I was reading of CW’s summer project workout and in his comments I noticed that he said that you only needed to warm up the first exercise that you perform on that day. I had always heard to warm up every exercise, but this makes sense in a low rest circuit training type of situation. Or am I completely off target and should continue with my warm up sets for every exercise?
It depends, and I don’t think should be said as an absolute rule either that the first exercise must be warmed up or that that is the only exercise that should be.
It is most efficient though to learn what, for the individual, warmups are helpful and which are just wasting time.
For example, personally the only thing I warm up on is squats, leg extensions, and good mornings or Med-X back extensions Anything else, I get no benefit of any kind. However many others need to warm up for shoulder pressing or bench pressing in particular.
The overall idea of literally warming up, namely the muscles including in the extremities coming to proper temperature, is valid, and it’s true that once that’s accomplished, providing rest intervals aren’t too long that that need not be repeated.
But let’s say for example if chins are the first exercise in the workout, they may not, depending on the individual, be compromised at all starting “cold.” Yet let’s say leg extensions come later in the workout: the joint, depending on the individual, might need the warmup. Or it might be advantageous for neurological reasons on some exercises but not others.
If you’re planning to go heavy with later sets, warm-up sets are a good idea. Do them for each muscle group but not necessarily for each exercise. For example: warm up for your flat bench press, but don’t bother with warm-up sets if you switch to incline bench or dips right afterward. You’ve already prepared those muscles for the heavy loads and it’s just a waste of time.