Workout Tips

The Lift Doctor: Warm-up Sets and Footwear for Deadlifts

Follow this prescription for better weight training results.

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The Lift Doctor: Warm-up Sets and Footwear for Deadlifts

“What percent of your 1RM should I use as a warm-up set?” – Peter Salas

There really isn’t anything set in stone for your warm-up sets. You can take as little or as many sets as you need. Sometimes when you’re beat up, you will need more prep to get ready. And, when you’re feeling good or you’re trying for a new PR for a specific lift, you’ll want to minimize the warm-up sets and just take as few as you need. 

The key, though, is to never skip the warm-up. It will prepare you for the workout, get the targeted muscle groups firing, and groove the movement pattern for the primary exercise.

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Here is a very simple warm-up sequence that I like to use:

Set 1:  barbell only x 10-20 reps
Set 2:  50% of the weight you’ll use for your first working set* x 8-10 reps
Set 3:  75% of the weight you’ll use for your first working set* x 3-5 reps

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* Example: Bench Press

If my workout calls for 4 sets of 8 reps for bench press and my first set will be 225 lbs, my warm-up will look like:

Set 1:  barbell only x 20 reps
Set 2:  50% x 225 lbs = 110 lbs x 10 reps
Set 3:  75% x 225 lbs = 165 lbs x 8 reps
Set 4:  225 lbs x 8 reps

And so on into the workout.

Meet the Lift Doctor

Jim Smith is a highly respected, world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. A member of the LIVESTRONG.com Fitness Advisory Board, Jim has been called one of the most "innovative strength coaches" in the fitness industry. Training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors, Jim has dedicated himself to helping them reach "beyond their potential." He is also the owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning in Elmira, NY.

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