For Strong Folks: Do Heavy Warm Up Weights Feel Light?

When I warm up with 40-50% of my 1RM, it isn’t a big deal. I don’t really feel the weight much. But I’m not dealing with really heavy weights. I’m not sweating that because I’m handsome as hell with a charm that can melt ice, but I am curious about how those percentages feel when the weight gets really high. It doesn’t seem relative.

For those of you that pull, push, or squat what you consider pretty strong numbers, how does say, a warmup weight of 300 feel compared to when 300 was your 1RM?

I’m only partway towards this, but I’ll play, and I am curious to hear the opinions of people stronger than me as well.

When I was pulling 405: I’d say that 135 felt “light” but 225 was heavy enough that I needed to pay attention, and 315 was heavy enough to require some real effort.

Now that I’m pulling into the mid-500’s, I think 225 feels kinda like what 135 used to feel like (i.e. barely any weight), 315 feels kinda like what 225 used to feel like (not really hard to lift, but enough that I have to make sure I’m set up properly), and 405 still feels heavy. Today, 405 is about the same % of my current 1RM that 315 was when I could pull 405, but in the “how does it feel” category, a 405 pull “today” feels harder (I think) than 315 felt back then.

That sounds about as clear as mud, but hopefully it makes sense.


Light. I still feel the increase in pressure/weight, but it’s not difficult to manipulate the weight.


500 pounds still feels like 500 pounds, even though my DL max is somewhere in the low 600’s. 500 pounds of weight hanging on your arms and getting transferred through your entire musculoskeletal system will always be the same amount of pressure. It is just so much easier to move now that I’m stronger. Even 405 is still a heavy weight in my hands, even though I can move it all day. Its still 405 pounds! Its heavy!

I suppose this is another way of saying what @T3hPwnisher just said. 315 on my back still feels like I’ve got 315 pounds riding on my back when I squat. Moving with it is a breeze though.

So yeah, I guess that makes it “light”. Doing a set of 3 warm up pulls with 315 takes nothing out of me now, whereas that used to be my 3RM which would leave me pretty spent.

Time under the bar counts for a lot here too. Better, more consistent movement patterns mean I can control the weight and how my body reacts to it much better, making the barbell move a lot easier.

That’s my $0.02.


Eloquently put as always. Pretty much this.

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isn’t 50 percent always 50 percent? It really shouldn’t change too much unless you don’t know your real max. Obviously though, if your max is 200 and your warm ups are 100, you can lift more often and it will still feel light versus if your max is 800 and your warm ups are 400. If you were to lets say deadlift twice in a week with an 800 max, your warm ups would feel heavier due to your body being exhausted from such a heavy load. I hope that makes sense

I think the weight that feels “light” goes up but at a slower rate. For example if your 1RM is 200lbs, then 100 might be the heaviest that feels light. But if you lift 400lb what feels light isn’t double at 200, maybe 180/190. As far as doing reps it takes more energy so it drains you more. If you double your deadlift you got twice as a strong, but does your body output twice as much energy? No, so 1RM and any percentage of it is harder than when you were weaker.

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so… lukewarm?


I think frequency has a lot to do with how you perceive “heavy.” I squatted to a one rep max every day for 100 days. None of those days felt “heavy” even though I was constantly lifting over 90% of my 1RM. Neural adaptation can play heavily into how you perceive a weight, sometimes more so than your relative strength.


How did that go for you? Sounds a bit extreme!

It isn’t exactly as extreme as you my think. It worked very well. My joints were a little achy towards the end, but I gained a lot of strength. I’ve done it a few times and will likely do it again.


For me it’s more about the weight than the percentage. Almost regardless of the lift. 3 wheels starts feeling heavy on any of the lower body lifts. Whether squat or dead. At 350 or 450 max.

2 on the bench whether I was at 250 or 300 max.

That’s because at a 250 max, 225 is 90%

Yes. But I’m saying that weight started feeling heavy whether it was 90% or 70%. There is a threshold where weight is actually heavy regardless of the percent of max.