Thursday, 22 September 2011

The barbell warm-up complex

Everyone in the gym has their own warm-up routine. Some do a few light sets of the exercise they begin with, some do a light jog on the treadmill for 10 minutes, some fools stretch out their shoulders before training legs (by the way, stretching as a warm-up is something you shouldn’t be doing! Current clinical and practical studies have shown stretching before your workout will have a dramatic impact on the weight you can lift and we’re not in primary school PE class anymore) and some people don’t even bother with a warm up.  In this post I will present the warm-up routine I use and believe to be the fastest most efficient way to prepare your whole body before any strength training workout.

So why bother warming up? Quite simply the warm up prepares the body for ultimate performance. Whether it be in training, practise or competition. The warm up will raise the core temperature, mobilise joints and help prevent injuries.
What is a complex? A complex is actually simple. Choose 2 or more exercises using the same implement and load (in this case an empty barbell) and perform the exercises back to back without putting the bar down or resting between exercises.  For my warm up complex I perform 6 exercises. Each exercise for 5 reps then without resting I would move onto the next. I would go through this circuit just once. I would then supplement this with some mobility work like shoulder circles and spine mobility.
To me 10 minutes on a treadmill as a warm up is a bit of a waste of time. Sure it gets your heart rate up, but it’s not very functional in terms of joint mobility and warming the muscles through a full range of motion. The barbell warm-up complex is as follows:

A. Hang jump shrug x 5
B. Power clean x 5
C. Push press x 5
D. Front squat x 5
E. Bent over barbell row x 5
F. Romanian deadlift x 5
Shoulder circles x 10 seconds (not pictured)
Spinal mobility: lateral flexion x 5 each side (not pictured)
Spinal mobility: lateral rotation x 5 each side (not pictured)
 If you find an Olympic bar to heavy try a 10kg fixed weight barbell or weighted aerobic stick as an alternative.  It looks long written down, but takes less than 5 minutes to complete then it’s straight to it like there’s nothing to it!...