Warmups serve an important purpose for any training program, but are particularly crucial on this program because of the use of heavy loads on compound exercises. Before we look at exactly how you should warm up, it’s important to consider what warming up serves to accomplish.
The main purpose of warming up is to increase body temperature, which improves performance and reduces risk of injury. Your circadian rhythm (variations throughout the day) will mostly determine your core body temperature. When you wake up, your core temperature is at its lowest and it increases throughout the day. In terms of safety and performance, there seems to be a sweet spot for core body temperature, so try not to train too hot or too cold. Before doing any heavy lifting, breaking a light sweat through some light cardio activity is a great idea. If you train early in the morning, doing at least five to ten minutes of low-moderate intensity cardio is advised.
Warmups can also serve as a way to increase muscle activation. Dynamic warmup drills (active stretches that take joints through a range of motion) can improve performance and force output. Don’t “go through the motions.” The goal is to always be very mindful about what muscles are contracting and what movement that contraction is creating.
Lastly, foam rolling has been shown to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and foam rolling with a specific focus on “tight areas” before a session can both improve range of motion and possibly prevent injury. Light foam rolling for two to three minutes prior to lifting is recommended.
Low Intensity Cardio: 5-10min | Treadmill
Foam Rolling/Lacrosse Ball: 2-3min | Foam roll large muscle groups: traps, quads, lats, calves. You can use a lacrosse ball for smaller muscle groups: delts, hamstrings, pecs.
Front/Back Leg Swing: 2 sets, 12 reps | 12 Each leg
Side Leg Swing: 2 sets, 12 reps | 12 Each leg
THE SPECIFIC WORKUP WARMUP
This warmup is only required for your Primary compound movements. Ex: Benchpress, Squats, Deadlifts, Overhead press, barbell rows etc.
Before the first movement for each body part, perform a basic loading pyramid: Work up in weight with three or four light sets, getting progressively heavier.
For example, if you were working up to four sets of 455 pounds for five reps on the deadlift, you could warm up as follows:
Bar (45 lbs) x 12 reps
135 lbs x 5 reps
225 lbs x 5 reps
275 lbs x 3 reps
315 lbs x 2 reps
405 lbs x 1 reps
Then begin working sets with 455 lbs for 5 reps
On a %1RM basis, warm-up pyramids can be structured like this:
Bar (45 lbs) x 15 reps
40% lbs x 5 reps
50% lbs x 4 reps
60% lbs x 3 reps 70-75% lbs x 2 reps Begin working sets
Remember, an extensive warmup like this is only required for Primary movements.