T Nation

The 24 Hour Pre-Warm-Up

I believe that I could have incredible workouts about 98% of the time if it were not for one tiny little thing-one tiny obstacle that often attempts to sabatoge my progress. That one tiny thing is “life”. Life throws all kinds of wrenches into our best prepared plans and this seems to increase as you get older.

I have often encouraged younger guys
(and girls) to really get the most out of their training between the ages of 14-22. You can still make excellent progress after that, but it becomes a bit harder as your responsibilities increase. John Hopkins did a study in the middle 90’s and they found that the average American experiences more stress in any 30-day period, than our grandparents did in their entire lifetimes!

Life happens, you have to work late, you are traveling, sick children, minor gym injuries, etc and all of a sudden you miss a workout or two. This often occurs right when you are on a roll with regards to progress and you lose that “momentum” that you had going.

When you get back on track with your training, you often find that it takes a couple of workouts to get that momentum going again. I want to share an idea that I have used in the last ten years to kick start the momentum back into high gear in a very short time.

I call this the 24 hour warm-up because it is done about a day before your actual workout. Let’s say you have missed a couple of workouts for whatever reason and now you will be training again on Tuesday evening. On Monday evening you will do the following:

  1. Proceed to your training facility whether you train at home or a commerical gym

  2. Warm-up exactly as if you were training. This should consist of movements designed to increase core body temperature.

  3. Pick two of your basic/compound movements that you will be doing
    the following training day and do the following:

a. warm-up with the weigh exactly as you would if you were doing the actual workout.

b. Load the bar to roughly the equivalent of your best 8 rep max with that weight and do 3 single reps using near perfect form with about a 2 minute rest between sets.

c. repeat for the 2nd compound set.

  1. Pick some sort of explosive move, such as the power snatch, power clean,
    and do 2x8 with a very light weight-somewhere between 100-135lbs with about 2 minutes rest between sets. This set should leave you breathing heavily, but should not exhaust you in any way. Kettlebell or dumbell swings also are a good move to perform

  2. Cool-down/post warm-up stretching
    as you would normally do

  3. Leave the gym, go home, and either write down your workout plan and goals for the next day or review them if you have already written them.

that’s it-the whole thing should take no more than 30 minutes and probably closer to 20 minutes.

Return the next day for a great workout! I stumbled across this years ago as I was traveling quite a bit back then and was frustrated by the fact that I constantly seemed to be doing “back on track” workouts. I find that this 24 hour pre-warm-up gets you physically and mentally back on the positive momentum trail in a very short time.


Keith, good stuff as usual. I like your blend of real-life experience, wordly wisdom and self-discipline. Thanks for the time and dedication you put in your post, it’s appreciated

That is one helpful and interesing post.

I’ll definitely give that I try, seeing that my workout schedule gets wrecked frequently due to college, socialising, work and travelling.