Warm-Up for Weightlifting

Several athletes have asked us for warm-up recommendations. We’re happy to provide some guidance.

We don’t currently specify warm-up exercises in our athletes' programs since we find that people often have very personal preferences for how to warm-up.

But make no mistake, you should definitely include a thorough warm-up before you train.

Here are some ideas to help you do that.

STRUCTURE AND PURPOSE

We recommend you warm-up in two parts: First begin with a general warm-up, then perform a specific warm-up.

The purpose of the general warm-up is to get you moving, clear the cobwebs, raise your body temperature, get your heart pumping and your blood flowing, and lubricate your joints.

The purpose of the specific warm-up is to further prime your body and your brain for movement, this time to more closely resemble and prepare for your training.

Now let’s look at examples of general and specific warm-ups.

GENERAL WARM-UP

The general warm-up usually shouldn’t resemble the activity you plan to perform for your training. It should be more general than that - hence the name.

Some people like to stretch or flop around on foam rollers. Some like to jog or jump rope. Weightlifters are known to perform a series of joint circles since often they train without much space.

We’ve included our favorite joint circle warm-up series in the video below.


The series in the video above consists of:

  1. Wrist circles
  2. Elbow circles
  3. Arm circles
  4. Neck circles
  5. Hip circles
  6. Good mornings
  7. Knee circles
  8. Ankle circles
  9. Air squats

We recommend you perform ten circles in each direction of each movement, and ten reps of the non-circular movements.

Once you’ve completed your general warm-up, it’s time to move into a specific warm-up.

SPECIFIC WARM-UP

The purpose of the specific warm-up is to further prime your body and your brain for movement, this time to more closely resemble the activity you are about to perform in training.

Basketball players use shooting drills. Volleyball players use hitting drills. Weightlifters typically start with basic barbell movements and progress to more dynamic movements, all with an empty (or very light) bar.

For a specific barbell warm-up, we usually recommend athletes start with the following series:

  1. Back Squat or Front squat
  2. Press
  3. Good Morning or RDL

We recommend five to ten reps of each exercise to begin your specific warm-up. You can move from the squats to the presses to the good mornings/RDLs as one long unbroken set. We usually recommend performing at least three sets with a rest of one to three minutes between each.

If you are planning to perform more complex lifts in your training, such as the snatch or clean & jerk, we recommend you perform some additional empty bar movements as well.

Following is an example of specific warm-up for the snatch.


The series in the video above consists of:

  1. Snatch-grip RDL
  2. Muscle snatch
  3. Snatch-grip press
  4. Overhead Squat
  5. Power Snatch
  6. Snatch

We recommend you perform three to five reps of each movement consecutively. You may perform the entire series anywhere from one to three times depending on your need (usually taking a brief rest between each round). You can perform this warm-up immediately prior to beginning any snatch-related portion of your training.

Following is an example of specific warm-up for the clean & jerk.


The series in the video above consists of:

  1. Rack stretch (learn more about this here)
  2. Front squat
  3. RDL
  4. Muscle clean to press
  5. Clean-grip overhead squat
  6. Power clean + push press
  7. Power clean + jerk
  8. Clean & jerk

Again, we recommend you perform three to five reps of each movement consecutively. You may perform the entire series anywhere from one to three times depending on your need (usually taking a brief rest between each round). You can perform this warm-up immediately prior to any clean & jerk-related portion of your training.

In addition to the videos above, we’ve also posted some warm-up ideas from TrainingIQ athletes on our instagram page. You can search for them on our page or using the hashtag #mywarmup.

We hope this post and these videos will arm you with the information you need to create and perform an effective warm-up of your own.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us through the app.

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