Warm Ups - The Dos & Don’ts of Lifting

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Matt and Scott discuss why we warm up and how to properly warm up.

Warm ups--like much with lifting--can come with lots of confusion and misinformation. First, why do we warm up?

We warm up to warm up the tissues, so this is the general purpose of warm up. We also warm up to practice the movement and prepare our neuromuscular system for the work sets, including the fact that as we add weight the center of mass shifts closer to the barbell, so the correct performance of the lift actually qualitatively changes.

So, how do we warm up?

Warming up should be done relatively quickly. The heavier the weight, the longer it will take to warm up. You should roughly use 5 warm ups, but if you’re in a cold environment you might need more. Also, as you progress through the workout your tissue is warm, so the purpose of the warm up shifts more toward the practice and preparation. Fewer warm ups can be done for exercises later in the workout.

You also don’t need to be precise with warm up weight. If some app tells you to warm up at 88 pounds, just do 95. For the most part, stick with 25lb and 45lb plates, unless your work set weights might be relatively low.

You don’t need to warm up between warm ups, especially the early ones. You might rest about 1 minute between the last couple warm ups, and definitely before the work set.

You also can warm up for the next lift in between work sets.

Unless you’re an exception (extremely small or extremely big and strong) start with 45lbs for the press, bench press, and squat and with 135lbs for the deadlift.

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