My favourite kind of warm-up routine
Many of us that regard lifting heavy weights as one of the greatest pleasure in life share a fault: we don´t always warm up properly.
This is, of course, a bad thing. We really should get a hold of this bad habit of going straight to work when we hit the gym.
One of the reasons - and in my opinion the major one - for the often felt urge to skip the warm-up, or at least keep it at an absolute minimum, is because we have entered the gym in a certain mind-set. We are there to lift weights. We are there to strain our muscles. We are there to build and mould and sculpt - not to waste our energy upon a treadmill or a crosstrainer. We simply don't have the patience for it.
Here is what I do to avoid skipping the warm-up.: I perform a barbell warm-up.
During my many years of hard weight training this has been the way that I most often warmed up. In fact, over long periods of time it has been my only way of warming up - and I have never gotten seriously injured, not even once, despite training hard and often.
A barbell warm-up is exactly what it sounds like. First, grab a barbell. Make sure it is light. Let it be empty if it is an Olympic 20 kg bar; that is the maximum weight you should use, regardless of how strong you are. Remember that this is your warm-up; you are not exercising as yet. Methodically work your way through a few reps of each of the following movements: the deadlift, the standing military press, the bent-over row, the trapezius lift, the biceps curl. Then do another round – once more performing a few reps of each movement. Finish off with a few reps of Sisyphus squats, Calf raises and push ups, relying solely on your body without the use of additional weight. Furthermore I recommend you to make it a habit to always give each exercise a warm-up set of its own, meaning a set where there is no real effort involved and that is performed in order for you to let your body “tune in” to the new movement. This will improve your muscle awareness and thus reduce the risk of injury.
Try this out. Chances are you will find that this barbell warm up routine is more in tune with what comes next - the actual lifting - than say, for example, running or rowing, and that it thus is easier to motivate oneself into performing it on a regular basis.