A huge mistake I see in the gym every week is that many lifters don't recognize the importance of a proper warm-up. Some lifters perform a wimpy, worthless warm-up that consists of 1 set of 20 reps using the weight of the bar and others neglect the warm-up process altogether.
A proper warm-up will help you in both the short and long term because of these two reasons...
1) A proper warm-up will increase the amount of weight that you are able to lift during your actual workout, thereby maximizing muscle stimulation and growth.
2) You lower your odds of getting injured when you do a proper warm-up.
First, you will need 5 minutes of light cardiovascular activity. Use any basic piece of cardio equipment for this: a treadmill, recumbent bike, or rowing machine.
This basic cardio warm-up will not only lubricate your joints by increasing the secretion of synovial fluid but also raise your body's core temperature and stimulate your heart and lungs. While you do this basic 5-minute cardio warm-up, think about the workout that you will be performing.
Taking the time to mentally prepare yourself will help you with the battle that lies ahead. Remember, your mental attitude plays a vital role in your success, so it's important to prepare both your mind as well as your body.
Once you've completed those 5 minutes, move onto the final part of your warm-up. Pick the first major compound exercise of your workout, and perform 5 warm-up sets of that. To give you a clearer picture, if you were training legs using squats as your main exercise, do 5 warm-up sets of squats.
While doing this, use extremely light weights with high repetitions, and then gradually increase the resistance while lowering the number of repetitions. However, the most crucial aspect of these 5 warm-up sets is this:
NO MATTER WHAT, YOU MUST NOT TIRE OUT YOUR MUSCLES DURING THESE 5 SETS!
Remember, this is merely a warm-up that is designed to increase blood flow to the muscles and surrounding connective tissue. Its purpose is also to increase the amount of weight you will be able to lift on your muscle-building sets by preparing your mind and body for the heavy weights to come.
Here's an easy way of figuring the weights and rep ranges for your warm-up sets. These are percentage values of the weight you will use for the actual muscle-building set.
If you were planning on squatting 200 pounds, then the first set should be performed with 100 pounds for 10 reps as you can see below.
Set 1: 50% x 10 reps
Set 2: 60% x 6 reps
Set 3: 70% x 4 reps
Set 4: 80% x 3 reps
Set 5: 90% x 1 rep
Afterwards, move right into your actual workout. Don't ignore this weightlifting advice as the importance of this warm-up process is immense.
Prep for hard workouts with this weightlifting advice; it will go a long way in keeping you injury free. Plus, you're only investing another 15–20 minutes for major results.
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