary flexibility.

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Daily 30                                                                         1-3 Rounds

  • Paleo Squat                                                                 x 10
  • Push-Up                                                                      x 10
  • Prone Cobra                                                                x 10

Purpose- Teach Proper Movement Patterns, Increase Muscular Temperature, Increase Heart Rate and Peripheral Blood Flow

Go to the Daily 30

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Olympic Lift/ Bench Press-Training Specific Mobility:

 

Arm Circles                                                                             x 10 each direction

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Mobility and Function

With your glutes flexed, core braced and spine neutral, simply circle your arms slowly through their full range of motion each direction. Do this under control at a slow-moderate pace. Keep your head in line with your torso and do not flex or extend your thoracic spine.

 

Horizontal Hug & Open                                                x 10

Purpose- Improve Scapular Protraction and Retraction Function and Mobility, Pectoral Function, Thoracic Spine Flexion and Extension MobilityIMG_2368IMG_2369

With your palms facing down, cross your arms in front of your body and wrap them as far around your torso as you can allowing your thoracic spine to flex forward as needed. Reverse the motion externally rotating your hands so that your palms face up as you extend your arms horizontally to your sides and try to pull them together behind you, allowing your thoracic spine to extend backwards. Let your scapula to protract forward as you hug and retract back as you open your chest. Pause at the end of each motion and switch the crossing of your arms in front each time.

 

Shoulder Flexion-Extension                                          x 10

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Function

With your glutes flexed, core braced and arms extended, raise your hands over and behind your head as far as you can with palms facing each other. Then lower your extended arms under control and internally rotate your hands to palms facing backwards as you extend behind your torso. Do not allow your spine to flex or extend as you go through the full range of motion. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down as you extend behind your hips.

 

Single Arm Swings                                                        x 10 each way

Purpose- Shoulder Joint Synovial Fluid Lubrication, Improve Shoulder Function

With your one arm slightly flexed, circle it at a fast pace through its full range of motion each direction. Be sure to cross your arm in front of your body as you swing it. Go fast, but maintain control of the motion. After going each direction, repeat with the other arm.

 

Scapular Rotations                                                                  x 10 each

Purpose- Improve Scapular Function and Mobility

With your arms flexed about 90 degrees, circle your shoulders forward and backward through their full range of motion both directions. Ensure that your scapula is moving up and down with the motion and can move freely.

 

Chest Stretch                                                                 x 10 sec.IMG_0487

Purpose- Improve Pectoral and Shoulder Function and Mobility

With your arms extended out horizontally, grasp a stable object with each hand. Pull your shoulder blades back and down as you push your chest forward until you feel a slight stretch in your chest. Breathe calmly as you relax into the stretch before starting to move through the tension under control. Maintain tension in your back as you pull your shoulders back actively.

 

Lat Stretch- Overhand                                                   x 10-30 sec.

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Flexion and Latimus Dorsi Function and Mobility

Grasp a stable object, near your head height, with an overerhand grip (palms down). While maintaining a neutral spine and hips square, extend the same side leg behind you as you lean forward until you feel a stretch in your lat. With your arm and leg fully extended keep a forward torso lean as you attempt to push your head through, in front of your arm. Work though the tension in this position by internally and externally rotating your torso. If you can flex your arm beyond your ear then this movement is not necessary.

 

Doorway/ Pec Minor Stretch                                         x 10-30 sec.

Purpose- Improve Breathing Function, Scapular Elevation and Depression Function

Standing in a doorway, flex your arms 90 degrees and place the inside of your forearms against the outer frame with your elbows shoulder height. With one foot step through the doorway until you feel a stretch in your anterior chest. Take deep breaths and relax into the motion to increase the effectiveness of this stretch. By leaning your torso forward you can increase the stretch towards external rotation of your shoulder. This stretch may also be done one arm at a time against any stable object.

 

Scapular Protraction Stretch                                         x 10-30 sec.

Purpose- Improve Scapular Function and Mobility

With one hand, grasp a stable object at shoulder height with an overhand grip. Step the same side foot back and lean away from your hand. Both internally and externally rotate your entire torso, to and away from your hand allowing for your scapula to stay protracted forward.

 

Calf- Hamstring Stretch                                                 x 10 eachIMG_0423

Purpose- Improve Knee Extension, Ankle Dorsi-flexion, Calf and Hamstring Function

With your knee fully extended, place the ball of your foot on a slightly raised surface and allow for your ankle to fully dorsiflex (pull your toes up towards your face). Keep weight on the ball of your foot and your knee fully extended as you lean your torso forward. Maintain a neutral spine and lean until you feel a stretch behind your knee. Be active in the stretch by coming in and out of tension under control, contract-relax techniques and by flexing the opposing muscles (Quadriceps, Anterior Tibialis) to deepen the stretch.

 

Exaggerated Lunge                                                        x 10 eachIMG_0447

Purpose- Improve Hip Extension, Hip Flexor Function and Hip Mobility

While keeping your hips square, place one foot on a raised surface (12-20 inches high) in front of you and the other behind you. Keep your front foot pointed forward and slightly internally rotate your back foot as you extend your leg behind you. Keep you torso vertical, core braced and tension on your rear glute as you bend your front knee to initiate the stretch. When you feel tension in your hip flexor, hold that position. To increase the stretch you can flex your glute to further press your hips forward or flex and extend your posterior knee slightly to find other tense positions to hold.

 

Single Leg Calf Stretch                                                   x 1-2 min. each

Purpose- Improve Ankle Dorsi-flexion and Calf Function

With your knee fully extended, place the ball of your foot on a raised surface, high enough to feel a stretch in your calf. Allow your heel to sink down as you put your weight on your foot. Actively move around in this position by flexing in and out of it, forcing your knee into further extension, or pulling your toes towards your face.

 

Weighted Deep Squat Calf Stretch                                x 2 min.

Purpose- Improve Ankle Dorsi-flexion and Calf Function

While holding a barbell, place it just above your knee caps and go into a full depth squat. Ensure that your heels are down in this position, and only rise slightly as you push the weight and your knees forward. Move around in this position to create change, by flexing the opposing muscles and moving under control. You may put more stress on one side by leaning the barbell to that side or placing all the weight on one side at a time. Use this stretch sparingly as it is more intense than non-weighted mobility techniques.

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Activation Techniques:

Dumbbell Shoulder Activation

Purpose- Activate Deltoids and Improve Shoulder Function

 

Lateral Raises                                                                x 10IMG_0418IMG_0419

Holding 5lb dumbbells, lean slightly forward, with arms slightly bent, and slowly raise the dumbbells out laterally until they are above shoulder height. Pause before slowly controlling the motion down to the start.

 

Front Raises                                                                            x 10IMG_0415IMG_0416

Holding 5lb dumbbells, stand erect and slowly raise the dumbbells in front of you until they are above shoulder height. Pause before slowly controlling the motion down to the start.

 

Reverse Flyes                                                                 x 10IMG_0413IMG_0414

Holding 5lb dumbbells, lean your torso forward and allow your arms to extend down until they are nearly touching the floor. With arms slightly bent, slowly raise the dumbbells out laterally until they are above shoulder height. Pause before slowly controlling the movement down to the start.

 

Military Press                                                                x 10IMG_0410IMG_0409

Holding 5lb dumbbells just over your shoulders externally rotate your elbows out to the sides as you press the weight overhead. While maintaining a vertical torso, try to continuously maintain a backward pull throughout the movement. Reverse the motion by lowering the weights and pulling your elbows back and down towards your hips, until the dumbbells are once again set over your shoulders.

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Shoulder Dislocations                                                    x 10

Purpose- Improve Shoulder Function and Mobility

Grasp a band, strap or light pole with a much wider than shoulder width grip. Flex your glutes, brace your core and pull your shoulder blades back and down throughout the motion. Starting in front, keep your arms fully extended as you raise them in front of you, over your head and all the way around to your glutes. Reverse the motion back around towards your hips. Try to grasp your hands as close as you can while still maintaining full extension of your arms. Only use a grip that brings a slight stretch to be felt as you rotate about the motion. If you cannot rotate around the through the full motion then only go as far as you can and pause in this position each time.

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