Warmups for strength training or any other kind of training shouldn’t be complex.
If it takes you 30 minutes to warm up you’re doing something wrong and would be better served putting that time into actual training.
Matter of fact, a proper warmup shouldn’t take any longer than 10 minutes if you know what you’re doing!
I’ll go over each part of what your warmup should consist of so you don’t have to waste time and energy!
Band Work For Shoulders, Chest, & Upper Back
The first thing you should be addressing is mobilizing and stretching through all the musculature of your shoulders, chest, and upper back.
This will help you loosen up before moving onto the other parts of the warmup that will directly target the musculature in your entire body.
I recommend picking 1-2 band exercises for this part of the warmup.
What I always start with is band pull aparts and band dislocates.
These help warmup my upper back and the dislocates especially help with shoulder mobility which a lot of bigger athletes tend to have locked up, unfortunately.
A little bit of work goes a long way with these!
1-2 sets of 10-20 reps is all you need to do to get the full benefits of these without turning into a workout in itself.
But, then again, if you’re getting tired from a basic warmup you have some other areas you need to address!
Use Basic Bodyweight Exercises
Next up we want to use basic body weight exercises to warmup all the major muscle groups in your entire body.
Regardless of if you’re doing an upper/lower split, push/pull/legs, or even a body part split, you should warm up everything no matter what!
Your body works as a unit so this is incredibly important to make sure everything is mobilized and ready to go.
Even when doing upper body exercises, your lower body and core have to stabilize you.
Same thing with lower body. When deadlifting or squatting your entire body has to work together to complete the lift.
By covering all your bases with your warmup, you make sure the chances of tweaking, straining or breaking something off is much lower.
It’ll also help with activating more muscle fibers which will help you get stronger, and build more muscle. Increasing performance should always be your main objective when training anyways so this is kind of important.
Picking bodyweight exercises should be pretty easy. You can pick whatever you like as long as you cover a couple of basic movement patterns.
These movement patterns are:
- SQUAT/SINGLE LEG
As long as you do 1 exercise from each one of these categories you’ll be hitting every major muscle group in your body with a lot of overlap for stabilizing muscles as well.
For the push movement patterns you can use pushups, pause pushups, dips, pause dips, handstand pushups if you’re ballsy, etc.
For pull, pullups, inverted rows, chinups, or other variations.
For squat/single leg, bodyweight squats, box squats, pause squats, lunges, or split squats.
Finally for the hinge movement pattern, you can use back extensions, stiff leg deadlifts, hip thrusts, or any other you prefer.
All you need to to is 1-2 rounds of each of these categories for 10-20 reps depending on the exercise.
This will warmup your entire body and get you ready to work.
As long as you follow this template, you’ll never have to think about what to do to warmup ever again.
After the bodyweight movements, you want to warmup with your first movement as well.
This means starting with a barbell, dumbbell or whatever your first exercise is and doing warmups with it essentially.
I’ll go over how much weight you should be using and the number of reps per set.
Most people tend to do too many reps warming up and because of that, they’re tired by the time you get to your top set.
That’s why starting light with the barbell and decreasing the reps as you warmup is so important!
Say you’re doing the barbell squat for the day and you’re warming up to 400 lbs.
Start with the barbell and do a set of 10, then move onto 135 for 8, 225 for 5, 315 for 3, and then 365 for 1.
By that point you should be warmed up and ready to go without an excessive amount of fatigue on the sets that actually matter.
Your heaviest ones!
Another way you can warmup is by doing what’s called an overwarmup.
By warming up to a heavier weight than you’re doing for a solid single, it will allow you to activate more muscle fibers.
Essentially allowing you to do more reps on your top set since the warmup you previously did was heavier and your central nervous system is primed for the heavier load.
This would look the same as the previous warmup but you’d do another single at your top set of 400 lbs. Then, simple add around 5% to do the overwarmup.
This would be 420 lbs for a single if you’re not good at percentages. I know some people that don’t know what 10% of 10 is so don’t feel bad lol.
As you can see, warming up doesn’t have to take forever! On any given workout, my clients and myself can warmup and be at our top set within 15-20 minutes if we aren’t resting forever.
If you’re sitting around on a foam roller for 30 minutes before you even start moving around on your feet you’re doing it wrong!
Do a couple of tried and true exercises to prepare for your training session and get after it.
Try this warmup out and let me know if you feel ready to go for your workouts in the comments below!
Until next time,