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Thread: Warm-Ups

  1. #1
    iron addict is offline New Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005


    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 poundage’s 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 BB’ers 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 won’t 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, that’s 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 don’t. It’s from powerlifting GURU, Dave Tate verbatim. And quite frankly, it’s 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.

    Iron Addict

  2. #2
    ReX357's Avatar
    ReX357 is offline "Toughest & Best Looking Guy Around Here"
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Behind you
    Good post bro.

    Welcome aboard

  3. #3
    Blown_SC is offline Retired Vet
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    Feb 2004
    Nice post... good to see you over here bro.....

  4. #4
    Malvino is offline New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    tropical kanada
    In my workout maybe its the workout that is the problem but say for instance that im working out chest and tricep.

    I'll do one chest excercise adn warm up liek you said than do one tricep excersize warm up like you said. Than i go and do another chest excersize should i rewarm up the muscle to that same extreme? Or should i maybe get all of my chest done before i do another body part?

    IF! i should get all of one body part done before moving to a different one should i rewarm up before each excersize even if its the same body part just different motion.
    (IE. decline bench, incline bench// good mournings, deadlifts)

  5. #5
    iron addict is offline New Member
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    Mar 2005
    While there is no set in stone guidlines, yes, most lifters work one body-part until they have done all their lifts and sets before going to the next one. If working all pusjing muscles as an example, the standard is usually chest/shoulders/triceps, in that order.

    Iron Addict

  6. #6
    956Vette is offline AR-Elite Hall of Famer
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    Mar 2003
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    Thanks IA

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