The Importance Of The Warm Up Before Lifting
When it comes to the warm-up, many may think it’s simply a case of a few minutes on the treadmill and away you go.
But, when it comes to lifting weights, the warm-up has an important part that you should focus on.
So, I want to briefly run through it to give you some ideas on how to prep for your Squats, etc.
The Idea Of The Warm-Up
You may think that your warm-up is simply to do just that, warm-up.
While the warm-up is something you do want to do in order to raise your body temperature, get the blood flowing, and prep for the session, it shouldn’t be something you simply toss in to tick the box.
You want to use it as a way to prep yourself for what you’re going to do in that session.
So, while hopping on the treadmill might be a good way to raise your temp and get a little sweat on, it wouldn’t be the best way to prep yourself for Squats.
Ideally, you wouldn’t just hop off the treadmill, 80% of your max on a bar, and start straight into your working sets.
This is where we want to start using a more specified warm-up based on what you’ve planned for your session.
We want it to focus on prepping your body for the movements you’re going to do in your session, especially the heavier, compound movements.
The last thing you want is to feel stiffness and try force through a poor movement pattern.
That can be a recipe for disaster.
Considerations On How To Warm Up Before Lifting
Say you work at a desk all day, and you’ve to do Squats or Deadlifts in your gym session.
You may be carrying a little bit of stiffness in the hips, glutes, hip flexors from sitting all day.
For this, you may start off with some foam rolling and mobility work to get those hips feeling nice and loose.
The foam rolling will also increase blood flow around the primary joints you’ll be using for that session, and some quick mobility drills will get you loose and moving smoothly under the bar.
Now that you’ve prepped the joints, we want to prep the movement.
Again, let’s take Squats for example.
Your next phase of warming-up will be to practice the movement.
Take a 60kg Squat for example – you could do a set with an empty bar, another warm-up set with 40kg, and then jump to your working weight of 60kg.
(This will be dependant on your training experience, competence at the lift, and how close to max your training sets are – you can always take an extra set to grease the groove).
The one thing I will say is this – your warm-up sets should look the EXACT same as your working sets.
Just because it’s lighter, it doesn’t mean you should half-ass it.
Treat these the same, work on the movement pattern and your technique.
The more you practice a movement, the better you get.
And the last thing you should be doing is jumping straight into your working set without doing a lighter variation of the movement beforehand.
Think of it all as practicing a skill to become better.
It might feel or sound boring, but these little things can all add up to long-term progress, and especially keep you from picking up injuries.
Always use it as a way to prepare yourself for heavier loads in your sessions, get those joints, muscles, and CNS ready and firing, and use it as a way to mentally switch on for when it gets heavy.
So remember, use your warm-up as a way to prep your body and joints for the main lifts, use it to practice become better with technique, pattern, bracing, and breathing, and reap the rewards down the line.