Hail to the Dinosaurs!
People often ask me about warm-up sets.
Usually it's the newbies, but not always.
The question goes something like this:
On your 5 x 5 program, you say to do
four progressively heavier warm-up
sets, followed by one working set
with your heaviest weight for the
What's the point of doing so many
Why not just do the one heavy set?
After all, that's the only set that
builds strength and muscle -- right?
No Name Given"
My answer is always the same. It goes
something like this:
"Dear No name,
Thanks for your question. I think that
warm-up sets are vitally important --
and I think they have major strength
and muscle-building effects -- but
only if you do them the right way.
Once you reach the point where you're
handling a reasonable amount of weight
in any given exercise, you'll do far
better in it if you do several warm-up
sets before your heavy set. You'll
also reduce the risk of an injury
enormously. Lifting heavy with cold
muscles is an invitation to disaster.
Athletes in all sports perform
extended warm-ups before practice
and before competition. You should
do the same.
You also should use your warm-up sets
to establish precise movement patterns.
In other words, use the warm-up sets
as "rehearsal" for the heavy set. By
doing 15 to 20 warm-up reps (spread
over three to five warm-up sets) you
greatly increase the odds of performing
perfect reps in your heavy set.
Also -- and this is what separates a
truly successful trainee from the rest
of the world -- you should practice
concentration and visualization
drills between your warm-up sets.
After each warm-up set, load the bar,
then find a quiet place and stand or
sit and close your eyes -- and see
the next set. Watch yourself perform
the set from start to finish, rep by
rep, in perfect form, with total
focus and intensity.
Then, when it's time, do the set --
and do it perfectly -- exactly as you
Use the concentration and visualization
drills to tie your workout together.
Make it a unified series of mental
and physical efforts from start to
That's one of the most important benefits
of the 5 x 5 program or any other system
where you perform multiple sets of
progressively heavier warm-up sets
before you get to the heavy sets.
It's a perfect way to link your mind
and your body for the entire workout.
Remember -- perfect practice makes
perfect performance. Your warm-up
sets are an opportunity for perfect
As always, thanks for reading and
have a great day. If you train today,
make it a good one!
Yours in strength,
P.S. Here are some great training courses for
P.S. Go here for other terrific training books
and Dinosaur Training DVD's -- and the world
famous Legacy of Iron series:
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "It's the little
things that make a difference." -- Brooks Kubik