Adam Friedman Advanced Athletics Stretch

activations: your must-do pre-activity ritual, part 2

In General by Adam Friedman

It’s sad but true. I’ve seen too many examples of top athletes who suffer career devastating injuries. I’ve also seen as many examples of high achievers, like you, getting sidelined for the same reason.

Don’t fall victim to what you can avoid.

I want you to get that the risk and severity of potential injury is within your control.

It comes down to straightforward preparation, to taking care of your body on a DAILY basis.

And I’m on a mission to get you to own this part of being an athlete.

Last week, I highlighted the value of rolling, and doing corrective and dynamic stretching.

The next responsible action you can take is ACTIVATION. These are exercises that serve as a light switch to higher function. Activations turn on pathways for the right muscles to work at the right time in your movements.

Unfortunately, optimal muscle recruitment patterns are not automatic for many athletes. This is because of all the compensations that the athletic body picks up over time from things such as:

  • Poor posture
  • Repetitive movements of the sport
  • Micro injuries that go left untreated
  • Areas of the body that are lacking enough mobility and stability for an activity

Activations not only help prevent injury, they enhance athletic performance and longevity

There are common primary muscles, such as your glutes and lower abdominals, that often underperform in movements such as:

  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Jumping
  • Throwing
  • Running

This means that there are other muscles that have to pick up the slack, which is where the trouble begins. These compensations creep into your performance and cost you results.

So adding in a few activation exercises before you train or compete is your insurance plan to get it right. They allow you to produce more with less energy, outlast your opponent, and keep from getting hurt.

Here’s a list of muscle groups and corresponding exercises that are slam dunk for better engagement patterns:

Muscles Exercises
Gluteus medius and gluteus maximus Supine Bridge and Clam Shells
Lower abdominals Planks
Latissimus dorsi Short Stop Drill
Rotator cuff muscles Waiter’s Walk


I make sure to include activations such as these in all my programs for my athletes.

And the dynamic warmups in the 30-Day Get Lean Challenge will for sure provide that light switch.

Don’t let flawed muscle engagement patterns make you weaker and your body more vulnerable to injury.

Get yours here.

Your coach,