Following up from Mondays post about warming up.

Let’s take a theoretical athlete warming up to squat 155x5x3 (to be clear, that’s five reps for three sets). I’ll outline the athlete’s warm-up, and use it to illustrate a few points:


Don’t Let the Appetizer Spoil Your Dinner
First, and most importantly, notice that as the lifter nears their work weight, volume decreases, moving from 5 reps when its light all the way down to 1 when its fairly heavy. You want your warm-up to be just that—something to get you prepared for your work sets, without diminishing from them. While your brain understands the difference between 145 and 155 pounds, your body will distinguish very little between the two as far as fatigue is concerned. In this example, 145 represents 93.5% of the lifter’s working weight. A set of 5 at this weight would amount to that lifter performing something so close in stimulus to their work set that it is operationally indistinguishable. For a novice lifter who is working with very sub-max weights, this might not be a problem. For someone near the end of a linear progression or attempting something relatively challenging, this could be the difference between success and failure. Your last warm-up set is simply to prepare your body and mind for your heaviest weight of the day- your work sets.

Taper Your Jumps
The next thing to consider while looking at our theoretical lifter is that each jump in warm-up weight is slightly smaller than its precedent as the lifter nears their work sets. I’ll do the math for you:

45×5 (+45#)
85×5 (+40#)
120×3 (+35#)
145×1 (+25#)
155x5x3 (+10#)

The reasoning behind this is to make sure that as we move towards heavier weights we are being a bit more cautious with our jumps. This could be thought of as the “don’t dive headfirst into the freezing lake” effect.

This doesn’t need to be approached with the precision seen in our example. It is certainly most important for the last warm-up set or two and the jump between your last warm-up and work sets. Truth be told, I had to work backwards and massage the numbers a bit to make sure each jump was smaller than the one before it. When we account for the reality of time constraints, working with partners, and annoying 2.5# plates, this is simply a rough guideline to consider when planning warm-ups.

Know Your Body
Here comes the part when I tell you to that all of the preceding circuitous rambling is highly dependent on personal characteristics, preferences, and experience, and can vary from day to day. For instance, I know I like my last warm-up to be very close to my work weight—within 5 or 10 pounds. Others are more comfortable taking larger jumps, it’s highly personal. Over time you will learn what works for you, and some days you may feel like you need a little extra warm-up, either because you feel sore or cold or because you need some extra practice before “shit gets real.” Listen to your body, consult your journal, and don’t feel too locked into one specific way of doing things. Also, keep in mind that as your strength increases, your relative jumps must increase as well—don’t get stuck making the same jumps, or else you will need to either make a giant leap between warm-up and work sets or take about 9 warm-up sets to get to work weight.


Press/Chin up Superset*:


3×5 Linear Progression

Add 5lbs from last weeks working weight. Reminder, these are sets across. Meaning you will be using the same weight for all 3 working sets.

1B) Chin Ups:


These should be a “challenging” three. That will mean something different person to person. Be it less band than your used to or adding weight. Ask me if you don’t know where your at.

*Superset means that you perform a set of exercise A (in this case the Press) and then after a short rest, 30 seconds to a minute, you perform a set of exercise B (in this case the Chin ups). You then rest a short period before returning to exercise A and continue in this fashion until all warm up and work sets are completed.



AMRAP 10 Minutes:

Row 20 Calories
10 or 20 Push-Ups

Gauge intensity on how you feel. If you’re feeling great drop the hammer on this workout, if you’re not feeling so hot take it easier and work at a moderate pace.