Take a Minute to Prepare for your Workout
By Emily Creamer Collins
Remember to “get set” before you “GO!”
A few weeks ago I did a 5K race. At the start line, I had my usual pre-race jitters and was doing my usual pre-race routine to calm those jitters: jumping up and down, rotating my feet, taking the obligatory selfie. As the start time approached, the announcer on the loudspeaker called out “Ready…?” Everyone around me yelled and cheered. Then he called out “GO!” And everyone around me took off.
I was still standing standing there, wondering what happened to “Set?”
The phrase “Ready, set, go” is synonymous with “On you mark, get set, go!” It’s a phrase that describes a process.
On your mark, get set, go! is used to begin a competition. It was originally used in England in the 1800s to begin running races.
The word mark referred to the place on the running course where the runner would start, whether a line or a set of starting blocks. Get set is a sort of warning that the signal to start running is about to occur, though today when a runner “gets set” he usually raises his hind quarters and tenses his legs in preparation to run.
The word go, of course, means that it is time to start running.
See how getting set is the equivalent of getting prepared?
Over the past year or so, I’ve observed that very few people take time to get set in their workouts. They get ready and then they go without getting prepared. Why is that?
To explore this question, let’s look at similar phrases/processes. For example, there’s “Lights, camera, action” and there’s “Ready, aim, fire.” I want to focus on the importance of the middle step. A filmmaker would never complete a movie if she skipped camera. Similarly, a marksman would never hit the target if he skipped aim. So why, as athletes, do we expect to be successful in reaching our goals if we skip getting set?
So what do I mean by getting set for a workout? First, warm-up. Second, focus on your form.
Before your workout, take your warm-up seriously! It will prepare you for the best training session possible and it will help to keep your body healthier. A good warm-up works on range-of-motion, activation of muscles, and movement preparation. It can be done in only 10-minutes and should include exercises such as:
Child’s pose with rotation
Lunges: forward, back, side-to-side
During your workout, focus on your form! It will take just a second and will help get the most benefit from your exercise while reducing the risk of injury.
Here are some examples of check-points that people tend to skip:
Are your hands in the correct position for a push-up?
Are your elbows and hips in the correct position for a plank?
Are your shoulder blades in the correct position for a kettlebell swing?
Are your knees tracking correctly in your lunges?
Are your heels down in your squats?
Are you breathing?
Are you focusing on your movement or are you thinking about something else?
As we head into the New Year, let’s all make an effort to “get set” before we “GO!”