For more information on the brain and the sensory/movement connection: https://zhealtheducation.com/episode-81-sensory-before-motor/
We’re going to jump right into the warm up. Now, a good warm up should take somewhere between 3 and 7 minutes. As we do this, we’re basically going to try to warm up, or wake up, your entire body. We’re going to be working on the skin, doing some light massage, doing some big movements. We want to increase your circulation, increase your heart rate a little bit, and hopefully get you sweating just a tiny bit by the end so you’re ready to move into the rest of the workout.
Now for our warm ups, we do things a little bit differently, just like everything else at Z-Health. We’re going to do some stuff from Chinese martial arts, and this is a really, really cool warm up that has a lot of neurologic implications that we can talk about some other time. The goal here is to basically work on and wake up your entire body, so we’re actually going to start with your teeth.
I’m going to have you take 9 or 10 repetitions. I just want you to click your teeth together.
Next, we’re going to go into some face washing, basically. We’re going to start around your eyes, you’re going to use your fingers, and you want to do some light pressure. Keep your eyes closed, and you want to do 9 or 10 circles. Now you can clockwise or counterclockwise, I don’t get really picky about that.
After the eyes, we’re going to go to the whole face. So use your entire palm and do some light circles all over the skin of the face.
Next, you’re going to make some claw shapes with you fingers, you’re going to start at your scalp, and you’re going to work toward the back of your head. Basically, combing your hair, or in my case, what little you have left. Maybe 8, 9, 10 reps.
From here, we’re going to go to your ears. You’re actually going to do a little massage starting at the lobe of your ear, working up around the top, just a little bit of light circular massage. At this point, you should be getting a lot of blood flow into your face and head.
Now, I’m going to turn around, I want you to see this. You’re going to take 2 fingers, you’re going to come to these spots that often get quite sore, and we want to do some light rotations right here. Once again, 8 to 10 reps each direction.
We’re then going to go directly between those 2 spots and do the same thing. Just giving your neck a little bit of attention as you begin the warm up.
Now from here, we’re going to move to the throat. I’m going to demonstrate this first. Goal here is to mimic a swallowing action starting at the chin, moving down to the throat. Again, 8 to 10 reps.
From there, we’re going to go to our chest. Take one hand, reach across, and this is just a light rubbing motion over your pec muscles and over your front of your shoulder. We’re going to do that, and then we’re going to switch to the opposite side and do the same thing again. You can cover as little or as much ground here as you want. There’s a lot of room around the shoulder that you can work in.
From there, we’re going to move to our arms. Take your left arm, rotate it so the palm is facing up, start at your shoulder, rub down all the way to the fingertips. Make sure that you get all the way down to your fingers. A lot of people will stop at the wrist.
Once you’ve completed your reps here, turn the arm over, start at the fingers and rub back up towards the shoulder. You want to stay relaxed, especially the rubbing hand. Make sure it’s loose so that it contours to the rest of the body.
Then we’re going to do the same thing on the opposite side. Start with the palm up, start at the shoulder, rub down to the fingers. Don’t forget to breathe as you do this. Now most people, by this time, are starting to get a little bit warm.
Flip the hand over, start at the fingers, up to the shoulder. For me, every time I do this warm up, I tend to start getting a little bit of sweat going, actually, right about now. You may see me shiny on the camera.
From here, we’re going to go to our ribs. Take both hands, put them on your ribs, basically underneath your arms, and you’re going to be doing some small circles here. Try and stay nice and tall as you do this. If you have shoulder flexibility issues, you can actually reach across and do it this way too. You just want to make sure that you’re hitting both sides.
From there, we’re going to follow the shape of the ribs. Put your hands on your lower ribs, come up towards where they’re going to meet in the middle, and then down around your abdomen. It’s this big, circular motion using both hands on both sides of the abdomen.
Now, once we’re completed this, we’re going to turn and go to our back for a minute. We’re going to take and use the back of our hands, we’re going to put our knuckles around where your kidneys would be, and you’re going to do some light rotations there. If you have good shoulder flexibility, you can make that a bigger circle, reaching up nice and high. You can also go a little bit lower, down in the sacrum and tailbone region.
All right, shake out any tension that’s built up from there. We have a couple more to do, just in the abdomen. We’re going to find your navel, or umbilicus, and you’re going to come just below that and do some circles in each direction. Now this is just a small, light amount of circling. In the Chinese martial arts, they’ll tell you that you need to do about 36 repetitions in each direction. Now, I don’t, as I said, get hung up on the reps or the numbers, but you can do circles in each direction.
All right. Now once you’ve done that, we’re now ready to go to our legs. I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do, and then I’m going to show it to you. This includes a little bit of a squatting motion, and this one will get your heart rate up a little bit, it will also start to increase your internal heat a little bit. Once again, if you’re not sweating yet, you may start to after this one. The goal here is we’re going to run our hands down the back of our legs as we squat down, then we’re going to rotate our hands around the inside of the legs as we come up. Again, 8 to 10 reps, all the way down to the feet, and then back up.
Now as you’re doing this, once again, you’re trying to become more aware of your body, making sure that you can feel your legs, your upper legs, your lower legs. You might want to exhale as you go down, inhale as you come back up. You’re going to finish your repetitions, and then we’re going to go to your feet.
Now for this one, if you need to sit down you can do that. If you need to hold on, you can also do that. The goal here is to do some light massage on the bottom of the foot. From here, you’re going to focus on a little spot in the pad of the foot. I like to use my thumb, and just do a small amount of pressure. Once again, in some of the more tradition systems, they’ll say 81 circles in this spot. I don’t think you need to do that. You can feel around in the bottom of the foot for sore or tight spots, just give a little bit of light pressure as you circle.
From there, we’ll go to the opposite foot. Repeat the same thing. As I mentioned before, if you have any kind of balance problems, hold onto a chair, a stool, wall, whatever you can find. As I said, work through the bottom of the foot, making sure you find anything that feels a little bit tight.
Now from here, come back up to standing. Bounce for a second, relax, get nice and tall. Now I’m going to have you put your hands on your lower ribs, now I want you to take a couple breaths in and out. Catch your breath for just a second.
Now what we’re going to do is some arm swings. I’m going to have you widen your stance, and we’re going to let our arms move nice and in a relaxed fashion, as we rotate our upper and lower body at the same time. If you can hear this, my hands are lightly tapping both my back and my ribs. It’s just a little bit of shock. This is a really nice internal massage practice. It feels really, really good. I start almost all my own training sessions with this movement, following the warm up we just did. Depending on how tight I’m feeling, particularly through my back and my legs, I may do anywhere from 20, just 20 repetitions of this, all the way up to 2 or 3 minutes. I’m going to let you choose, as you go through, but I want you to aim for a minimum of 20 rotations.
Once you finish that up, come back to standing. Now from here, we’re going to do a little movement called a ‘cross crawl.’ You’re going to hold your hands up, you’re going to work with your right arm and your left leg. You’re going to reach across the body with your right elbow to your left knee, and then do the opposite. We’re going to shoot, again, for about 20 repetitions. The goal here is to make sure that your upper body, particularly, is crossing the mid-line as you do this little marching motion.
As you finish this, come back to standing. Again, relax, breathe out. Then we’re going to finish up the warm up by working on our eyes, briefly. I’m going to have you take your arm out to arm’s length. Keep your head still. Focus on your thumb or index finger with your eyes, and then you’re going to create some large circles. Now, as you can see, I tend to switch my hands in the middle of the circle. The goal here is 3 to 5 repetitions in each direction. If this feels awkward to switch the hands, you can just do a smaller circle, but bring the finger closer. By bringing the finger closer, you can just use one hand and you can still get a nice stretching effect for the eyes. 3 to 5 repetitions each direction.
That’s the warm up. You should be feeling pretty good, be much more aware of your whole body, including your head, your throat, your shoulders, arms, legs, feet. Everything. Breathing should be up a little bit. Heart rate should be up a little bit. This is going to get you in great shape to move on to the band work.