The Importance Of Foreplay
“He just put it right in. I had kissed him maybe once right after he fumbled with taking my jeans off of me, and he went right for it. It was fucking awful. No foreplay. No excitement. Nothing.”
I was getting lunch with one of my friends, we’ll call her Daenerys, the other day because she had called me and said she absolutely had to tell me about this guy she had recently slept with. We’re both libidinous individuals, so sharing sexcapades tends to be a recurring theme when her and I get together.
And there I sat. Working my way through a plate of brisket, barbacoa, and carne asada tacos as she went on.
“You want to know the most frustrating part? This is something that continually happens. I meet a guy, we go on a few dates, I’m super into him, I bring him home, and the sex is seriously lacking because there’s no foreplay. Even when I direct them and tell them what I want. Nothing.”
Foreplay. The often under appreciated and misunderstood part of sex that countless women find themselves wishing would happen more, and a number of guys feign complete ignorance towards.
And while we could talk about the virtues of foreplay all day long, and why you should do more of it, that’s not exactly the point of today’s piece. Instead, we’re going to talk about a different type of foreplay, one pertaining to your workout.
You see, the parallels between working out and having sex are endless. And while I sat there enjoying my tacos, I couldn’t help but think that the plight of The Unburnt and Breaker of Chains would be a great lesson to help people not only have better sex, but train more effectively. I’m talking about the foreplay before your workout. Otherwise known as your warm-up.
Unlike sex, where engaging in foreplay is a universal given, and something that everyone agrees should be done more often, the warm-up is a bit more controversial.
There are certain camps in the fitness world that view priming the body for training as something to be taken seriously, and as such, might take 30-45 minutes all by itself.
On the other hand, you have the fitness version of teenage boys who jump straight into the lifting and forgo the option of a warm-up all-together. Opting instead to get straight to the action.
And both are wrong.
To understand why we need to know why warming up is important in the first place.
Much like foreplay serves as a chance to increase the quality of the experience, warming up well does the exact same thing. A proper warm-up allows you to:
- Increase circulation
- Raise your core body temperature
- Get your joints moving through a proper range of motion
- Prime your body for the work you’re about to do
All of these things allow you to have a higher quality lifting session, and in turn, get more out of each and every time you train. And for these exact same reasons, a proper warm-up helps with injury prevention as well.
While all of that is well and good, we more or less know that stuff already. It doesn’t change the fact that going through a warm-up is boring as fuck, and is easily the first thing you skip in a program.
And this is exactly why it helps to look at warming up like foreplay. Foreplay is all about adding to the overall experience, and increasing the experience that both you and your partner share.
Sure, there are times where it’s fun to skip all of that and get straight to business. There’s no doubt about that. And the same can be said with lifting. There are certain days you walk into the gym so fucking hype that the mere thought of waiting any longer before lifting a metric fuck ton of weight just isn’t acceptable.
These are typically days that you found yourself listening to something like Tha Carter III on the way to the gym.
But you can’t do that every time, now can you? It’s impossible to listen to Tha Carter III all the time before the gym. It loses its impact. Not only that, you’re inevitably leaving gains on the gym floor over the course of months or years of skipping a warm up.
And when it comes to actual foreplay; that just makes you an inconsiderate lover.
Point being, not paying attention to foreplay or your warm-up consistently just makes you an inconsiderate asshole and someone who is missing out on a serious opportunity to increase the quality and effectiveness of your training sessions.
But as with most things, you can pay little or too much attention to a warm-up.
So, how long should pre-lifting foreplay take?
Unlike real foreplay, there’s a real time limit that exists with warming up before a lift. 10-15 minutes. That’s it.
Unless you’re a high-level athlete who makes a living off of your body’s ability to perform, there’s no damn reason to spend so much time doing a bunch of meaningless shit. You’ve got things to do, man. Kids to feed, people to see, beer to drink.
You can’t afford to spend all of your time in the gym just getting ready to lift, and by the time you’re ready to lift, time is up.
A few years ago it became increasingly popular for people to spend plenty of time on the foam roller, then get their prehab work in, then their mobility work, then ramp up the weights with warm-up sets. And while in theory all of this stuff makes sense, in practice it doesn’t hold up.
Not everyone is fortunate enough to set aside a few hours out of each day to spend in the gym. The cold hard truth is that for most people, setting aside an hour to spend in the gym is about all they can spare.
Which means that when a warm-up eats into the majority of a given lifting session people have less time to lift, and wind up with lackluster results, because they’re not actually doing the things that stimulate the most change in the first place. Like, you know, lifting.
This scenario creates a pretty nasty catch-22. More time spent warming up eats into lifting time, which means less lifting, which means poor results, and overtime can impact motivation and the desire to train
Remember all of those reasons that a warm-up is awesome I mentioned earlier? Those can all happen in a short amount of time. Sure, there are times where rolling around on the foam roller for 30 minutes at a time may feel great, but at that point it’s no longer a warm-up. It’s just recovery work.
The warm-up exists solely to get you ready for lifting so that you can get the most out of each and every lifting session imaginable.
Want an example of some pre-lifting foreplay? Here’s my given warm-up before any lifting session:
Squat to stand with overhead reach:
(This can go by a few different names. And there are other versions of mobility moves called a yogaplex. Don’t get too caught up in semantics, just do your shit.)
I run through each movement about 4 times on each side before moving on to the next movement, after foam rolling for about 4-5 minutes, which really just gives me an extra few minutes to check and see what sort of shit people are arguing about on Facebook today.
All in all, it takes 10-12 minutes, at most. It’s quick, my heart rate is up, I’ve done movements that are bound to help my performance in my lifts, and the mobility work is done.
You’re more than welcome to steal this one from me. Hell, all of these movements are things I’ve stolen from various strength coaches who are much smarter than I am. The important thing is that you find a form of pre-lifting foreplay that works well for you, that doesn’t take up all of your time, and gets you ready to lift as effectively as possible.
Unfortunately, I can’t provide any closure to what’s happened with The Mother of Dragons’ sex life, because I haven’t been let in on any good stories since that lunch. Probably because she’s getting ready to conquer Westeros. But what I can tell you is that if you’re looking to get the most out of sex, or lifting, then you better start paying attention to foreplay.