Ever just jumped straight into training without warming up? Feels a bit weird and sometimes out of whack! The reason why is the warm up is fundamental to training and exercise and serves the purpose of:

1. Preparing the body for exercise by raising your body temperature & increasing circulation and blood flow to the muscles.
2. Putting your muscles through a dynamic preparation for the exercises that follow.
3. An opportunity for inclusion of drills and skills to work on improvement your movement.

A good warm up should achieve all the points above by including the following 3 items:

1. Aerobic Work

Running, rowing, riding, Skipping

2. Dynamic Movement

Movement prep and mobility work for the things that you are going to do during the session!

3. Skills and Drills

The opportunity to include drill and skill work to help improve a main lift or movement.

For my groups and even PT I like to use small circuits to help include the first two things together and also to save time, because you don’t want to spend 3 hours in the gym just warming up, 5-10 mins is usually enough!

For example you might do 3 rounds of:
200m Run
10 Squats
10 Pushups
10 Spider man Lunges
10 Sit ups
10 Arm Circles

By the time you finish you should be reasonably warm, hopefully even raised a bit of a sweat. It includes light aerobic work, general movements for both upper and lower body and some dynamic stretching (e.g Spider man Lunges).

Next comes the drill work. This kind of work is always better done at lighter intensities and they help build co-ordination and timing and prep you for what’s to come during your workout 🙂 I think the following 3 things are great to add into your warm up when doing drills:

1. Pause work

This is to build strength in each position, a good opportunity to work on areas you might need to work on.

2. Tempo work

Slow things down. Learn to control the movement so you can speed things up later on!

3. Holds

Static work is good, especially for body weight movements. These will build stronger positions.

I have added some examples of some good drill ideas below:

Deadlift Warmup:

5 Reps – PVC Hinge – PVC on your back and hinge
5 Reps – Deadlift with 2s pause 1 inch off the floor
5 Reps – Deadlift with slow descent down from the top for 5-6s
2-3 sets to build to your working weight

If you struggle with a certain part of the lift you might do a couple of extra sets.

Running Warmup:

2 mins Jogging then 3 rounds of:
30s High Knees
30s Butt Kicks
30s Skips
30s Lunges

Pull Up Warmup:

3×10 Banded Pull Aparts then 3 rounds of:
30s Hangs from the bar
1 Negative (Start with chin over bar then down 6s)
Max Rep pull ups or ring rows.

Drills are endless, so keep it simple and pick 1 or two simple ones for the particular movements in your workout. If you have a weakness use those ones first as well.

Things to avoid during your warmup!

Static stretching. Yes you need it, but you are better off waiting until you finish your workout. This is for two reasons:
1. You are already warm and the body is ready to stretch; and
2. Studies have shown the ineffectiveness even performance degrading from static stretching before a workout.

Remember a warm up doesn’t have to take long, but in the long run it will improve your overall movement and help avoid potential injuries from overdoing it on a cold body!