T Nation

Anyone Here Workout Really Early? (4am)


#1

I’ve recently been forced to move my workouts to early am, and I was looking for advice…
This topic has been brought up a lot, but I wanted to start another thread with any tips/ideas/tricks to get the most out of an early morning workout.
Personally, I wake up at 4, in the gym by 4:20, and I’ve found that I have to warm up for at least 20-30 minutes, before even touching the bar, or I am guaranteed to tweak my back or strain a muscle.
Any suggestions, fire away!


#2

I get up at 3:45, train about 4:45. Stretch lats, forearms, un-gunk my shoulders, then a giant set of a few of the muscle groups that are involved in the main lift of the day.
For example, prior to overhead pressing, I’ll do ab wheel rollouts, band pull aparts, handstands, straight arm pulldowns, and tricep extensions. Then multiple sets with an empty bar, and taking some of the warm up sets multiple times if needed.


#3

I get up about 315, hit the can, take my pre workout and brush my teeth and shave, I use daa with my pre workout currently and it cleans me out so I’m usually back in the bathroom about 15minutes later, getting dressed(all that probably about 30 mnutes or so after taking me pre workout) I’m out the door for the gym which is literally 1000 feet away. by that time I’ve had about an hour to wake up, things like brushing your teeth can help wake your brain and sensory system up. do about a five minute warm up or so and I’m golden. rarely strain anything unless I’m pushing like, max effort over head sets.


#4

I am weak, hopeless mobility and creaky joints so this may be a good example of what not to do haha

Up at 3:45, a huge glass of water, do my business, grab a banana and at the gym soon after.

I do a quick warm up, then some jumps, then my main movement. I usually do a slow ramp of the main stuff which allows for further loosening if required.

I eat late the night before and try get to bed at a reasonable time. It’s not so bad once you’re used to it.


#5

I’ve been doing early am workouts for the past 100 days or so. The transition was easier than I expected with a couple of personal tweaks.

  1. I don’t go to bed before tangibly thinking to myself I am waking up at 0345 or 0400. That way there is no option for me to sleep in or snooze. Its amazing on days where I “wait and decide” when I wake up that 95% of the time I sleep in.

  2. I think I got this idea off this site but I set my alarm 15-20 minutes earlier than necessary and take a fat burner or chug preworkout and lay back down. Usually the placebo effect or actual effect gets me up and ready by the time I need to physically get out of bed.

  3. Loud Music on the Drive. Become a psychopath. I yell lyrics. Rap a fast song. Whatever it takes. It’s cliche but I sorta feed off the fact the rest of the world is asleep and Im blasting slipknot.

  4. I generally start slow with abs or a basic accessory exercise to get me “awake”. If you have enough time, I’d recommend eating something prior to the workout that way your natural instincts to quit working and seek out food dont kick in.

Just my two cents. I’m not Ronnie Coleman by any means but I’ve gotten into this routine without suffering a lack of intensity that I expected.


#6

I wake up at about 4 and have everything packed and prepped to be out the door by 430 at the latest and that’s with dropping load #1. Start drinking pre workout about the time I get up and have my pre workout breakfast (slice of egg cream custard pie- don’t ask, but it works). Get to the gym and drop load #2 (welcome to managing 350 lbs of body weight). Usually spend 5 minutes or so on the bike to get my blood flowing before jumping right in. I will do some extended warming up (not uncommon to have 20-30 reps of just the bar on bench day with resistance bands in between).


#7

I used to down half a container of the original Ultimate Orange.
Now I get up about 30 minutes early (I have a home gym setup) and stretch on my back porch til I feel loose
I almost can’t work out when its light out anymore


#8

I make sure I’m up an hour and a half before I start, finish eating 45 minutes or more prior. It’s a help if I get all my breakfast prepped and ready the night before.


#9

When I trained at 5am I would make sure I had everything ready to go, but I’d always have something that I’d try to blow out of the park but also knew wouldn’t insure me as soon as I’d step in the gym. Like try to hit a chin up rep PR, or some sort of short and hard bodyweight circuit. Nothing mental but something that would make my cns fire and fire hard. Hard to sleep when your heart is in your mouth. It’s not for everyone and the experts will disagree, but something quick and explosive always waked me up way more than 30 mins of rolling and stretching stuff. Might help x


#10

I get up at 0445, eat a bowl of wild blueberries and raw honey and start my first warm up set by 0505. No mobility or stretching. I find, if you constantly force the body to perform without prep, it eventually learns to either adapt or die.


#11

I think this is the crux of training.


#12

Luckily I only have to get up early to train a couple times a week. I have a home gym. It’s probably 15-20 minutes from the time I wake up til I step onto the platform. I’ve been doing 5/3/1 Training Maximally. Thursdays have been deadlift day #2 in my training so I start with 135 and follow the Training Maximally progression. 3-5 reps @ that weight, add 10%, 3-5 reps, repeat, then drop to 1-3 reps at 70 and 80%, then 1 rep each at 90% and 100% TM.

That progression works as a warm-up for me.

The best thing I’ve done for my two early morning sessions is planning for them. Those are lower intensity sessions and have less exercises than my other two days where I’m able to take my time. I still push myself but I don’t use as much weight on those days (whether I want to or not). I think it’s due to a couple factors—2nd day of the week to hit those muscles, I just rolled out of bed, and no pre-workout nutrition.


#13

Did this for years. Maybe I was adapting, but I didn’t enjoy aches and pains in my early 20’s.

Also, I’m able to clean and front squat more weight when I loosen up my lats, as I can get into a better rack position.

Do you have any lifts that improve with some movement beforehand? Or does that detract from the training? Like you’d rather squat uncomfortably than comfortably.


#14

My morning warmup goes

BB complex 3 rounds (sets of 6) with only the barbell
Back Squat
Behind the neck jerk
Front Squat
Rdl
BB row
Hang clean
Overhead press with holding lock out

Overhead Squat x20
Hang from bar 1 min
Shoulder dislocates

I might do 1-2 hip/flute specific stretches and then I’m ready to go. All this takes 15 min or less to go through.


#15

For me, lots of small increment warm up sets of the main movement.

I limit all of my warmups to 10 mins, otherwise it can get out of hand. Find 3-5 movements that help you, and work those. Mine are:

  1. Bear or A-frame transition to cobra
  2. Upper back over foam roller with arms overhead holding KB (shoulder opener)
  3. Rack Squats progressing to hip circle goblet squats

Go!


#16

I’ve literally never done some sort of warm-up before lifting to be able to say if a lift imrpvoes with some movement beforehand or not. I honestly figure that’s what warm-up sets are for. I couldn’t say.


#17

Makes sense. The warm-up for me also helps with my outside the gym, outside of work hobbies.
For example, I was climbing/bouldering 3-4 times a week and my forearms felt horrible. Bit of stretching helped me get into better positions, which led to less cumulative forearm pain.


#18

I think I’ve just learned to live in pain, haha.


#19

Makes sense boss. I’m not that tough lol. I wasn’t able to hold 135 without straps until I started taking care of my forearms. My hands just wouldn’t close.


#20

Me to. I get up at 5, and am generally under a barbell by 5:30. I don’t do stretching or mobility. I feel like if you do it, you are training your body to require it. Most people would be amazed at what you can adapt to.

Also what may be key is that I train at high frequency so I’m squatting and pressing almost every day and I generally don’t need as much warm up the more frequently I train something.