Top Tips on Effective Warm-Ups for Dinos!

Retro lifting at Dino Headquarters always begins with a long, thorough and complete warm-up. It's a must for anyone, but a double must for an older lifter.

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Last week we talked about stretching, and
whether it was good or bad for you.

I noted that when I was in high school,
stretching was the big deal in athletics.

The coaches had us do all sorts of stretches
before and after every practice and every
competition. It was supposed to prevent

That theory has pretty much fallen by the
wayside over the years.

We've learned several important things,
and they've made coaches change what
they do.

Here's what we now know:

1. Too much stretching lowers a muscle's
strength and power potential -- so it's
NOT a good idea to do tons of stretching
before a heavy workout (or a football game
or a wrestling match or anything else
where strength and power is important).

2. Stretching can injure a "cold" muscle
or its attachments.

3. You get a better and fuller stretch when
the muscles and joints are warmed up and

For all of these reasons, most coaches
now have their athletes do stretching at
the end of a workout or a practice rather
than before.

Of course, some of us do need some
stretching before we train, usually for
a particular joint that needs extra work
to warm up and get loose. For example,
I always stretch my ankles before a

My workouts always begin with a good warm-up, followed by my first sets with an empty bar, and then gradually going up to heavier weights. Older trainees need longer warm-ups than younger trainees.

But most of my warming-up follows
these general guidelines:

1. The best way to prepare for a workout
(or a practice or a competition) is to do a
warm-up that involves light movements
rather than the static stretches we did
"back in the day".

a. For example, you might prepare for a
squatting or deadlifting workout by doing
deep knee bends with no added weight.

b. Or you might do squats, front squats
or overhead squats with a length of PVC
pipe or broomstick.

c. And you might use light Indian clubs to
loosen up your shoulders and upper back
before hitting the iron.

2. Do enough warming-up so that the joints
and the muscles are ready for the heavier
stuff, but don't do so many reps that you
start to get a pump. It's a warm-up, not
a workout. Five to ten deep knee bends (or
several sets of five to ten) may be all it

a. I usually do sets of three to five reps in
the overhead squat with a broomstick as
part of my warm-up. That's light and easy,
of course, but it does the trick.

3. Start light and perform the specific
exercise or lift you are planning to work --
and use a series of progressively heavier
warm-up sets performed in perfect form
to prepare you for the heavy stuff.

a. Remember that many or most top
weightlifters will start with the empty
bar for their first warm-up set -- even
if they work up to world-class weights
for their final sets.

4. Older trainees need more warming up
than younger trainees.

a. The older you get, the more time you
need to devote to your warm-ups.

b. At age 60, I now spend about 20
minutes on warm-ups before I even
touch the barbell -- and then I begin
with super light sets with the empty
bar and progress gradually from

The barbell doesn't need a warm-up, but YOU do!

5. If you have time to train, you have time
to do a proper warm-up.

6. During the warm-up, concentrate deeply
on what you are doing. Don't just "run
through" the warm-up movements and the
warm-up sets. FOCUS on them.

a. Use the warm-up to help shift from the
everyday world we live in to the inner
universe we lift in.

7. Concentration and focus means no talking,
no goofing around, no distractions and (gasp!)
no social media.

And that's my take on warming-up. It's not
complicated, but it's not like the stuff the
coaches had us do 40 years ago.

As always, thanks for reading and have a
great day. If you train today, make it a
good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. We had a three way tie for our most
popular training books last week. Do YOU
have them all?

Dinosaur Bodyweight Training

Dinosaur Dumbbell Training

Knife, Fork, Muscle

P.S. 2. My other books and courses --
including links to all of my e-books on
Kindle -- are right here at Dino

Hard-copy and PDF


P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Train smart,
and as you grow older, train smarter."
-- Brooks Kubik

We have 23 books in the Kindle bookstore. This the latest one. You can grab it right here: