How to Warm Up for Lifting

[Picture of a guy cramming a foam roller up his rectum.jpg]

Caption: Joe DiFranco, apparently not satisfied with wasting America’s time with the “Agile 8” has now released the “Limber 11”  Next – the “Fruity 14”

Listen, I am grossly unqualified to tell you how to warm up if you are:

  1. grievously injured (note: if you injured yourself lifting weights, you are dumb)
  2. about to hurdle, kickbox, pitch in the World Series or do any manner of things that ARE NOT LIFTING WEIGHTS for general strength/raw powerlifting
  3. Real Old.  30 is not old.  35 is not old.  You should not be “slowing down” at 35 unless you are getting ready to retire after 15+ years of pro sports/the infantry. 40 is not old.  How old is Real Old?  I’ll let you know when I get there. But feel free to ignore my advice if you have a. mostly gray hair b. a beard like Santa c. grandkids. 

Otherwise, here’s how to warm up in three easy steps (really two):

1. Wear Warm Clothes.  Warmer than the conditions would normally require.  The least clothing you should wear to the gym is T-shirt and shorts.  And that is if your gym is Roasting hot.  I workout in a sweat shirt, t-shirt, baggy shorts (I hate squatting in long pants, but if I absolutely must, i.e it’s 40 degrees in the gym, I’ ll wear wind pants over top at least for my warmups), long soccer-type socks (for deadlifting) and a beanie/ball cap.  Of course you may remove layers as you warm up.

If you are male and you work out in a tanktop, you are no doubt a vain, image-obsessed, muscle-pumper who likes ogling themseves in the mirror, and/or who likes to flex to “impress” other men & women in the gym.  Please stay away from the weights and go directly to the tanning booths where there are better mirrors, and maybe an orgy.

If you are female and you work out in a) sports bra b) belly shirt c) booty pants – you are a whore who likes to show off her goods in public.  Again, stay away from the weights in case chlamydia becomes airborne-transmittable.  Go lie on the mats and do some leg spreading stretching IOT better accomplish your real purpose in attending a gym.

2. Lift Weights.  Start with the bar.  Do 10 reps.  Do less if you get bored.  Do more if you are sore or old.  I like to get a good stretch with the bar on this first set only.  Note: Don’t go crazy.  Like pause deep in the hole on a couple of squats.  Or do a couple bench presses to your neck.

Then add weight like this (for a single with 315): 45 (bar) x10, 95×6, 135×4, 185×3, 225×2, 275×1, 295×1.

3. Do not do any of these things before you lift heavy weights: foam rolling, stretchng, lunges, cardio, running, jogging, stretching, band-pulling, anything with a stability ball, anything with a kettlebell, waving your arms around, hopping, stretching, riding the exercise bike, stretching, or talking to other people (asking about when you can work in, or nodding hello are acceptable)

These things waste your time, tire you out, have no purpose, cost money and/or make you look foolish.



4 thoughts on “How to Warm Up for Lifting

  1. as a lifter who clearly is more experienced, would you say that a proper warmup also works to prime your neurons?

    this is something the forums over on t-nation mentions quite frequently, although I doubt they could tell a nerve cell from a tree when looking in a microscope.

  2. I don’t know exactly what neurons are. Nor should any lifter or athlete ever have to know. I have been reading t-nation for 15 years. I even wrote an article for them. Their nonsense will be addressed in a later blog post. Certainly a proper warmup improves performance.

    #1 warmup mistake – A guy preparing to bench 150×6 (all weights in lbs, kilos give me a headache) is too lazy and/or vain to use anything but the 45 lb plates so he does one warmup set with 135×8. This is silly. A man about to squat 450 does not do one warmup set with 405. A better warmup would be 45×10, 95×4, 115×2, 135×1.

    #2 warmup mistake is the same man doing this: 45×10, 95×10, 125×10, 135×10, 140×8, 145×6. That is certainly something, but it is too much to be a warmup. If our man does 150×6, that is nice; but had he chosen a better warmup sequence he might have been capable of 170×6!

  3. Pingback: Ben Bruno steals my ideas | Coach's Blog

  4. Coach for squats nowadays, I actually end up only doing 5-6 reps now with the bar, pause 3 seconds, but then the last rep I pause for about 10-30 seconds to stretch everything. But for realz, it’s not too hard. Start with the bar. Don’t jump immediately to your work sets, add about 10-20kg per set until work sets. Easy. Then save all your mobility work stretching for after you work out, I feel this is better as in my broscience thinking, stretching after a workout will negate any of the tightening effects of your exercises, and leave the muscles stretched for their healing after the workout, so the stretching becomes a permanent adaptation. Note this is broscience but I can put my face on the ground for a pancake stretch and put my face on my kneecap for hamstring stretches and do hella sick spirals ice skating, while squatting as much or more than some T-Nation writers.

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