How to Warm Up

A Guide to the Complete Warm Up

Most lifters generally neglect the importance of a complete warm up. As mentioned in a previous article, most lifters step into the gym and immediately perform a few static stretches or will hop on the bike for a couple minutes. A complete warm up includes soft tissue work, mobility work, CNS work and basic calisthenics. The benefits of a complete warm up include improvements in mobility, basic health, performance and technique. The foundation that is built from a complete warm up allows the lifter to perform at peak performance and will also help to prevention injuries. Clearly, the warm up offers many benefits that most lifters do not take advantage of. Why is this? Lets face it; the warm up is not exactly the most exciting part about training. However, by no means does this mean it should be neglected. We should look at the bigger picture and realize the long term benefits a complete warm up offers. Below, I will share with you the exact warm up that I created for my college baseball team.

Warm up- 10 reps of everything

Basic Calisthenics

-Jumping Jacks

-Seal Jacks

-Body squats

-Cossack squat

– Alternating toe touch

-Push ups

-Floor wipers

-Supine Leg swings

-Scapula retractions

-Supine bridges

-Prone shoulder taps

-Mountain Climbers


-Arm circles

-Trunk twisters

Movement Prep-20 yards down and back

-Forward/Backward jogging

-Lateral shuffle

-Forward/Backward skipping

-High knees/butt kicks

-1 legged hops

-Walking lunge w/ OH Reach

-Cradle walk/ high knee pull

Static Stretches

-Hip flexor stretch

-World’s greatest stretch

This is by no means the perfect warm up, however it is much better than what most college teams do. The flaws in this warm up include minimal mobility work, lack of activation work and lack of soft tissue work. In a perfect situation, I would have the team perform 5-10 minutes of soft tissue work prior to the warm up. Additionally, I would include fire hydrant circles, birddogs, x band works, TKE’s, the sleeper stretch and so on. We do not perform these movements for a couple reasons. I have 6-8 minutes to warm up the team and I obviously cannot assess 35 guys. I must choose movements that are easy to learn and have a good bang for your buck.

With this said here is a simple template to follow before you train in the gym.:

Pre Warm up- 5-10 minutes

Soft tissue work-IT band, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, calves, lats, pecs, back (lower, middle, upper) and the infraspinatus. You should spend extra time on whatever is especially tight.

Dynamic Warm up- 10-15 minutes

Basic Calisthenics- squats, jumping jacks, lunges, push ups

Mobility work- fire hydrant circles, birddogs, bridges, floor wipers

CNS work- jump training (quick bursts, very short duration)

Static Stretches– Hip Flexor, lat, sleeper stretch,

And there you have it, my guide to a complete warm up. Please keep in mind that your warm up should prepare you for your training session by increasing your core temperature, exciting your central nervous system and improving mobility. It should by no means exhaust you so much that it effects your training. While it should take you more than 5 minutes to warm up it should definitely not take you more than 15 minutes either. If you’re spending more than 15 minutes warming up, cut the bullshit and get to work.

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