Back in the day I used to just walk into the gym do some stretches, then boom! Throw 135 on the squat rack and go for ten reps. Right after that throw on another fifty pounds and pump out 5 reps without even thinking about it really.
My mind was usually more preoccupied worrying about everything else that went on that day. Not even thinking about form really. I never even thought about using an empty bar, or my form until I got to challenging weight. Until I got injured of course.
So why should your try warming up properly?
- To avoid injuries: the picture I just painted for you above is how I ended up with my hernia. High weight, bad form, and my head wasn’t in the game.
2. Focus on technique: Lighter weights let you zone in on your form without worrying about struggling with weight. Lift your warm up set with the same exact form that you would lift your heavy set with.
3. You will get bigger: The most important concept in gaining size is your overall workout volume. Volume=weight lifted x sets x reps. Warm up sets increase the overall volume of your workout.
Now we’ve established why warming up will help prevent injury and make you bigger, you might be wondering what’s the best way to go about preparing for your working sets.
How much you warm up depends on your lifting experience, and what weights you’re working with.
A newbie trainer who’s scheduled to deadlift 175 lbs may only need two to three warm-up sets to get ready. A guy or gal who’s been lifting for 15 years though, and has a session where they’ve programmed sets with 3-6 plates a side will need a heck of a lot more warming up.
An effective way to manage it is to base your warm-up sets off percentages of what your top sets for the day will be. Try this –
10-12 reps at 30%
8-10 reps at 50%
6-8 reps at 70%
4-6 reps at 80%
1-3 reps at 90%
Then do your working sets
Again, someone not lifting so much could probably skip the 30% and the 70% sets, whereas a stronger lifter may even want to add in sets at 75% and 85%.
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