How to do a Proper Warm Up

It is critical to warm up before lifting weights. Most people do not warm up sufficiently, while some people go overboard and overtire themselves before the actual workout. In both scenarios, workout performance will be jeopardized. Follow the guide below to learn how to do a proper warmup and greatly increase the effectiveness of your workout!

Why should you warm up?
1. Warm your muscles
“Warmer” muscles are less susceptible to injury because they are more pliable. Warmer muscles also perform better than colder ones (e.g. able to lift heavier weighs, more endurance, etc).

2. Warms and lubricates your joints
Your joints will be less susceptible to injury.

3. Gauge the appropriate range of motion
Warmup reps will help you gauge and establish the optimal range of motion before you go on to use the actual weight. For example, if you are performing Dumbbell Flyes, you do not want to over-extend your arms and risk injuring your pecs.

4. “Groove” movement patterns
You should always perform some light warmup reps when performing a complex exercise like the Squat. The lighter load helps with motor learning of the exercise and grooves/reinforces the correct movement.

5. “Warms up” your heart
Warming up pumps your heart rate to a workable rate for weightlifting.

6. “Warms up” your nervous system
Warming up prepares your nervous system for weightlifting by strengthening strength-related neural networks. In other words, your brain is better prepared to handle heavier weights!

The Warmup Routine
1. Cardio
2. Dynamic Stretching
3. Static Stretching
4. Warmup Sets

1. Cardio
You should perform some light cardio activity for about 5 to 10 minutes before weightlifting. The most common and easiest method is to jog on the treadmill. Of course, you may also perform any other type of aerobic activity (stationary cycling, rowing, StairMaster, etc). Cardio activity is simply to raise your body temperature. Therefore, you should stop once you break a light sweat and feel that your body is warmed up. Do not overtire yourself!

2. Dynamic Stretching
Dynamic stretching involves taking your body through ranges of motion for a number of repetitions. Dynamic stretching pumps plenty of blood into your muscles and is a wonderful way to fully warm and stretch your muscles. You should perform dynamic stretches at a controlled speed. Also, you should not over-exaggerate the movements because that might cause injury. Below is the list of dynamic stretches you should perform (in order) before every workout:

Neck Rotation (clockwise and anti-clockwise)
8 reps each direction

Shoulder Circles
10 reps

Arm Swings (foward and backward)
10 reps each direction

Side Bends (left and right)
10 reps each direction

Hip Circles (clockwise and anti-clockwise)
10 reps each direction

Leg Swings
10 reps

10 reps per leg

Ankle Bounce
10 reps

3. Static Stretching
Static stretching is where a person stretches a muscle beyond its normal limits and holds the stretch between a few seconds to a few minutes. This is what “stretching” means to most people.

Dynamic stretches are more effective for warmups than static stretches! In this study, it was found that dynamic stretching is more effective at reducing stiffness than static stretching. Other studies have also found that static stretching may actually impair strength/performance during the actual workout.

However, static stretching is NOT always bad! It is necessary to stretch overly-tight muscles before your workout to prevent injury. For example, the hamstring is a muscle that tends to be tight, and it is good to perform some static hamstring stretches before you do the Squat or Leg Curl.

So how should you stretch exactly? Here’s the answer: Dynamic stretching should form the bulk of your stretching regime, but static stretching should be done if you want to loosen any inflexible/tight muscles.

4. Warmup Sets
After performing cardio activity and stretching, you should always go through a few warmup sets. These sets will prepare your muscles for the actual work sets and groove movement patterns. Your workout performance will also GREATLY increase. Trust me on this! Below is how you should perform your warmup sets:

1st warmup set
50% of actual workload
5 to 8 reps
Rest 60 seconds

2nd warmup set
75% of actual workload
3 to 5 reps
Rest 60 seconds

3rd warmup set
90% of actual workload
1 to 3 reps
Rest 60 seconds

4th warmup set (if required)
100% of actual workload
1 rep
Rest 90 seconds and proceed to actual work sets.

You do NOT need to perform warmup sets for every single exercise. You just need to do the warmup sets once for each particular muscle group. For example, if you have warmed up for the Bench Press, you do not need to perform any more warmup sets before doing Dumbbell Flyes. However, if you wish to groove and reinforce the correct movement, you can still perform some warmup reps. Hence, using the earlier example of Bench Press/ Dumbbell Flyes, you may do 1 warmup set (50% load) of DB Flyes before going to the actual workload.

You may feel that it is time-consuming and tedious to go through so many warmup sets. However, these warmup sets will increase your performance, and you will feel much better and stronger when doing the actual work sets. You will also see better results in the long term. Try it and you will see what I mean.

And there you have it! The complete warmup routine:
1. Cardio
2. Dynamic Stretching
3. Static Stretching
4. Warmup Sets

Remember: you should always warm up before your actual workout to optimize your performance and prevent injury!

This article is part of a completely FREE and FANTASTIC workout guide to teach YOU how to gain muscles and lose fat. See below:

The Ultimate Guide to Working Out

1. Five Steps to Achieving Your Workout Goal
2. The Ultimate Diet to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
3. How to do a Proper Warm Up
4. Workout Frequency/ Split – How Many Times Per Week Should You Work Out?
5. Workout Intensity – How Many Reps Should You Do?
6. Workout Volume – How Many Sets Should You Do?
7. How to Build The Best Workout Routine
8. Progressive Overload – The Secret to Getting Workout Gains!
9. Workout Routines to Build Muscles and Lose Fat Fast

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