We learned in a previous post about how to do a good warm up for weighted movements. But what about when the workout is going to be bodyweight based?


Things like planches, front levers, one arm chin-ups, handstand pushup and muscle ups are becoming goals for more and more people these days. Everyone wants to get to training with their body weight. It's fun, it let's you move your own bodyweight around with amazing strength, it transfers over to weighted work and athletic and movement endeavors. Because of this, it's important that we also learn how to warm up so we have great bodyweight training sessions as well!

Well just like weighted workouts, bodyweight training requires a good warmup. The warmup primes the body to be warm and ready which allows for optimal performance. A warmer body will typically performs better than a cold one.

Just like in the weighted post, try your max warm versus in a freezer and the difference will be noticeable. In addition, the warm up gets the central nervous system primed to let your body move and perform. Just like if you un-rack a weight you aren't warmed up for and you feel that "crap this is heavy" feeling, the same thing can happen when you do certain bodyweight movements without a good warm up. Avoiding that is important for bodyweight training gains as well.

The big difference between weights and bodyweight is that weights are easier to progress than bodyweight. When doing a weighted movement like a squat, we simply just add more weight as we warm up. With bodyweight, we have to be a bit more creative.

To do that, we need an understanding of basic bodyweight progressions. From there, we just do things similarly to how we do them with weighted movements. We start with an easier movement for a few high rep sets to get warm without fatiguing ourselves, then we move toward our work set with more difficult movements for lower reps until we reach our goal.

For example, if our goal is to do sets of pull-ups for three reps, then we can start with a set of eight rows, which are easier than pull-ups. Then we move to a set of 2-3 chin-ups with our hands facing toward our body. These are a bit easier than pull-ups and will allow us to get our central nervous system ready to perform. After that, we are ready to start performing pullups.

A pushing example might be us working on dips on rings. What we can do here is work on a high rep set of pushups to get warmed up physically. Next, we could do a set of ring pushups to further prime our body. Then we can do a lower rep set of sips on a bar to get our CNS primed and ready. From there we can move to ring dips safely and ready to perform!


As you can see, it's still very possible to get a good warm up in with bodyweight movements. At the beginning, it requires a little creativity but as you get better and better, it's easier to do. Learn the skill of a proper warm up as early as you can, however, so you can utilize it as soon as possible to ensure your gains from each session are the best they can be!