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Old 03-11-2005, 02:47 PM   #1
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Warm-ups

I'm now going to talk about how to do a proper warm-up. While it is very difficult to prescribe a one-size-fits-all warm-up solution for all trainees under all circumstances I'll do my best to lay out some generalized guidelines for most trainees under most conditions. Most people take warm-ups for granted that have been training for a while. I'm often taken aback by the warm-ups that some of the trainees use, or in some cases don't use. I have seen everything from the extreme of not doing warm-ups at all because of fear that it will take away from their work sets. To warm-ups that are workouts in themselves.

A proper warm-up should warm-up the muscles and joints for a particular lift, and also prime CNS to fire. It should not be so little that you are not properly warmed and exposure yourself to potential injury, but should also not be so much that it leaves you drained for your work sets. As a trainer I'm often asked how should I warm-up? Man that is a big question and of course is determined by the particular lift being done, the amount of weight being used, and any joint or muscular limitations.

In general older trainees such as myself need a few more warm-up sets, and need to be extra cautious before going all out. But the more I train people, the more I realize that young people also need to be extra cautious and ensure they are properly warmed up before going all out. Because the way joints get abused is usually in the trainees younger earlier days when they feel invincible and that they can get away with anything-- they can't, it merely feels that way. Often times damage is being done and they are totally unaware of it. More often than not joint injuries are not the result of something going pop, but are the result of cumulative damage done over time.

As you warm-up, fluid is pumped between the joints and the disks, providing lubricty that would not be there otherwise. It is also important to gradually warm up to slowly prime the CNS to fire as strongly as possible. Doing some light calisthenics or jogging and then hitting heavy weights without slowly warming up to your heavy work sets, will not adequately prime CNS to fire optimally.

When someone askes me, how should I warm-up? I often chuckle. Warm up for what? A 405 pound squat, or 105 pound barbell curl? Big difference here! It should be obvious that the barbell squat will take many more lifts, and start at higher warm-up poundageís then the barbell curl. And it also matters what sequence the lifts are done in. Doing barbell curls after your heavy back work may require one set or in some cases for some trainees, none at all. While barbell squats done as the first exercise of the day will require a thorough warm-up of all the musculature involved.

Many bodybuilders do far too many reps for their warm-up sets, if you look at powerlifting you will see that they start out with lower weights, higher repetition sets, and then as the way climbs the repetitions decrease, usually to singles or doubles before the work sets even if they are repetition sets. This is an optimal way to warm-up for both bodybuilders and power lifters.

The best way to get ready to go and hit the heavy weights is my first doing a light five to 10 minute overall body warm up, An elliptical machine or light calisthenics, are probably optimal, but five to 10 minutes on the treadmill or just a brisk walk can do also. Okay, now your body as a unit is warmed up now it's hit the weights!

If you're routine is structured optimally you will not be starting with any light isolation type work, but a good option for many people, unless its squat or deadlift day that requires heavy use of abs, is doing your ab work the first to get the routine started. If you're not scheduled to do abs that day start with your compound lifts. Probably the best way to show you is to just give some examples. So here goes:

If you are benching or rowing or doing pulldowns with 205 x 5 a good warm-up would be:

Bar x 12
85 x 6
115 x 5
145 x 3
165 x 1
185 x 1
205 x 5 workset

MOST BBíers do something like:
85 x 12
135 x 8
185 x 5
200 x 5

And while that format may save you some time, it wonít warm you up any better, and will detract more from your work sets.

Some of you may be laughing at including a set with only the bar. Guess what? Most 600 lb benchers start with the bar, and their slow deliberate warm-ups are part of the reason they have reached the big numbers with minimal injuries.

A 90 lb barbell curl or laying tricep extension might be only one set with 65 lbs or so if they are being done after heavy back work or benching, or might be:

35 x 10
55 x 5
75 x 3
90 x 10

If it was being done first in the routine.

Here is a warm-up for a 425 lb squat or bench press:

45 x 5 x 2
95 x 3 x 2
135 x 3
185 x 3
225 x 3
275 x 1
315 x 1
365 x 1
425 x 1

WOW, thatís 10 warm-up sets, that will take forever!! Well, not really, if they are done 1.5 minutes apart it takes 15 minutes to get there. And if you want to argue with me about this, please donít. Itís from powerlifting GURU, Dave Tate verbatim. And quite frankly, itís an AWESOME way to get there, and way better than a normal approach of:

135 x 10
225 x 8
315 x 5
365 x 5

That most lifters use. When I switch advanced lifter that were using a warm-up like that one over to one similar to Dave Tates warm-up suggestion, they often hit a 25 to 30 lb PR the FIRST session!!

A 315 bench or row would look like:

45 x 5 x 2
95 x 3 x 2
135 x 3
185 x 3
225 x 3
275 x 1
315 x 1

And yes, you can use the same basic format for a 150 x 8 bench, row, or pull-down:

45 x 5 x 2
95 x 3
115 x 2
135 x 1
150 x 8

Please understand that none of these guidelines are set in stone. They are just generalizations and should give you a reasonably good idea of how to structure your warm-up sets for a safe productive work-out. The lower the weight the higher the reps, the higher the weight the lower the reps until you're at your working poundage for the day.

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Old 03-24-2005, 01:39 PM   #2
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I thought you said no 50 lb jumps though when you get close to your work set. 365 to 425 is a huge jump.
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Old 03-24-2005, 01:55 PM   #3
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365 is not a work-set, 425 is. What I was reffering to in our conversation is that if 425 went up but was tough, you damn sure shouln't be putting 465 on the bar for your next attempt.

IA
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Old 04-02-2005, 02:38 PM   #4
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Holy crap. That's a lot of warmup. I guess all of the men's health mags etc that suggest 1 warmup set are way off? That's way more warmup than what I currently do.
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Old 04-02-2005, 04:47 PM   #5
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Yes, you can do 1 set if you use "Mens Heath" weights. If you are moving real iron you will warm-up correctly, or have a short training career--THAT SIMPLE!

IA
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Old 04-17-2005, 12:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iron addict
Yes, you can do 1 set if you use "Mens Heath" weights. If you are moving real iron you will warm-up correctly, or have a short training career--THAT SIMPLE!

IA
Men's health weights. LOL

I've taken to doing warm-ups how IA says, and guess what? On DC training it makes setting PRs A LOT easier, and you have A LOT more energy when it comes time for the one working set.
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:40 PM   #7
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I can't remember an article that I have got more positive feedback on that the warm-up article. I have had a TON of PM's and emails from trainees telling me they tried it and hit PR's the first time and just keep hitting them easier because they are warming-up properly.

IA
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Albert Einstein
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Old 04-21-2005, 10:56 PM   #8
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This is great....I now spend the "majority" of my workouts (per bodypart) warming up.

O/T: Hey IA, I'm still making slow progress on bench, but my front delts have this permanent sore feeling in them. It's deep and tight. Could I be in denial of overtraining?

edit: maybe not slow progress...

Last edited by kwyckemynd00; 04-21-2005 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 04-21-2005, 11:54 PM   #9
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warming up like this makes the lifting a LOT less hit and miss... im lazy so somtimes I make 100lb jumps and that shit usually leads to sloppy reps.

a strongman i train with sometimes warms up for like 30 mins before doing 1 set of 3 reps. Thats his workout.
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Old 05-21-2005, 05:18 PM   #10
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Tried this yesterday after a heavy day of SLDLing the week before, previous week I put up 275x3 on SLDL with the last rep a massive struggle. For warmup for the 275x3 I did barx10, 135x10, 225x5, 250x3, then 275. This was of course before I had read this article.

Today I did SLDL and my goal for the workout was 285x3 and I wasn't even sure I could pull that off. Did something like this article recommends.

barx10, 135x5, 185x1, 225x1, 245x1, 275x1 (had to see how I felt), then put 285 on the bar. I get under it and it goes up easy. I'm like damn. I then proceed to get 4 reps instead of my goal three. So somehow I added 10 lbs and 1 rep from my previous week, either I recovered extremely well or that warmup helped.

I intend to warmup like this from now on, I didn't feel fatigued or anything, felt extremely strong under the bar acctually.
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