Out in the cold

Currently a lot of exercising is taking inside Industrial buildings or even garage’s, these places quite often have no heating.

I recently coached at a “Lifting Session” which was -6°c, now at this temperature you will have trouble finding anything warm. The bars will be extremely cold to touch and feeling warm would be of great importance.

Now lets add to that problem by taking note that “Classes” are booked at hour long intervals, two to four sessions running concurrently.

Quite often fully booked or even over subscribed in some cases. There are some big units, but a lot are quite small for the large amount of space needed for Barbell work.

With space being limited the transition of attendees between classes needs to be short. This results in people turning up five minutes before the class, a lot of them with mobility issues, but all of them missing out on “Warm Up” time. A few sensible ones will come in and get on a rower, a lot don’t. That said there are not enough rowers in the facility to cater for a whole class anyway.

If your mobilisation involves only stretching, there’s an issue, stretching a muscle when cold does not increase flexibility and can also damage them. The muscles need to be warmed even before any stretching takes place, gentle force applied once warm.

So at the current temperatures it is obvious that “Stretching” is quite a problem.

With the environmental and class structure problems cited, what can be done to avoid damaging muscles that are already probably restricted in function.

  • External heat source. These, can be in the form of “Heat Packs” or even “Ultrasound”, I’m sure Ultrasound is more expensive that a heat pack. So concentrate more on the heat pack.

  • Ten minutes of easy/moderate walking, or jogging if you cannot get in the facility. Only a little wind chill to cope with.

  • It is not only the rower you can use if inside the facility, you could do some skipping, or use the Weightlifters favoured warm up by using the barbell itself. A number of sets totaling ten minutes or more work, using squat, deadlifting and pressing movement. The idea is to be flush in the face perspiring or roundabout, this is a decent indicator of warm muscles.

  • If you are pushed for time as we quite often are, with kids and work. Cheat by putting your jacket on in the car and turn the heat up. Not as odd as it sounds. It’s also Weightlifters often use this to shed the extra kilo before weigh in. It is not the ideal, but I think would be less punishing than just walking in and lifting relatively cold.

  • Your “Warm-up/Stretch” routine should be around thirty minutes.

To surmise, you must do what you can to protect and preserve the body in such harsh temperatures. It is unlikely that the facility timings would become more agreeable, as there just isn’t space and staff to accommodate. Do what ever you can.


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