Let’s talk warm ups!

Everyone should warm up, it’s an essential part of every training session. 

As with anything in the strength training world, extremes are present in the realm of warming up too. On one side, you have people who spend 45min foam rolling, stretching, and activating before getting under the bar and on the other, there are people who load up their working sets immediately after doing a set with an empty barbell. Neither of those two are smart approaches, both from a time-management and injury-prevention standpoint.

Warm ups should raise hear rate and core body temperature, loosen up the „tightened“ musculature, increase neuromuscular sensitivity, give an extra opportunity to drill the movement and implement cues, but also help acclimate to the weight because of step by step increasements whilst warming up.

I used to be that person that would do full-blown 30min warm up routines before barbell work. In the last couple of months, I’ve been experimenting with starting my sessions by immediately doing the main movement. 3 to 5 sets of 8 to 10 reps with an empty barbell, followed by gradual load-increases towards the working weight. Feels great, saves time and I don’t feel I lack or miss out on anything by omitting my initial warm up routine.

What I learned

Now does that mean we should completely throw away and demonize dynamic movements, mobility, „activation“ work, etc.? Of course not. Everything has its time and place if applied properly. If doing those helps a person establish a routine, set the tone and actually separate the outside life from the gym task, then that’s perfect, with couple of things in mind:

  • Keep it no longer than 10 to 15min 
  • Stay as specific as possible to the task at hand 
  • Avoid burning yourself out with the drills, remember, it’s a warm up
  • Individualize and find your own combo that gets you going

This info is mostly related to barbell and weight movements in general. When it comes to bodyweight movements, more thorough routines tend to work better.

– Rado

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