The purpose of warming up is to prepare yourself for heavy lifting mentally and physically. To tell you the truth, the need for a warm-up is more mental than physical. This post explains how to warm-up properly for maximum strength.
1.Don’t over warm-up
You don’t want to waste strength during your warm-up sets. After all, you didn’t come to the gym just to warm-up. Yet there are many people who run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, then do joint rotations for 10 more minutes, and finish it all with 20 warm-up sets. Before you know it, it’s already time to close the gym.
The following sequence is a good way to warm-up for heavy lifting:
1. ride a bike for 3-5 minutes
2. perform joint rotations
3. warm-up sets
The purpose of the bike ride is to kindly inform the body and the mind that some physical activity will finally follow after 15 hours of Starcraft 2 and BattleField 4.
The joint rotations are there to lubricate the joints and “adjust” them. If you have cracking joints, this is the time to crack them. You don’t want them cracking during your sets.
Finally, you have to perform sets with the bar in order to prepare the body for the exact movement you’ll be doing. You must treat the bar as a heavy weight. The goal is to make your mind and body accustomed to doing everything right. If your light sets are done perfectly, the big sets will follow.
Once you’ve done a couple of sets with the bar, it’s time to start adding weight.
Let’s say that you are going to squat with 225lbs x 6-8 as your top set. A hypothetical warm would look like this:
2-3 sets of 10 with the bar
1 set of 6-8 with 95lbs
1 set of 5 with 135lbs
1 set of 3 with 165lbs
1 set of 2 with 185lbs
1 set of 2 with 200lbs
Note: The purpose of those warm-up sets is to practice technique and assess how you feel on that particular day. You don’t want to accumulate excessive fatigue.
2.Keep the blood flowing
After a heavy set, you can sit for a while, but eventually, you will have to start moving again to keep the body warm.
You could also mimic the movement with bodyweight exercises. For example, in between squat sets, you can do a couple of bodyweight squats here and there to keep the system “lubricated”.
Remember: Don’t get cold.
3.The further you’re in your workout, the less warming-up you need
If you start your leg day with squats, and the next exercise is the leg press, you don’t need to warm-up as much. Keep the warm-up sets to a minimum. No need to over warm-up what’s already hot.
4. Warming up for specific exercises
Different exercises require different approaches. For example, if you’re about to do a hardcore pull-up session, you can hang for a while to stretch the lats and prepare them for what’s about to follow. This adds specificity to your warm-up.
Would you believe me if I tell you that there are guys who have squatted 200kg/440lbs cold? It may surprise some of you, but having the ability to exert a significant effort without a warm-up is somewhat natural.
Why? In nature, there is no such thing as warming-up. When was the last time you saw a zebra warm-up before going down a hill?
Up to a certain level of strength, everything can be done without a warm-up. However, as your strength goes up so does the need to warm-up. For instance, there is absolutely no point in proving that you can deadlift 500lbs without a warm-up, although it’s physically possible. You’re not in the jungle and taking a little bit of time to prepare yourself will not cost you anything.
6. Warm-ups do not make you unbreakable
Warming up is preparation. When you are prepared for something, you’re are more likely to do it right and avoid bad steps. However, even if your warm-up is perfect, you can still get hurt.