THE BEST WAY TO WARM UP BEFORE RESISTANCE TRAINING
Common advice for warming up is to hop on some cardio apparatus or another and ride that for 15 minutes or so until you break a sweat. (Breaking a sweat raises your core temperature and warms up your muscles) That’s hardly efficient use of your limited workout time. If you watch most people, they seem to be under the impression that they have to warm up before they start doing their warm-up.
They’ll walk slowly on the treadmill for ten or fifteen minutes before they ever go up to a speed or resistance that’s required to get them to actually warm up!
Stop it! You’re paying for this and spending your valuable time so stop wasting it. Use the time to do something that actually helps. If your warm up takes more than 8-10 minutes (preferably less) you're doing it wrong!
If you insist on using cardio, get on the apparatus, set the resistance on high and go to work. Don’t use the recumbent bike, or treadmill or stair master. Use something that’s going to use your entire body. That’s usually the rowing machine or the bikes that require you to use both upper and lower body. (There are several different types).
And spend as little time as possible doing the cardio. any cardio beyond what is needed to warm up, when it precedes resistance training, actually lowers you capacity for resistance training. If you insist on doing cardio for anything besides a short warm up do it after your resistance training or on a different day.
Better yet, warm up the muscles you are actually going to be using. If your first set is squats, get under the bar with light weights or even just the bar itself and start squatting. Do three or more warm up sets with progressively more weight as you work up to your “working sets”.
When you move on the next muscle group, rinse and repeat.
Warming up with the actual movements you’ll be using also primes your central nervous system for your working sets. For advanced lifters, most advances in strength come more from honing the central nervous system than the muscles themselves. After a certain point, the central nervous system makes up the majority of the gains.
I’ve seen people warm up and stretch for half an hour or more before ever doing any work that was actually going to accomplish anything.
The effectiveness of any training program is directly related to the effort you put into it. If a program “doesn’t work” it’s probably because you’re half-assing it.
Effort trumps everything…
Dani and Chris Shugart
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