T Nation

Warmup - What Do You Do?


I'm trying to get into the habit of getting a full and effective warmup, mainly because I've been injured lately, and want to avoid that in the future. My usual warmup, to be honest, probably isn't great. 30 minute walk to the gym, then 3-5 minutes on the bike or treadmill. Used to do static stretches before lifting, but now it seems the conventional wisdom is that's a bad idea. Always do a couple of warmup sets on big compound lifts, less so on isolation stuff. What do you all do?


Well, I generally do some lunges, maybe some overhead squats with an empty bar, and then move on to stretching hip flexors and doing glute activation work, i.e. glute bridges, bird dogs, etc. I often do the glute bridges, bird dogs and hip flexor stretches in between sets of my main exercise.


Lately I've been doing Magnificent Mobility 1-2 weeks). Works out just well enough.

I know the latest research and consensus is against static stretching before lifting, but I've always needed to stretch my legs statically or else I end up pulling something. It's become almost a habit since my martial arts days.

I'll also throw in jumping jacks and burpees.

So, to summarize:
1.) 10 minutes of Magnificent Mobility
2.) Couple minutes of static stretching for my groin, hammies, and lower back
3.) 250-500 jumping jacks, 25-50 burpees, and 25-50 push-ups

My warm-ups have changed alot though.



I do circuits of bodyweight moves 5-10 reps each circuit.

20total push-ups
20total crunches
20total body weight squats

and moves from the Mobility DVD


After a 30 minute walk to the gym, you feel that you need another 3-5 min of bike or treadmill? I think after a 30 minute walk you can pretty much just grab an empty bar and loosen up with a few sets of full body lifting. I'll do some squats followed by some overhead pressing then some good mornings then some overhead squat (snatch or jerk grip). I'll do that circuit 2-4 times total before moving into my first exercise. Or if my first exercise is an Olympic lift I'll just do 2-4 sets of technique work maybe followed by some snatch dislocates before adding weight to the bar. I don't do any treadmill or bike before lifting. I just warm up the entire body with 2-4 sets of empty bar work.


Two words: Magnificent Mobility!


(Sorry for the shameless plug; it was too easy!)

Stay strong


There's an article around here somewhere about warming up. Anyway, it inspired me to use this routine.

No more total body warmup for me. Only specific warmup.

6 reps with an empty bar
repeat after 10 seconds
Load the bar up to 40% of the weight and do 5 reps
60% with 4 reps
75% with 3 reps
80% 85% 90% 95% each with 3 reps.
Take a few minutes and start with your workout sets.


That's a good point, and when I'm in a rush I ditch the bike. But I kinda feel funny doing that, force of habit I guess.


Am planning to get a copy, but not til May unfortunately, as a poor grad student can't get ahold of it until then.


I know research says not to static stretch before lifting...but I do it before every training session. On any upper body days I stretch all my upper body muscles (holding each stretch for at least 8s or so) and on lower body days I stretch my legs and hit the bike for like 3-5 min to loosen up. I've been fortunate to have never suffered any non-warmup related injuries, if that makes any sense. Oh yeah, and after that I do a few movement specific warm up sets before I get into any heavy lifting. Besides, if I'm not loose...I feel like porcelain and my session will probably be rocky.

Also, I train 4 times per week and before two of those sessions I train my abs. Nothing like a solid 10-min Ab pump to get your body ready for some heavy blasting...



One or two full ROMs with a broomstick for the first exercise to be sure I have the groove. After that I don't do any prep for the remaining exercises.


I just pick up 5lb dumbbells and swing them around to get the blood flowing. Then some bodyweight squats. First exercise I usually do 2 warm up sets. I work one body part per session so no need to do a warm up set for the subsequent movements.


I'll break it down into steps for ya

1.Stroll into the gym
2.Walk around and look for any eye-candy
3.Admire the eye-candy(optional)
4.Go to whatever I'm doing first
5.Do 4-6 reps with the bar to loosen up
6.Put 50% of what I'm going to use and do 5 reps with it
7.Start working out

tip-I stretch between my sets to relax the muscles and so I don't forget to later.I also do them in the gym because for some reason I always look bigger in their mirrors than mine...


It's interesting to see what science says. Isn't it funny how every few years theres a new approach to the game?

I do light-mod cardio 10 mins
30 mins upper body stretching ( on upper body days )
60+ mins lower body stretches on lower body days.
I do some control drills too.

Then after all thats done. i lift. But before every workset I do specific warmup sets.

My thoughts on the static stretching before lifting is bad or can decrease strength and or performance.... try it. I dare you to stretch like this for 3 mos b4 a w/o. Then do 3 months of not stretching.

Then check back with me and tell me how you feel.

"I guess when scientists realize the importance of stretching, the masses will follow... ahh so many sheep." -Ian King


This is what I usually end up doing although I usually don't think about it or have a plan.

Eliptical machine for as long as I can stand it (usually 8-10 minutes).

Bodyweight squats x10 into
Bodyweight GMs x20 (stretching glutes/hams)

Squats with 25lb plate x 10 into
GMs with 25 lb plate x 20

Complex with 45lb bar:
RDL x5
Hang power clean x5
front squat x5
military press x 5
back squat x10
GM x15-25

Between those sets I usually to a complex to warm up my shoulders. I usually do about 3 sets with the 2.5, 5, and 10lb plates:
overhead press x20
front raise x10-15
side raise x10-15
read raise x10-15

This is all pretty quick. Then I usually do a couple warm-up/work-up sets for my main exercises.

I also do stretching after my workout with a little technique work with the bar for cleans and snatches.


I start with 16 kg kettlebell swings 15 reps on each arm, then KB snatch 12 reps each arm. On both, I concentrate on getting a good stretch from the bottom of the squat recovery, and drive my hips through. I move right into each set with less than five seconds rest between each set.

I then do some shoulder dislocates with a broomstick at various grips, and them move into broomstick overhead squats 8x3sets. About 30 seconds rest between sets.

I will then do some light static and dynamic stretches. I may or may not do some footwork drills and high kicks (see Gayle Hatch's website for his athletes dynamic warmup).

Then I am sweaty and good to go.


the no stretching thing isnt that new, it is just more common now

emmanueal stewar(t/d?) the boxing guy from hbo always talks about how pissed he was that hearns got a massage before the hearns/hagler fight. he said stretching the mescle saps its energy


I'd try it, but I really don't have time to spend 70-80 minutes just warming up before I deadlift, and I suspect a lot of people are in the same boat.


From a personal stand point I agree that stretching beforehand leads to weakness and injury.

the most effective warm-up for myself is just being movement specific IE if I am Shouldder pressing of any kind 1 ridiculously light set for aboout 12 reps then I ramp the weights over a few sets smaller muscle groups I generally warm up within 1-3 sets big groups like legs or back some times 3-5 but at least 3.

If I do a general warm up wich I usually only do during the colder month and then not very often a piece of cardio equipment for about 5-8 min never more than 10.


You're entirely right; it shouldn't take more than 10 minutes if you do it right. People are missing the boat with the five minutes of jogging/cycling and then doing lateral raises, etc. All it does is get the body temperature up; it doesn't favorably influence dynamic ROM, activation patterns, or even get you fired up to lift (hence the reason Mike and I made this DVD...plus we knew it would fix up a lot of people's injuries "by accident").