Sports Guide

The best warm-ups to maximise muscles

By Andre FroisEvents - 28 August 2012 12:00 AM

The best warm-ups to maximise muscles

Warm up activities are a crucial part of any exercise regime or sports training. Main photo: istockphoto. All other photos: Andre Frois

Evolve Mixed Martial Arts’ Director of Strength and Conditioning Mitch Chilson puts the unconditioned points of our musculoskeletal system into great perspective. “They’re like knots or traffic jams that prevent you from performing to your full potential and achieving the workout that you desire,” the multi-sport champion divulges. “Exercising without first attending to your problem areas is like drinking water through a tiny straw!”

The multi-sport champion shares that he developed the Fightshape class, after observing thousands of people whom he had coached and trained, to loosen and activate problem muscles before serious physical activity.

Fightshape is essentially a thorough and intense warm up that involves many exercises, but can be tailored to suit the sport or exercise that you are next performing. He talks us through a few of the Fightshape programme’s most useful steps

Use a tennis ball to loosen those muscle knots

1. Self Myofascial Release

“Back pain is a common complaint, but people often don’t realise that it often originates from the hips. A good exercise for back pain relief requires you to place a tennis ball at the top of your glute, below your hip. Sit on the ball and roll around on it a bit, as you cross that leg over the other. This helps loosen knotted muscles and is one of the most beneficial exercises to ‘switch on’ the different back muscles and alleviate chronic pains.”

“Another common source of pain is the middle of the trapezius muscle, whom many people don’t exercise or even use. The tightened muscles in this region can be soothed by rolling a tennis ball at the middle of your back, along the left and right of your spine.”

A golf ball is useful for activating muscles

“Prepare for running by rolling a golf ball under the soles of your feet. This really helps loosen up and activate the many muscles within the foot, so that you will utilise them all and have better posture when you run.”


2. Flexibility and Mobility

“Do this simple yet effective exercise: stand with your back against the wall and raise your hands up and down. You’d be surprised ― about 40 to 50 percent of class participants usually find it impossible, while others wonder, ‘this is so easy – why am I doing this?’ ”

Mitch Chilson

Step and rotate

 “I also invented this exercise I call the step-and-rotate, which targets lots of muscles along the back and legs. It’s like a yoga position, where you put one foot forward and the other behind, and rotate your torso to point up, then switching legs and repeating the position. I would advise 10 repetitions for each side.”

“Next, put one foot horizontally against a wall. Like a ballet stretch, raise your hands up vertically, then bend over to touch the floor. Do 10 repetitions for both sides too.”


“The single leg dead lift works to flex your hamstring, while strengthening your glutes. Similar to the dead lift, this leg raise taps on your upper back as well. From a standing position, stretch one leg back and both arms forward to achieve a stable ‘T’ position. Do it 10 times and repeat with the other leg.”

“The last exercise that I will show you focuses on the glutes. When a person remains seated for hours, like desk-bound workers, his or her back muscles and glutes are fully stretched out. When they stretched for too long, the brain puts them to sleep, which results in a lot of aches and ‘sleeping’ muscles. To counteract this common problem, lie on your back with your knees bent, then imagine squeezing an imaginary coin between your butt cheeks as you move your hips up and down.”


3. Activation

“The third and final portion of the Fightshape class stretches out all the muscles in the body, involving heavy equipment and several sets of medium to high intensity exercise.”


Evolve MMA Address: #01-01 Far East Square, 26 China Street Tel: 6536 4525, 6536 4830 │Opening hours: Mon–Fri 6:30am–10:30pm, Sat–Sun 9am–7pm│Also at #03-111 Pomo Mall, 1 Selegie Road; 6337 0082 or 65 6337 0037