T Nation

Warm-ups Based on Intensity and Eccentric/Isometric/Concentric Methods?

CT and fellow intermediate-advanced lifters with EXPERIENCE in the OCTS system or using a similar approach,

Could I ask for advice via examples on how to setup your warmups based on the intensity of the loading scheme and/or the method you’re using?

In general, I’m assuming you only or mostly use straight sets if you apply eccentric or isometric methods because applying these methods with loading schemes like pyramids, waves etc would be neurological overkill? I assume pyramids, double pyramids and waves are utilized more for concentric emphasis days right?

I’m aware that the main compound exercises trained at higher intensities (loading) need more warmup sets (4-8 depending on how advanced you are) than assistance compound or isolation exercises (2-4 sets).

Two questions that I have are:

  1. How do you determine the number of warmup reps (not sets) you’re doing on your rampup towards your first working set? You have options like 10-8-6-4-2 or 5-5-5-5 or 2-2-2-2-2 etc. I believe personal preference does play a role but you’d also want to keep reps on the lower side as to not accumulate too much warmup volume before your work sets? Also, do you keep warmup reps on the higher side depending on the rep range and number of worksets (for example 5 reps for 6-8 rep range, 10 reps for 10-12 rep range)?

  2. For concentric methods like clusters, (mechanical) dropsets, myoreps, rest-pause etc you just work up towards your working set weight and then start using your chosen concentric method. With eccentric (for example slow eccentric or eccentric overloads) or isometric methods (yielding, stato-dynamic, overcoming etc) do you apply these already during all your preparation and warmup sets to determine your working set weight? If so, I assume you need to keep your warmup volume low as to not become too fatigued when performing your worksets?

I absolutely LOVE all the course material from the neurotyping, OCTS and hypertrophy courses but I also know my strengths and weaknesses. I have lots of experience with nutrition, sleep and stress management and I consider myself a lower level intermediate lifter. I have very little experience with all of these training methods. There are no specific warmup recommendations included in the courses for these methods. That’s why I’m asking for guidance BEFORE I start applying them to my clients and myself.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts/experiences.

I have done a few OCTS blocks for performance. Intensity was determined by RPE, and not as a percentage of my 1RM (projected, or otherwise).

Since I had target RPEs for my worksets (8+) my warm-ups then had the same number of reps as my work sets so I’d be able to adjust the weight appropriately. By the same logic I applied the same method to all preparation sets as well.

I drove progress by increasing reps (until a certain point), by adding +1 rep to each work set every week. Therefore, my warm-ups also had +1 rep.

To find some initial weights I did operate off of some percentages I found somewhere, here or Thibarmy. I started out my blocks with 5s so for isometric day I used 65-70% of 1RM there which worked out okay and I had a 10s eccentric on eccentric day for 3 reps and used 70-75% of 1RM.

I certainly did not need 8 warm-up sets, I had more like 3.

But all I did was slow eccentrics and stato-dynamic (i.e., pauses). Nothing fancier.

1 Like

Thank you for your feedback @Voxel, I appreciate the effort.

Based on the programs that I have bought from Mr. CT I’ve experienced the same methodology towards warmup reps/sets approach (doing the same number of reps on each warmup set).

However, I am a very weird animal when it comes to warmup strategies. Some days I feel anxious to get started with the workout and get bored by doing too many warmup sets. Or I can perceive the number of warmup reps (especially when they are on the higher side) as fatiguing myself too much if the warmup sets are high also. On others days, especially on big lifts where I have to move heavy weight, I can get anxious if I don’t perform enough warmup sets.

Maybe I’m being too analytical about it (classic type 3) but I found that I can definitely push harder if I’m completely sure about how to warmup for a specific exercise.

For example, if the exercise is performed using an isometric pre/postfatigue or a pure concentric (anderson squat) method, do you need to perform all your preparation/warmup sets already with that method? For the isometrics it sounds like you’re wasting too much energy and for the pure concentrics, if they’re performed partially, you’re lacking full ROM in your warmup. It can get a bit confusing and I noticed that doubt increases my anxiety and performance in the gym.

@Christian_Thibaudeau I normally don’t tag you because I respect that it’s up to you to decide if you wish to give some feedback or not. I’m always appreciative of your response though and I feel like warming up correctly would be very beneficial for workout optimization. If you don’t want to respond, that’s cool too and I will not tag you again.

Thanks guys.

I did the first 4 weeks of OCTS from the “Theories and Methodologies” book.

Before starting I did a “Preparatory Week,” kinda like a deload, where I messed around with the eccentric/isometric stuff, trying to figure out what weights to use and how the program “worked.” I didn’t push super heavy on concentrics, or do the full time for the iso holds (maybe I held for 25-30 sec instead of 45 seconds) or the eccentrics (maybe 4-5 sec instead of 9 seconds). So I wasn’t coming into week 1 totally unprepared.

As I got into the program my warm ups were shorter than my work sets. If I was supposed to do squats with 100 and a 45 sec hold at the bottom warmups might be 30 for 10 seconds, 60 for 20 seconds and 80 for 32 seconds.

And if was was trying to bench 80 x 5 reps with a 9 second eccentric, warmups could go 30 x 3 reps with a 5 count eccentric, 55 x 4 reps with a 7 count. And maybe 75 for the same 4 reps with a 7-8 count.

For the concentrics stuff I did a couple regular warm up sets.

The cool thing about the program was it’s “Newness.” I didn’t know exactly what weights to use, so it was easy to pick a weight that felt good, then just do a little more the following week. Just kinda letting it happen naturally.

Also, the fancy methods are “self adjusting.” If you pick a weight that’s too light you just Blast it faster on concentric day. Or lower slower with better, more focused muscle tension on eccentrics. Or do your Isos with a tighter, better positioning.

1 Like

That sounds like a decent approach trying to eventually find the correct working set numbers for the rest of the block. Working with different warmup TUT for eccentrics and isometrics makes it a bit more complicated to find the right intensity for your first workset though.

But I guess with enough experience this becomes a intuitive self adjusting protocol as well. I’ll consider it as a good learning exercise to kick my perfectionist behaviour aside and focus more on staying in the right zone.

Thanks @FlatsFarmer

1 Like

A Learning Experience is pure CNS gains!

You’ll essentially be a Newbie with the new techniques, so it will be natural suck at first and get better as you go on and progression will handle itself.