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Posted: 7/23/2013 9:55:48 AM EST
What should your warmup sets be? How do you calculate that? And how much rest between warm sets? How many reps?

Like for example if right now my working sets for squats are 3x5 squats at 160 lbs
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 10:18:38 AM EST
I have been looking for good warm up info also.

What I have been doing is something like this, using your 160 as an example-

110 5 reps.
120 4 reps.
130 3 reps.
150 1 or 2 reps.

and then rest a bit before starting my working sets.

My rest is the time it takes to change plates for warm ups. For working sets I rest long enough to feel like I can complete the next set with some effort.

I was at 190 and had life intervene and I am building back up. Last night was 105#, wimpy I know, but I'll get back to where I was and beyond soon enough.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 10:38:29 AM EST
Dont be embarrassed by what you are lifting. There are dudes here that 165 is like their first warmup set. Lol.

The thing is to maintain form. Idiots are the ones that try to lift too much in order to appear not "weak"
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 10:41:15 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/23/2013 10:42:20 AM EST by BozemanMT]
i think warmup sets are pretty individual.

For me, I like a lot of warmups with high reps, (I'm old), working my way up thru the ladder of weights rather quickly to arrive at working/hard sets.

if it was 160lbs, I'd probably do 3 sets of 10 just to get there
1 set of 10 with just the bar (45lbs) just for form
1 set of 10 at 95
1 set of 10 at 125
and 1 set of 10 at 145

then go to the work sets.
Rest is whatever rest you need to be ready for the next set. The first couple should go pretty fast (almost back to back, it's pretty light) then it gets longer in between.

but it's up to you, what you like to do and more importantly what keeps you from being injured.

I'm sure there will be a lot of viewpoints on this.

Link Posted: 7/23/2013 10:59:28 AM EST
I'll usually do 40%x5, 50%x5, and 60%x3 of my working set. And by usually, I mean I rarely do all 3 sets of warmup.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 11:04:51 AM EST
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Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
I'll usually do 40%x5, 50%x5, and 60%x3 of my working set. And by usually, I mean I rarely do all 3 sets of warmup.
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Right, I'm probably just over thinking this. It's just to warmup and stretch the muscle, amiright?
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 11:31:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By ArmyInfantryVet:
What should your warmup sets be? How do you calculate that? And how much rest between warm sets? How many reps?

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Like for example if right now my working sets for squats are 3x5 squats at 160 lbs


So if my work set was 160 I'd do this:

bar x5
95# x5
125# or 135# x5

work sets

It's somewhat individual though. IMO its always smart to warmup with the bar then hit 1-3 sets before work sets, depending on how heavy you go. Don't make 10 jumps though, that's silly.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 12:05:56 PM EST
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Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
I'll usually do 40%x5, 50%x5, and 60%x3 of my working set. And by usually, I mean I rarely do all 3 sets of warmup.
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I am a little bit older but my warmup starts out with 5-7 minutes on the bike...whether I am benching or squating. Then

2 sets of 5 @ bar
1 set of 5 @ 40%
1 set of 5 @ 50%
1 set of 3 @ 60%

That will work while you are at 160lbs. When you get older and higher you need to do warmups. I do not agree with SoonerBorn...never skip warmups.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 12:43:47 PM EST
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Originally Posted By tcataz:



I am a little bit older but my warmup starts out with 5-7 minutes on the bike...whether I am benching or squating. Then

2 sets of 5 @ bar
1 set of 5 @ 40%
1 set of 5 @ 50%
1 set of 3 @ 60%

That will work while you are at 160lbs. When you get older and higher you need to do warmups. I do not agree with SoonerBorn...never skip warmups.
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Originally Posted By tcataz:
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
I'll usually do 40%x5, 50%x5, and 60%x3 of my working set. And by usually, I mean I rarely do all 3 sets of warmup.



I am a little bit older but my warmup starts out with 5-7 minutes on the bike...whether I am benching or squating. Then

2 sets of 5 @ bar
1 set of 5 @ 40%
1 set of 5 @ 50%
1 set of 3 @ 60%

That will work while you are at 160lbs. When you get older and higher you need to do warmups. I do not agree with SoonerBorn...never skip warmups.

Yeah I usually row, run or bike first too, and I have a few other things I always do. Then warmup sets.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 1:22:50 PM EST
Do you know your maxes for the lifts you're using? You could calculate warmup sets real easy if you have that. i do the same warmup tcataz does with the percentages based off a training max that equals 90% of my actual max for the given lift -- so the percentages are actually lower for my max, but as-is for training purposes.

Wendler's recommendation for warming up includes using a 'base weight' such as 95lb for upper body lifts and 135lb for lower body lifts and working to your first workset from there. The increments he suggests are 10% jumps (of your training max). So depending on how much weight you'll have on the bar, you may have more warmup sets for one lift than another.

Sometimes even a warmup set doesn't feel right. I don't mean in a painful or uncomfortable way, more like a a out-a-whack sorta thing, sloppy, & could be better... so i'll repeat a warmup set or two until I get grooved in, then I'll hit the worksets. They are supposed to be warmup sets so they shouldn't detract from your worksets, in fact they should give'em a boost! My warmup sets aren't over 5 reps a set and get tapered to 3 reps. And I usually rest a little longer than i'd like, but nothing too long or obnoxious
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 1:36:57 PM EST
do more empty bar work for technique perfection.

2 sets of 10 with just the bar AFTER all my other mobility and warmup/activation exercises...

Then I'll start going up by Quarters and plates...
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 2:25:55 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Saur:
Do you know your maxes for the lifts you're using? You could calculate warmup sets real easy if you have that. i do the same warmup tcataz does with the percentages based off a training max that equals 90% of my actual max for the given lift -- so the percentages are actually lower for my max, but as-is for training purposes.

Wendler's recommendation for warming up includes using a 'base weight' such as 95lb for upper body lifts and 135lb for lower body lifts and working to your first workset from there. The increments he suggests are 10% jumps (of your training max). So depending on how much weight you'll have on the bar, you may have more warmup sets for one lift than another.

Sometimes even a warmup set doesn't feel right. I don't mean in a painful or uncomfortable way, more like a a out-a-whack sorta thing, sloppy, & could be better... so i'll repeat a warmup set or two until I get grooved in, then I'll hit the worksets. They are supposed to be warmup sets so they shouldn't detract from your worksets, in fact they should give'em a boost! My warmup sets aren't over 5 reps a set and get tapered to 3 reps. And I usually rest a little longer than i'd like, but nothing too long or obnoxious
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Never tried a 1 rep max. Afraid I'd need a spotter, and I have none.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 2:27:12 PM EST
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Originally Posted By darktide:
do more empty bar work for technique perfection.

2 sets of 10 with just the bar AFTER all my other mobility and warmup/activation exercises...

Then I'll start going up by Quarters and plates...
View Quote

So you're using an empty bar for all your warmup sets and then you add the weight for your working sets?
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 3:20:54 PM EST
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Originally Posted By tcataz:



I am a little bit older but my warmup starts out with 5-7 minutes on the bike...whether I am benching or squating. Then

2 sets of 5 @ bar
1 set of 5 @ 40%
1 set of 5 @ 50%
1 set of 3 @ 60%

That will work while you are at 160lbs. When you get older and higher you need to do warmups. I do not agree with SoonerBorn...never skip warmups.
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Originally Posted By tcataz:
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
I'll usually do 40%x5, 50%x5, and 60%x3 of my working set. And by usually, I mean I rarely do all 3 sets of warmup.



I am a little bit older but my warmup starts out with 5-7 minutes on the bike...whether I am benching or squating. Then

2 sets of 5 @ bar
1 set of 5 @ 40%
1 set of 5 @ 50%
1 set of 3 @ 60%

That will work while you are at 160lbs. When you get older and higher you need to do warmups. I do not agree with SoonerBorn...never skip warmups.

I didn't advise him to skip them, just stated that I often just do two sets of warmups.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 4:47:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/23/2013 4:47:59 PM EST by 007Kevin]
I do an active warm-up 5-15min jog/run/walk, a couple running drills, leg swings, and a few body weight squats. Sometimes just a 5min bike and some body weight squats and get to it, even if it is legs.

Link Posted: 7/23/2013 5:42:51 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/23/2013 5:43:45 PM EST by RatherBeLifting]
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Originally Posted By ArmyInfantryVet:

Right, I'm probably just over thinking this. It's just to warmup and stretch the muscle, amiright?
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Originally Posted By ArmyInfantryVet:
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
I'll usually do 40%x5, 50%x5, and 60%x3 of my working set. And by usually, I mean I rarely do all 3 sets of warmup.

Right, I'm probably just over thinking this. It's just to warmup and stretch the muscle, amiright?

It's also "greasing the groove". Your warmup sets should be done focusing on the same technique that you're going to use on your working sets. Use the same cues you would with a working set.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 6:06:31 PM EST
For squats, bench and deadlifts I get all of my general mobility and warm up movements out of the way, and then do 2 sets of 15-20 @ 135.

I then get in to whatever my routine is for the day.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 8:27:40 PM EST
This is one thing I like about doing pyramid routines. It is a very easy and natural progression to go from warming up on into your working sets. The first set or two is actually a warm-up that is built into the routine from the start. Though there are many ways to do them, this is one example using the bench press. I'll start with something light that I can easily do 10 reps with, or actually, I'll warm up with something I can do 20 reps with if I choose and often I do. That would be something on the order of 95-115 lbs. Then I'd up it to 135 and bench that 10 times. I'd then up it to 155 and do 6 reps. Next would be a set of 4 at 185. I'd then go up to 205 and try to get in 2 or 3 reps. I might stop there as that is getting just a bit north of 90% of my 1 rep max. But sometimes I'd opt to go up to 210 or 215 and try to get an actual 1 rep max if feeling saucy. But a word of caution here...I would only do this alone if I had a power rack to lift within. In fact, I'd recommend a power rack even if only handling light weights and not lifting to the point of failure even with a spotter present. Accidents happen. Things go wrong. It is nice to have something to help mitigate Murphy. Then, after doing my heaviest weights, I would drop back down to about 155 and do as many reps as I can possibly do. If I can get it 6 times again like I did on the way up, then great. If not, that is alright too. This is after all an exhausting routine. But if I can get 8 reps, then I'll do it. Lots of people hate the pyramid and it does have its drawbacks. But it also has some positives that I like and I find it extremely effective for gaining strength and maximizing hypertrophy. You know that "pump" that Arnold described? Nothing gives me more of a pump than blasting my muscles with a good pyramid routine. But I only pyramid on the big exercises...squat, bench, etc. There isn't a whole lot to be gained by doing isolation work that way. I just stick to straight sets for that stuff.

That said, I don't want to over-do things during the warming up phase. I never use more than two sets of what I'd call "warm-ups" prior to getting into the working sets. Finding that optimal balance is key. My goal is to get that blood pumping into my muscles so that I'm ready to tackle the heavier weight. But I don't want to do so much warming up that I've expended a great deal of energy that could otherwise be directed toward the heavier lifts. I think this is why so many people have a big bitch about pyramid routines. They wear themselves out before they hit the working sets. For me, one or two warm-up sets is just fine. That leaves me with plenty of juice in the tank for the heavier stuff. And granted, what I lift isn't really heavy. It is actually lame. But it is what I can do while maintaining proper form. I am sure I could probably add an extra 5 or 10 lbs to my bench if I cheated. But then what good would that be doing? I'll add my 5 lb gains honestly by doing it right. And for the record, the above numbers aren't even current. That was about where I was when I lifted before. I'm just getting back into things and I'm not going to exceed 3 sets of any given exercise until my body gets back into the game. I'll postpone the 5+ set compound lifts until I've progressed far enough to go to a split where I do upper body on Mon/Thur and lower body of Tues/Fri. For now I'll stick with a 3 day a week routine in which I focus pretty much exclusively on bench pressing, squatting, dead lifting and maybe some military presses here and there. For anyone just starting out and reading this thread, that would be my recommendation.

Oh, and one more thing for anyone new who is unfamiliar with pyramiding. The example I posted above isn't a starting or stopping point. Just as with any other routine (5x5 or whatever you use), the number is always a moving target. While the warm-up set/s will always be done with relatively light weight, you will constantly be striving to up your working sets in 5 to 10 lb increments. But I only choose to advance to the next goal once I have demonstrated I can complete each set with the given number of reps desired for each specific weight. This is another thing I love about a pyramid routine when compared to straight sets. It seems I am much less prone to hitting plateaus when pyramiding. But everyone is different and your mileage will vary. The flip side is that many believe starting your working sets with the heaviest weights will find you in the best energy state for lifting, thus maximizing what you do. And there is merit to that thinking. But I still favor the natural progression from light to heavy as I think it somewhat helps reduce the risk of injury. And that isn't science, just personal opinion. Take it with a grain of salt, or a scoop of protein.
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 9:10:20 PM EST
Depends on the exercise. Usually 10-12 @ 60% or so working weight. If I'm going heavy for singles, doubles, or triples, I like to pyramid up doing 3-5 at every increment. It's largely a matter of what works for you. A good warmup set or sets will generally get the main muscle groups involved feeling a little pumped, but not at all fatigued.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 5:38:39 AM EST
My squat warm up:

Bar x10
95 x10
135 x10 (two sets at times)
185 x5
225 x5
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 5:54:56 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
This is one thing I like about doing pyramid routines. It is a very easy and natural progression to go from warming up on into your working sets.......SNIP.............
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Except he is doing a Starting Strength type routine so the warm-up for it will be different then a pyramid scheme.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 7:02:24 AM EST
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Originally Posted By RatherBeLifting:

It's also "greasing the groove". Your warmup sets should be done focusing on the same technique that you're going to use on your working sets. Use the same cues you would with a working set.
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Originally Posted By RatherBeLifting:
Originally Posted By ArmyInfantryVet:
Originally Posted By SoonerBorn:
I'll usually do 40%x5, 50%x5, and 60%x3 of my working set. And by usually, I mean I rarely do all 3 sets of warmup.

Right, I'm probably just over thinking this. It's just to warmup and stretch the muscle, amiright?

It's also "greasing the groove". Your warmup sets should be done focusing on the same technique that you're going to use on your working sets. Use the same cues you would with a working set.


Agreed, if you are doing bench then do some light sets of bench, bar, add some weight, add some weight add some weight until you feel like you are good to start your working sets. Same goes for any exercise. Don't worry about % of max, just go by feel. I have always started with the bar or body weight until I feel like my joints are ready for more stress before even adding weight to my warm up sets.

If you also like to ride/jog/walk/row to get the body loose in general and you like to do that then do that too.

Number one rule, don't over think it.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 7:23:00 AM EST
There's actually a warm up smartphone app available from RIpp if you really don't want to think about it at all.

http://startingstrength.com/index.php/site/products/

I thought it was odd that someone would actually go to all the trouble of creating an app for this.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 11:42:03 AM EST
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Originally Posted By ArmyInfantryVet:

So you're using an empty bar for all your warmup sets and then you add the weight for your working sets?
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Originally Posted By ArmyInfantryVet:
Originally Posted By darktide:
do more empty bar work for technique perfection.

2 sets of 10 with just the bar AFTER all my other mobility and warmup/activation exercises...

Then I'll start going up by Quarters and plates...

So you're using an empty bar for all your warmup sets and then you add the weight for your working sets?


I think he means he warms up by using and switching out 25lb and 45lb plates toward his first workset.
Link Posted: 7/24/2013 1:56:57 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Saur:


I think he means he warms up by using and switching out 25lb and 45lb plates toward his first workset.
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Originally Posted By Saur:
Originally Posted By ArmyInfantryVet:
Originally Posted By darktide:
do more empty bar work for technique perfection.

2 sets of 10 with just the bar AFTER all my other mobility and warmup/activation exercises...

Then I'll start going up by Quarters and plates...

So you're using an empty bar for all your warmup sets and then you add the weight for your working sets?


I think he means he warms up by using and switching out 25lb and 45lb plates toward his first workset.


exactly....that is what I now do that I am at heavier weight.

The OP is doing 160 lbs so 25 and 45lb might be too big of jumps. That would give him bar, 95lbs, and 135lbs for warmup...which might be enough unless he is old and stiff like me.
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