I currently teach Boxercise classes with a pulse raiser warm up at the beginning of the session and then some joint mobility circular movements. I had a Pilates instructor suggest I do joint mobility before the warm up as it could be dangerous. Does the order of exercises really matter?
It is difficult to answer this question as accurately as I would like without first knowing your definition of a “pulse raiser warm up” and “joint mobility” exercises and more specifically which ones are you teaching.
Without knowing more details, I am going to assume you are executing pulse raising exercises in order to raise your clients’ heart rates and core temperature. I will also assume the joint mobility exercises are performed in an effort to bring the clients’ muscles through a range of motion in order to prepare them for the exercises being performed later in the class.
I believe you’re asking which of these two segments should go first, the warm up or the joint mobility. While it is important to consider how to arrange your class format, it is more important to choose appropriate exercises for the specific class being taught and the participants. You should know your clients’ limitations, and your warm up segment should include exercises that offer a true biomechanical and functional purpose.
A common misconception among many instructors is that you must perform a warm up before stretching exercises. However, a pre-workout stretch is done for the benefit of correcting and offsetting muscle imbalances and not necessarily for flexibility purposes. Your body does not need to be warmed up before these stretches are done. Therefore, it is perfectly safe to stretch prior to a warm up.
A warm up should always follow the same principles: address the muscle imbalance with stretching and prepare the joints for movement with dynamic exercises.
It may be that the Pilates instructor was addressing the issue of correcting muscle imbalances to avoid potential injuries before performing a warm up with dynamic exercises.
Because class sizes can vary and members may come and go, you may not know which imbalances your clients have. Therefore, it is wise to address the primary movers for Boxercise. Key muscles that should be stretched for the upper body may include the latissimus dorsi, pectoralis major and minor and the sternocleidomastoid. For the lower body, the hip flexors, quadriceps, gluteus maximus and medius, psoas, IT band and the calves should be stretched as well. Following these stretches, your format should include dynamic movements similar to the dynamic exercises you will be doing later in the class but with less intensity. These low intensity exercises should prepare the body for what is to come.