So, you’re ready to finally do some training.
You put on your shoes, tie back your gnarly dew rag, and it’s time to chalk up and bench press, right?
If there’s one thing that has a direct impact on your performance (just as much as your rep/set scheme) it’s the warm up before your workout.
I’m actually surprised at how many sites recommend a long routine that covers all your joints and muscles.
For example, The Every Warm-up Exercise Routine Extravaganza.
…but I have a different view that not only saves times but is much more effective at getting you ready for your lifts.
So You Think Warming Up Doesn’t Matter?
If you thought that you were just going to put up 300 lbs without ever doing a single stretch or rotation, well…
Welcome to Snap City. Population: You.
The single, most important, and easiest way to prevent injury before lifting is to do a short warm-up routine before you unrack your weights.
Also, you’ll greatly improve your range of motion and flexibility.
I hear women like that.
I mean, it doesn’t have to be long or anything, but you do need to stretch before workout fever sets in.
Really, I understand.
The last thing you want to do is make your 60+ minute session any longer.
You got pop tarts and Daredevil waiting for you at home!
On the Other Hand, Yes You CAN Warm Up Too Much
Another lifting argument says you have to do like… a crap-ton of warming up to actually perform well.
Well, that’s a load of shit too.
You’ll find a ton of very excessive warm up routines that try to make you looser than your best friend’s girlfriend.
…and these routines might last 10-15 minutes?!
[ain’t nobody got time for that]
The problem is none of that might have anything to do with the day’s workout.
Research shows that doing a warm up before your workout specifically for what you’re actually going to do in the gym is much more effective.
So, don’t go in the gym stretching out your calves, quads, hips, upper back, lower back, chest, shoulders, neck, etc.
Think about what you’re going to do… and stretch that.
If you’re doing overhead presses, hit the shoulders.
If you’re going to do deadlifts, get those quads.
Dynamic Stretching is Better than Static Stretching?
I’m actually guilty of this, but I do static stretching before each of my workouts.
The problem is there’s a bunch of research showing that dynamic stretching is not only more effective at limbering you up for you session, but static stretching can actually be worse for your performance.
Granted, the studies were done on athletes who were doing some sort of running-oriented activity.
However, I’ve heard anecdotal evidence going either way.
The Lazy Way to Warm-up
With all that being said, the lazy and effective way to actually warm-up before your workout could look something like this
- 5-10 minutes of low impact cardio
- 5 minutes of dynamic (or static) stretching specific to your lifts
Unless you have a specific injury you’re trying to improve, there’s no need to do much more.
For example, I was having trouble with my knees that actually required me to go to a sport’s physician to fix.
Long story short, I now do the hurdler’s stretch and quad stretches before every session because he told me to.
Now, I’m squatting up a storm and it’s all because I do warm-up exercises before my workout.
If You Have Problems with Your Shoulders and Knees… You’re Not Alone
Two of the most common problem areas when it comes to weight lifting are shoulders and knees.
…and it makes sense.
Most of us sit on our asses all day in school or a cubicle and all that lack of movement makes as tight and useless in the power rack.
Well here are a couple short warm up examples you can look to.
First, here’s a shoulder warm up:
Now, here’s a knee warm up (squat specific):
What’s Your Gym Warm Up?
Leave a comment and tell me what the warm up before your workout looks like.
Do you think you’re doing enough, too much, or you’re one session away from injuring yourself?
Just kidding, but seriously, do your warm-ups.
To your gains,
P.S. Warming up before your workout is more important than you actually think. Leave a comment below and tell me what you currently do to warm up.
And don’t worry about the “best warm up exercises”. The ones that loosen you up are the best.