Stuff You Aren’t Doing Hard Enough: Warming-Up

Bar for 10. 135 for 10. 225 for 5. 315 for 1. Jump into the first working set. Sounds familiar? Does this sound like your warm-up you shambling gorilla faced meat monger? If it does I have some advice for you: No. This is wrong. I am not going to explain the plethora of benefits to a structured warm-up process. If you found your way to this blog, then you know them already. What I am going to explain is a systematic organizational scheme to make sure you are doing everything you should be doing to make sure you are ready to smash some weights and do some work.


"Sorry bro, but you ever see a lion warm-up before it takes down a zebra, brah?"
“Sorry bro, but you ever see a lion warm-up before it takes down a zebra, brah?”

A common argument against an extended warm-up protocol is using hypothetical examples of some of natures BAMFs engaging in a murderous hunger driven blood lust to illustrate why nothing is needed before intense work. While this should be everyone’s attitude when they train, there are a few problems with this analogy.

First of all, are you seriously comparing yourself to one of natures most perfect killing machines? Most of the people that make this comment look like they could barely kill an entire 8oz hamburger patty, let alone a damn stripped horse running away from them. We go to work. We go to class. We sleep in crappy beds. We sit all day. We live our lives in an internally rotated box that is slowly killing us every time we drive a car, eat, text message, sob into our hands (everyone else does this on a daily basis, right?). The instance of lower back pain is something close to 90% of everyone on earth. This number is so high because everyone’s posture sucks. We are an entire species of beings that will basically all experience debilitating chronic pain in our lower backs because we are too lazy to sit up straight. The amount of tissue dysfunction (couple that with everyone on earth being chronically dehydrated) we all have is less like a meat frenzied predator of the wild and more like a slug that just shit itself to death.

But, a fucking lion doesn’t warm-up, so why should you? Lions also don’t bring their phones into the bathroom when they poop either. According to my page stats, I’d say a good 45% of you are reading this while pooping right now. If I were there, I would give you a high five… like, after you washed your hands and were out of the bathroom.

I know your secrets! Just make sure you wash your fecal fingers before you touch screen in that Pizza Hut order... you might want to wipe down the screen too.
I know your secrets! Just make sure you wash your fecal fingers before you touch screen in that Pizza Hut order… you might want to wipe down the screen too.

Secondly, some giant environmental nerd-ass guy did a couple studies on animals warming up in the wild. There is peer reviewed, scientific evidence that upon waking, animals stretch and will seem to randomly canter and jog in their immediate vicinity. That sounds a whole lot like a dynamic warm-up to me.  Jack rabbits will actually run sprints back and forth before they go out foraging (Hedlesky Journal of You Have Fingers So You Can Do a PubMed Search). We don’t even need to go deep into the wild to see the practical application of this. Watch your pets on a day to day basis. I am willing to bet your lazy ass house cat stretches a million times a day after each of its naps. On a side note, how did you find this place, cat person (sorry Gregg)?

Thirdly, I don’t know if you have looked around in a typical fitness center recently. We, as a species, look less and less like the hard jawed wooly mammoth genociding hunter gatherers we originated from and more like empty husks of comfortable complacent broken spirited zoo animals wrapped in whatever Lulu/Under Armor tight fitting t-shirt is cool this month. Nothing drives me more nuts than a group of tiny men talking training philosophies when they should be pooling all their cash together to go shut down the local McDonalds dollar menu. I don’t mean to be a dick here. Everyone needs to start somewhere. It just doesn’t need to be complicated. It does need to start with a structured warm-up.

There. Hopefully that is enough info to blow that stupid example out of the water. Next time someone brings it up, feel free to use all of this information to rip them to shreds. Don’t forget to end your fireman axe swing-like diatribe with a smarmy:

... yea, u mad.
… yea, u mad.

HedStrong Warm-up Protocol

Here is the exact sequence that I suggest warming up:

1. 10CM-10 minutes of constant movement. Personally, I like the rower or barbell complexes that mimic whatever you are working on for the day. Is it a squat/deadlift/lowerbody day? Grab an empty barbell and do 5 of each of the following: deadlifts, romainian deadlifts, straight leg deadlifts, power cleans, hang cleans, front squats, back squats, narrow stance good mornings, and wide stance good mornings. Repeat until 10 minutes is up and don’t put the bar down. For most people, this will be harder than your actual training session at first. To make it even more awesome, use voodoo bands around any hip, knee or ankle problem areas

2. Soft Tissue Un-Mess-Take a lax ball or a roller and completely hammer any and all soft tissue problems. Don’t move on to a new area until a change is made in a previous one. This is totally up to you what you want to do here. I suggest hitting 2 or 3 places for a couple minutes.

3. PNF Stretch Movement Problems- Does your hip extension suck? Pick a hip extension stretch and contrast/relax it for a few minutes. Ache in your thoracic spine? Traction your shoulder with a band and contrast/realx is for a few minutes. I don’t know exactly what to tell you here. These are your own personal issues. Work the crap out of them until they feel better.

4. Light Plyometrics-Med ball throws, low box jumps, whatever. Just make sure it is specific to the movements you are training and make sure they are low impact. 10 to 20 reps is plenty.

5. Heavy Plyometrics-These are high impact and these are nuts. Push the jump heights/distances, use reactive methods, you can/should even do some dynamic effort work with whatever your main lift of the day is. Keep these to 6 to 12 reps and go HARD.

6. Smash All The Weights.

There you go. Now, go get some work done!

Sprint. Kill. Eat…. but canter around for a little while first.




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