My Warmup is Your Workout

by cpblogadmin August 12, 2014

You finally get to the gym. Your sanctuary. Your therapy. The highlight of your day.

It’s chest day, your favorite. You lay down on the bench and start crushing 135lbs on your way to the glory swole.

No warm up, just lifting. I’ve seen way too many bro’s fall in to this trap. I used to fall in to it myself for the longest time.  I get it…you spent all day at a shitty internship, reading for the summer class you should have never taken, or whatever bullshit is keeping you from your daily dose of iron, trust me bro’s I have been there and feel your pain…you just want to get under the bar and move weight!


Let me offer the solution! Once I learned how to properly warm up my body and prime my muscles my workouts were better and way more enjoyable…


Before we dive in too deep (that’s what she said…couldn’t resist) lets understand why warming up is so important…

1)     Warm ups increase body temperature, which helps improve flexibility, range of motion, and literally warms your body up. I live in Northern Vermont, it was -34 degrees for an entire week this winter, the warm up is my BFF at this point…

2)     Proper warm ups engage your Central Nervous System. Before big lifts that require a lot of muscles or complex movements (O-lifts, Squats, Deads, etc.) you want to make sure the CNS is primed so that we can get optimal muscle recruitment.

3)     This is an opportunity to challenge your weaknesses even on a day where you might not be focusing on them. I love working chin/pull  ups in to my warm up on lower body days. I suck at pull ups so any chance I get to add some reps, I take! Plus a little pump on leg day is always a bonus.

4)     It gives you a chance to casually sip your preworkout  instead of chugging it in the locker room (surprise win!).


Overall, a well executed warm up will decrease your chance of injury, improve flexibility, challenge your body to the point where it will beg to push bigger loads, and even leave you a little sweaty!


Your warm up doesn’t have to be some soft warm up sets or a walk on the treadmill…something every bro is guilty of… I have put together some bad ass warm ups that have crushed both myself and clients. All you need to do is spare about 8 minutes of your valuable swell-sesh to ensure your workout is just that!


Tricks of the Trade


Here are a few moves that I love doing before my workouts along with a few tricks that I use to keep myself loose and ready to go.


Shoulder Dislocators aka Up and Overs:

Find a long (6-7 feet) dowel or PVC pipe…it can be anything as long as it’s something long and light (again, that’s what she said…) put your hands as far apart as you can. Keeping your arms straight move the bar from your stomach to your back then back to your stomach again. Do 5 up and overs then slide your hands an inch closer and do 5 more. Repeat this process until you can no longer complete the range of motion. Go back to the hand position just before that and do 30 more reps without stopping.


This move is typically the first thing I do before any workout, upper or lower. Loosening up the shoulder joint before squats, getting the lats working before chin ups, and getting a full range of motion before presses…up and overs cover everything. Really challenge yourself with this move…every day try and get your hands in a little closer.


Overhead Squat:


I know, I know….squats are for leg days…listen up, the overhead squat hits almost every muscle and warms up the shoulders. Loosening up the lower back, lats, shoulder joint while knocking in some fresh blood to the quads, glutes, and hammys sounds like a super win to me.


Take the same object you used for the up and overs, lock out those elbows and bring the bar overhead. From this position looking forward you should not see the bar or your arms. With your feet shoulder-width apart and the bar just behind your head (arms still locked) go in to a full squat. That tightness you feel in your lats and traps? A prime example of targeting your weaknesses in the warm 3 squats and then slide your hands an inch closer, keep repeating this until you can not keep your arms straight.


Elephant Walk:


You’re going to want some space to do this move…either where people do walking lunges, or if there is a basketball court, tennis, or racquet ball area grab a section and bust these out…make sure to bring your ‘up and over’ stick with you so you can just crank all these out.


Getting down on to all 4’s you’re going to stick your hips up in the air by keeping your legs 100% straight. Yeah, wake up those hamstrings! Keeping your arms and legs straight, slowly start to ‘elephant walk’’ll find that when you reach your arm forward you will feel a stretch through your lat and when you move your legs there are those hamstrings again. Aim to get 10-12 slow, reaching, steps per side.


Don’t let your ego distract you from elephant walks. This is hands down one of the best ways to stretch/warm up your hamstrings as well as improve overhead mobility by stretching and working your lats. If you’ve ever been a wrestler in the past you know how much animal movements suck physically and mentally.



Putting everything together…here are the warm ups I like to do before my

upper and lower days. Side note- I do the same upper body warm up regardless of the muscle group I am assaulting.


Upper-body Warm-up‘Up and Overs’ x 50 repsOverhead Squat x 15 slow reps

Jumping Jacks x 15

Walking Lunge with a Twist x 10 per leg

Iron Cross x 5 per leg


5,4,3,2,1 Rep Scheme with Push up/ Chin up

15lb Dumbbell Circuit:

Upright row x 5

Overhead Press x 5

Arnold Press x 5

Front Raises x 5

T-Raises x 5

Bent over Row x 5

*Complete two times through*


Elephant Crawl x 12 steps per arm/leg

Lower-body Warm-up‘Up and Overs’ x 50 repsOverhead Squat x 15 slow reps

Jumping Jacks x 15

Walking Lunge with a Twist x 10 per leg

Iron Cross x 5 per leg


5,4,3,2,1 Rep Scheme with Push up/ Chin up

Floor Bridge or “Glute Bridge” x 15 reps

Physioball Hamstring Curl x 20 reps

Box jumps 3×5*

From here now I’ll start with roughly 50% of my 1RM and do a couple sets of  whatever move I am going in to first. I use this set to feel out the muscles I want to activate and get very form intensive.


*If you don’t have plyo boxes or ate shit on a box in the past, feel free to sub in squat jumps instead*



My workouts are generally an hour long. I don’t like spending tons of time warming up, but I see the importance in doing so. When done with minimal bullshit in between, these warm ups literally take 10-12 minutes or less. The longest part is the three sets of box jumps, but those are real-deal if you have big enough boxes that challenge you. Up your meathead game! Take the time and crush your warm up like you crush the iron…you’re muscles will thank you!




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