There is only one way to learn (in my experience) and that’s the hard way. If you didn’t suffer, you’d keep on making the same mistakes repeatedly, right?


I think mistakes and the repercussions afterwards are the universe’s little reminders never to do it again. However, if you’re anything like me, you’ll end up making the same mistake more than once before it really sinks in. For example, me trying to win an argument with a woman.

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Not learning from your mistakes is like banging your head against a brick wall and then wondering why you have a headache.  The answer is usually right in front of your face.

That’s the way I feel when walk into any gym and see people making this one mistake constantly. It takes all my physical and mental fortitude not to rip the barbells from their chests and scream “Stop!”

You want to know what the mistake is?

It’s completely skipping the warm up.

Not warming up is like expecting your car to go from 0-60 MPH as soon as you turn the key. Still, some people expect their bodies to rev up on demand.

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Here are some good reasons to include a warm up if you don’t already.

  • It activates your central nervous system (CNS) priming your muscles for the work ahead.
  • It improves blood circulation to your working muscles
  • It leads to better flexibility and range of motion
  • There is less chance of a heavy barbell crushing your spine or chest

It provides an opportunity to work on your weakness and increase volume on an under-developed body part

However, before we go any further, a warm up is not walking on a treadmill while checking your Facebook feed or watching Oprah. This only warms up your legs and it doesn’t even do a good job of that.

A good warm up involves working on your ankle, hip and shoulder mobility and transferring the blood from your organs to your arms and legs. Does a treadmill do all of that? I think not.

Now that we are on the same page, let’s get into the nitty gritty of warming up.

Note – There are many ways if warming up, depending on your goals or injury history. The following examples are for healthy men and women before they crush the barbell.

 Here is an example of a warm up for a full body training. (Click on the link for a video demonstration).

  1. Crocodile breathing-5 breathes
  2. Dead bug-6 on each side
  3. Passive leg lowering-10 reps on each side
  4. Hip extensions-10 reps
  5. Six-point rocking-10 reps
  6. Yoga push up -8 reps
  7. Spiderman with reach -5 reps on each side
  8. Band pull apart- 25 reps
  9. Light goblet squats-10 reps

The warm up exercises 1, 2 and 3 involve setting your breathing pattern and a couple of low intensity core drills. People tend to spend most of the day breathing shallow, so a breathing exercise that reinforces deep breathing is an important exercise to start off with.

The low intensity core exercises help get your midsection muscles activated and primed for some iron. Exercises 4 and 5 are low intensity hip mobility drills which ensure you wake up your posterior before you train your legs.

Exercises 1- 5 are also an indicator to your body’s readiness for intense exercise. If they feel easy, then you’re ready to go. But if they feel difficult, you may want to take it easy when it comes to stacking plates on the barbell.

Exercise 6 and 7 are more intense as they combine hip/shoulder mobility and core stability to help get your body primed for what’s to come. Exercises 8 and 9 involve warming up with a load and further grooving the squat pattern. You love squats, right?

squat parlell

This warm up is not set in stone and can be changed to suit your needs. For instance, if you’re training legs you can take Yoga pushups and band pull apart out and insert some single leg work. For example

  1. Crocodile breathing-5 breathes
  2. Dead bug-6 on each side
  3. Passive straight leg raise-10 reps on each side
  4. Hip extensions-10 reps
  5. Six-point rocking-10 reps
  6. Spiderman with reach combo-5 reps on each side
  7. Bodyweight reverse lunge- 6 on each leg
  8. Bodyweight side/lateral lunge- 6 on each leg
  9.  Light goblet squats-10 reps

Or if you’re training the upper body and want to get more blood moving through your chest, shoulders, arms and back, you can change the warm up to look like this.

  1. Crocodile breathing-5 breathes
  2. Dead bugs-6 on each side
  3. Hip extensions with reach- 5 reps on each side
  4. Six-point rocking-10 reps
  5. Spiderman with reach -5 reps on each side
  6. T- spine rotations – 8 reps each side
  7. Inchworm with push up 6 reps
  8. Band pull apart- 25 reps
  9. Naked Turkish get up- 2 reps on each side

However, if you’re truly against warming up and/or you have no time to warm up, you can use ramp up sets to get your body ready for the barbell. For example, if your one rep max is 315 pounds you would ramp up as follows

Empty barbellx10 reps

135×8 reps (40% of 1RM)

165×6 reps (50% of 1 RM)

185×5 reps (60% of 1 RM)

225×3 reps (70% of 1 RM)

275×1 reps (90% of 1RM)

Ramping up sets gets your body ready to attack the barbell and provides some extra volume if muscle building or fat loss is your goal. It’s what you call win-win.

Wrapping up

No matter how much time you’ve got to exercise, you should always set aside some time to warm up. It’s of vital importance to your results and to keeping your body injury free.

You’ll have time for Oprah and Facebook later on. I promise.

If you need help designing your perfect warm up, please email me at


  1. swosei12blog

    Many times (like most folk), I neglect the warm up and cool down components of working out. However, I have been getting better at it . . . kinda.

  2. swosei12blog

    One of my main issues is some of the gyms that I visit have limited stretching space, especially doing rush hour. Also, the personal trainers have dibs on whatever stretching space is available for their clients.

  3. Balance Guy

    Don’t you have a pre existing back injury? You NEED to get better at this. 🙂

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