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A good warm up is similar to a sledgehammer. A hammer can both make things and break things, depending on how you use it. A warm up can do the same for your workout. If your warm up is done right, you can expect more gains than usual while having an EASIER training session. If your warm up is done wrong or if you skip it, things may not go so well. This post is going to be about how and why to warm up properly for your training sessions.

 

 

Why should you warmup?

 A good warm up has two task. One is to get you physically ready to train and make gains. The other side is to get yourself mentally ready.

Physically, our goal is to literally get warmer. (The person who made the term "warm up" was very creative). The reason is simple. Typically we humans perform better physically in a warm state. Try doing your max chin ups in a freezer versus room temperature. The room temperature se will probably have a better performance than a freezer. The same applies to mobility. Most of us will be more mobile when we are warm rather than cold. This is important when trying to reach full range of motion in the movements you are training. So for a few minutes of time, you can get more weight or reps in a better range of motion. Sounds like a really good recipe to make more gains.

On the mental side, as good warm up prepares us to have confidence with our weights. If your max back squat is 100 pounds and on your first set, you un-rack it and place it on your back, you're likely to get an immediate "oh crap, this is heavy" type feeling. This is due to a lack of a proper warm up. Going from zero to 100 will usually produce that feeling in most of us. And that feeling lowers your confidence. You start to question if you will finish the rep or if you will get pinned by the weight. Most people don't successfully perform a weight they feel unconfident about so we definitely want to avoid this feeling. On the contrary, if your first set is at 40 pounds, then 60, then 80, then 85 etc, by the time you get to 100, the gradual increases in weight keep your body from freaking out and sending that "oh crap" message. You un-rack 100 pounds and it doesn't feel as heavy. Your confidence will be higher and you can often perform better. This also sounds like a recipe for more gains!

 

Now that we know why to warm up, it's time to figure out HOW.

Thankfully, the how is very simple. First, look at your rep scheme. Do you have low reps or high reps to do?

If you are working low reps like 1 to 5, plan on needing more warm up sets. You want to ramp up slowly since your weight is going to be more maximal. You might start off with a set or two of eight reps to get the blood flowing and temperature rising. Then next set, you might do 4 reps with a higher weight. Then next set may be 2 with an even higher weight. Finally you might do singles to slowly ramp up to your working weight and getting to your first set. As you can see, the first warm up sets got your body physically ready with higher reps. The last few warm up sets got your mind ready and keeps the "oh crap" feeling from happening.

 

 

Remember, the closer to your max you're working and the stronger you are, the more warm up sets you need.

 

Alternatively, if you're doing higher reps, you don't need to do as many warm up sets. If you're working around 8 reps that day, then you may do a set of 8 with a light weight or resistance, then 6, then 4. Then you might start your working weight. Since the weight isn't as high with higher reps, you don't need as long of a warm up.

 

 

Now that you have the tools you need to warm up properly, you're ready to get the most of of your training. If you want to learn more about how this gets put into practice, don't hesitate to ask us about our Online Coaching and if you have a friend who needs help getting warm, please make sure to share with them as well.

 

Warm up correctly and improve your move!