Learning how to warm up before your working set can make all the difference. The reps may differ, but this is a common way we conduct our repeating movements for our programs at Paragon Training Methods.
We’ll use RDLs (Romanian Deadlifts) in our example here.
For all of our movements, we typically program optional warm-up sets. In a large compound movement like the RDL, we highly suggest that you do all of the optional sets to prime your body for what’s to come (:
For a less demanding movement, you can probably do just 1-2 warm-up sets and then get into work sets.
It will look something like this:
- Optional 10-15 reps at 30-50% of working weight
- 8-12 reps at 50% of working weight
- 4-6 reps at 75% of working weight
- Optional 1-2 reps at 85-90% of working weight
It’s important to understand that the “warm-up” sets are low-fatiguing. The earlier sets of higher reps are meant to be a super easy effort in which you are just beginning to prepare the muscles for the work ahead (less than 50% of the weight you’ll use for your first working set).
As the weight increases, we continue to prepare (but not fatigue) by lowering the reps. Even the final warm-up sets are for lower reps than the work sets (and with less weight). This will allow the body to feel the heavier load, such that there is a psychological and physiological adaptation that occurs, ensuring that the “work sets” don’t feel overwhelmingly heavy.
The Right Warm-Up For You
- If you are stronger, you may need 1-2 additional preparatory sets than what is prescribed.
- If you are not as strong, you may need fewer prep sets; but the principles all still apply!
You also will not need nearly as many warm-up sets for smaller muscle groups. Exercises like curls, shoulders, and triceps might require just one “feel it out” set before jumping into work sets.
For example, you might use 25-30# DBs for 6-8 reps before the work set with 40# DBs for 10-12 Reps.
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