How do you perform a proper warm up exercise for your weight lifting workout?
Should you stretch before lifting weights?
What exactly should you do before you start lifting weights?
A proper warm-up for a weightlifting workout consists of two specific parts:
- Pre Workout Warm Up
- Specific Warm-Up Exercises
You need to do both of the above to properly warm-up for your weight lifting. The key to a proper warm up is to get your body ready to lift heavy weights without wearing yourself down.
You don't want your warm up affecting your working sets. The working sets build muscle and strength.
Pre Workout Warm Up Exercise
The pre workout warm up will consist of some very light cardio and a few body weight exercises to get your attention and wake your body up. You need to get some blood flowing throughout your body.
What exactly does the pre workout warm up accomplish?
- Improves muscle elasticity and reduces the risk of muscle strains and muscle pulls
- Blood temperature is increased which enhances your performance and allows you to lift heavier for more reps
- Dilated blood vessels allow more blood to circulate through the body and puts less stress on your heart
- Increases your alertness and allows you to focus on the task at hand, which happens to be building muscle and strength
So, what do you need to do in your pre workout warm up and what should you avoid during this warm-up?
- Perform 3 to 5 minutes of light cardio. This means get on a stationary bike, elliptical machine, go for a light jog, or any other aerobic activity. Do this activity lightly for 3 to 5 minutes. Break a slight sweat. Nothing too intense, though!
- After the light cardio, perform 20 jumping jacks followed by 10 body weight squats and 5 to 10 push ups depending on your strength levels. The jumping jacks are one of the best pre workout warm-up exercises! They really raise your alertness.
- Never stretch before your workout. If you do include stretching in your weight lifting program, do it after an exercise or after you've finished all weightlifting exercises in any given workout.
That's it for your pre workout warm up. This will only take you 5 to 7 minutes to perform before you begin each weight lifting workout.
Now, you can move on to specific exercise warm-ups.
Specific Warm Up Exercise
When I say “specific warm up exercise,” I mean the sets you perform of any given exercise to warm-up for that exercise.
For example, you will perform a few sets of Squats with lighter weights before you perform your working sets of Squats.
Specific warm-ups are required to get your body accustomed to the exercise movement you will be performing. You should never jump straight to heavy weights for any exercise without at least a few warm up sets.
Here are some rules you need to follow for specific exercise warm-ups:
- Never do more reps for any warm up set than the target number of reps on your working sets.
- Decrease the number of reps while increasing the weight towards your working weight.
- Do more warm up sets at the beginning of the workout and less as your progress through your weight lifting workout.
And of course, for more warm-up exercises and details continue reading this site.