T Nation

Thoughts on Working up to Basic Movements

Since my last competition I’ve had a problem with feeling ready enough to execute my heavy compound movements as the first exercises in my routine even though I would put myself through a few warm-up sets and utility movements (like rotator cuff exercises for example). I started to do more active stretching before workouts and implemented a quick 5 minutes of cardio, along with my warm up sets on the actual compound movement I would start my weight-training with, but still things didn’t feel right.

I started watching a lot of videos from before last year’s Olympia of Kai Greene training various body-parts with very unorthodox warm-up procedures. One good example was a chest video of his where he went through various sets of dips, wide grip pulls up and upright rows before he moved on to barbell-press 495 for reps on the incline bench.

Though I’m on no where near the same level as Kai Greene (and therefore obviously not requiring the same method of training), I was inspired to try and do something similar for my workouts. I would never go to Kai’s lengths (doing an hour of light glute and hamstring exercises before squatting or whatever), but I’ve tried one or two constructing routines where I work up to basic movements with things like dips and light flies before benching, some light lateral work or cleans before shoulder presses, and glute/hamstring exercises before squatting and I really enjoy it.

I find when I got my glutes/hams REALLY warm (borderline pre-exhausted) I can squat with better stability and same thing goes for other heavy compound movements on other exercises. Though, while I find it really helps with my stability and ability to actually feel the muscle working, the weights I push are lower than normal.

So, what are your guys’ thoughts on working up to basic movements? My main fear is that in doing semi-extensive pre-exhausts my performance and chance to improve on the compound movements will be hindered. Am I just paranoid?

Side note; if you guys have any other good suggestions on getting really good and warm before the gym I’d love to hear it.