Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Build up sets...or How to not "warm up" for lifting...

I do not "warm up" for my lifting - after a couple of bodyweight mobility squats I perform a build up to my work sets.

No I am not crazy (much) and I do this for a good reason...I am not after a "workout" I am after results...too much of a "warm up" becomes a whole other workout in my opinion.

And keep in mind that I am performing some sort of Z-health drills, foam roller, stretch/mobility work everyday (Yes - this is quickly becoming Z alone but you have to work with what you have) - so I am loose already (so to speak).

So this is how a typical squat day will go...
The build up for yesterday's workout - first work set @ 445
Bodyweight mobility squats x 1 or 2
Empty bar x 3-5
135 x 3-5
225 x 3-5
315 x 3-4
405 x 2 (add belt)
First work set

For last Thursday's training with a first work set of 495...
BW mobility squats x 1
empty bar x 3-5
135 x 3-5
225 x 3-5
315 x 3-5
405 x 1 (add belt)
455 x 1
First work set - 495 x 2

The build up sets are simply to get my groove and prepare my neurological system for the load - true my muscles, joints, etc... are "working" to handle the load but I look at the build up sets as a neuro prep.
(And I rest a LOT between sets.)

If you are 1/2 an hour into your training before you are "loose" enough to get under the bar or you have doubled my volume in your "warm up" - you might want to ask yourself why you need a workout to get ready for your workout.

Powerlifters especially mistake stiffness for stability and accept loosing range of motion and freedom of motion as inevitable results of the training - and the "tighter" they are the better they can handle the load. And everyday trainees begin to accept loss of function and mobility are the result of aging etc...
I strongly disagree!

If you cannot move freely or efficiently you have a problem with your program - period!
And taking 1/2 your training time just to "oil" the joints enough to train is an indicator that you need to step back and re-evaluate what you doing.

So there you have bit of a long winded explanation of how I build up to my work sets.


Mark Reifkind said...

right on. it really can't be done any other way when you are talking about really heavy weights( and you are).You can't wear yourself out on the way up, especially when you have specific numbers you have to do that day.I always thought about it as just wanting to 'feel the weight' before I got to where I had to go.
ANd you have to stay square. You can't load a bent frame too much without it bending or breaking.
good post.

Aaron Friday said...

I couldn't agree more. Seems like the best preparation is to ease into the activity itself. Achieve the perfect form, prime the muscles, build up the proper mindset, and then go.

Save energy for the heavy sets.

Royce said...

Awesomw dude, great post. This MORE than answers my question from the last post, thank you very much.

Brett Jones said...

Thanks Rif, Aaron, and Royce - saving the effort and energy for the heavy sets is the key!

Rick & The Family! said...


Do you think this also depends on the kinds of weight you are handling, gear use, etc.? When I am squatting 700+, my typical warm up looks like this:

add belt
add briefs
add suit
straps up

then my heavy work sets. I do this to warm up, but more so to ease into the gear. Each time you add a piece of gear you have to fight your form from changing, so that takes time. Also, I just can't make huge jumps. I need to mentally hit my weights on the way up to be sucessful with over 700. I can imagine someone who squats 1000 has even more warmups.

Also, do you think the longer someone powerlifts, the more weight they lift (1000 pound squats, 700 pound benches, 800 pound deads) these guys are going to be stiff and sore and may need 30+ minutes just to get ready to go? Do you think that possibly handling that kind of weight, over time, wrecks the body, regardless?


Brett Jones said...

Rick - See above...

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