Although warming up can be a pain in the ass, it is important.
Especially in the world of calisthenics, handstands and acrobatics can a well-planned upper body warm-up saves you some injuries.
I created this warm-up as a part of my calisthenics for beginner series, in which you get a complete program for your use. I also posted a lower body warmup which can be found here. Use them as you like.
This workout evolved over the years of my practice and is by any means perfect, nor the final solution to every warm-up.1
Fortunately, over the years my mind changed on that and I discovered many benefits of warming up thoroughly. I wanna share these with you!
Why should I invest that much time into a warm-up?
Something like that could sound the question in your mind as you read.
A long time I didn’t care that much about warming up – the first time I really dove into that topic was when I kinda injured my wrist for the first time practicing crows and cranes.
My point behind this story is – learn from my mistakes.2 I don’t know if this injury could be avoided but at least there is the chance it could be.
Before every calisthenics session, warm-up properly. With properly I mean – preparing yourself for the upcoming activities. There is not much sense warming up your wrists before squatting heavy.
The sole goal of a warmup is to prepare your body – to bring your heart rate up, bring blood into your tissues, and to let your mind turn inwards.
If the exercises you do, don’t manage to do so, throw them out radically. One great example here would be long static holds. Why do so many stretch this way before their workouts? I can’t answer that.3
- Great exercises would be cardio, light dynamic mobility work, warming up stabilizing muscles, or doing the exercise you wanna train, just scaled down.
After that, you should be there. You should be in your body and not only be warm but also feel more in control of what’s going on inside of you. Let’s see how you manage to do that!
Calisthenics upper body warm-up
As mentioned above – it isn’t the only warmup there is which makes sense. Quite contrary there is much great stuff out there!
But I’ve seen this content didn’t get through to anyone who needs it.
The art of warming up is to find a repertoire of exercises that fit your needs.
And here I see my job – giving you the tools you need and a bit of help to set up a great warm-up prior to your calisthenics session. Feel free to swap exercises out and incorporate your favorites. 🙂
The actual warm-up routine
- Cardio (5 Minutes):
My favorites are rowing, skipping* or running but feel free to do what you are up to!
- Breathing (1 Minute)
Before thinking of moving just sit down relax and breathe.
Focus on your body and turn inward. Sit down for 10-20 breaths like that.
- CAR’s (5r):
Do 5 controlled circles with your Elbows, Shoulders, Wrists, and Spine. In nerd, this is called CARs.
- Wrists (15r):
I did the routine by GMB for a long time. It is a great routine to get your wrists ready to bear some load.
Do every exercise demonstrated for 10-20r depending on how long your wrists need that day to be ready.
- Scapular Pushups (10r)
A great exercise to really feel the positioning of your shoulder blades. Should look like in this video by Marcus Filly.
- Tubes (8-12r):
- Banded Pullaparts
Who doesn’t know them? They are a staple of many upper body warm-ups, not only in calisthenics.
- Tube External + Internal Rotation
Another classic. Don’t let your arms flare out when performing them.
Pro tip: Put a towel between your body and your arm. If it falls down you are doing it wrong.
- Tube Facepulls to Overheadpress
I am in love with this movement.
Perform a facepull followed by an overhead press in the end.
After 12 reps your whole midback should be on fire and ready to roll.
- Tube Vangelder
No worries – not the real ones. 4Resemble that movement and do a press starting in a back lever position going to a planche position. Keep the elbows straight at all times and control the movement with your shoulder blades.
- Tube Scapular Retraction
As previously, just turned around. Turn around yourself and perform the same movement pulling the tube from a planche shape backward into a back lever position.
Try to really squeeze your shoulder blades together.
- Yuri Marmerstein’s Band Exercise
This exercise by Yuri Marmerstein is really simple, but genius.
- Banded Pullaparts
Warm-up finished – what now?
When first done, this warm-up might seem endless. But with repetition comes routine.
I don’t need longer than 15-20 minutes when performing it.
After finishing, it – you should feel warm, limber, and pumped up – ready for action! Which exercise comes first in your upcoming workout?
Perform 1-2 warm-up sets of this particular exercise to get the movement primed and then kick ass!
There is not much more to say to that! If you have any questions regarding this routine or whatever write me a comment.
I would love to hear your opinion on it and what your favorite warm-up exercises are!
Have fun training :-),
- Spoiler: There is no such thing. Many warm-ups are great! And the greatest is the one you do, no matter what.
- And yours of course.
- For some instances stretching statically might be useful before working out – if you train compression exercises or lacking mobility – but in most cases, it makes no sense to do so.
- Real are also named Swallow to Planche with straight arms.