EDITOR’S NOTE: Today’s post is from my good buddy, Shawn Charlebois, SFG, from Barrie, Ontario.  I had the pleasure of meeting Shawn and being one of his instructors at the recent SFG Level I in Toronto.  Shawn was one of only 2 candidates that we asked to come back and assist at a future certification.  An honor in and of itself.  Today, he’ll talk to you about a unique and useful warm-up technique he uses with his clients.

In the Health & Fitness world, strength training has made a considerable priority shift. One might say it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves.

There is undeniable value in strength training.

It is becoming widely accepted among health care professionals – muscular strength is the most important component of fitness one should focus on during exercise.

If our bodies were meant to move, then we better be stable and strong while doing so. Everybody from serious athletes, individuals wanting to lose fat and post rehab patients can benefit greatly by practicing some form of strength training.

As far as justifying the importance of strength training any further, I will save that for another article. I will however share with you a highly effective method of “warming up” prior to a training session. I use this strategy with all my clients. It works so well that drastic improvements are made within weeks. Whether a client is just beginning, very athletic or rehabbing from an injury, the concept stays the same. A trainers dream!

Before I get into the details around my “warm up” strategy and it’s proven potency, I must stress the importance of performing joint mobility drills consistently. This is the single best piece of advice I can possible give. Practice joint mobility drills everyday – no excuses!

During a training session, once mobilized, I have my clients perform 3 strength patterns consecutively (the appropriate variation of a (push up, pull up and squat). That’s it? What’s the big deal right? Let me shine a little light on down…

First off I’ll explain what I mean by “appropriate variation”.

The strength pattern must be challenging yet achievable.

The trainee must execute the movement with perfect technique. In addition to this, the eccentric phase of each repetition will take a minimum of 5 sec. This will increase total time under tension and jack up your heart rate like nothing else. Don’t believe me? Get up right now and perform 5 strict push ups taking 10 sec to descend all while concentrating on total body tension – Muscle Unity is what I call this.  CONTRACT your muscles.

Is your heart rate elevated? Damn right it is. If you can think of a prime mover that wasn’t hit, let me know.

Keep in mind, my warm up calls for pulls and squats also – you’re welcome.

My warm up answers the following question. How can I maximize my potential through my efforts?

It’s all about learning…Motor Learning to be exact!

I’ve learned what works significantly well for me and my clients – (NSET) Nervous System Efficiency Training. This is why I insist on warming up in this fashion.

Clients get real strength practice at the beginning of the session while they’re still fresh. It improves focus and body awareness, coordination when controlling the eccentric phase, and, believe me, there is an unmatched cardiovascular element to this “warm up”.

Clients get real strength practice at the beginning of the session while they’re still fresh. It improves focus and body awareness, coordination when controlling the eccentric phase, and, believe me, there is an unmatched cardiovascular element to this “warm up”.

Did I forget to mention it’s always performed for 3 rounds resting 1 min in between?

NSET is so potent, it’s not uncommon for me to say the following “worse case scenario, you did great”.

I strongly recommend this type of warm up be done with a suspension trainer or bodyweight only. The following is a sample warm up from one of my clients Shelly – keep in mind she didn’t start at this level. We always start with joint mobility drills:

TRX Straight Leg Pike Push Up 5-8
TRX Inverted Row w Elevated Legs 5-8
TRX Single Leg Squat (one arm) 3 EA

Performed for 3 rounds resting 1 min in between. Following this, we move on to the workout!

I will close by saying this – if you want to significantly improve functional strength, then NEST is a sure fire method.

Every training session literally begins with practicing strength! If all else fails, the warm up remains a success! The key is, once the strength pattern becomes less difficult, the intensity must increase. The 3 factors are:

REPS (5-8) LOW

Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier!


Shawn Charlebois, SFG – My goal is to make you move, feel and look better. I’ve trained pro athletes; middle- aged housewives and everybody in between. I own and operate a 24/7 semi private gym. I also offer my clients professional personal training through the Integrity Strength & Conditioning Studio. I believe in keeping it simple “the courage to do less” and always train smart. It’s about building the body not destroying it. I hold a Specialist in Strength & Conditioning Certification through the ISSA, my Diploma in Health & Fitness and the coveted SFG level I. My athletic background is Goju-Ryu Karate, Boxing and Track & Field! I am a quiet professional. The way I carry my strength Matters! I’ve been training all my life.
CONATACT INFO –  or 705 817 4545

1 Comment

  • Reply January 21, 2014

    John Zion

    Great advice, warming up is something I know I need to do, but often neglect. I don’t have a TRX machine, I am currently working out at home. Just me, my Kettlebells, and a over the door chin up bar. Any suggestions for the mobility drills at home?

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