There is no set protocol as to how to warm up.
My general rules for warming up when looking to do a heavy compound lift are:
1. Literally warm up, get the heart rate increased. 2. Stretch/foam roll any areas that may need it. 3. Mobilise with dynamic movmenents. 4. Mimic/actually do the planned first movement. 5. Hit your working weight with the planned movement.
Warm up roughly around the working reps. Ramp the weight up in a logical manner. If you are feeling like you need extra volume, add reps, sets, or intra-set mobilising. Some days just need slightly longer warm ups than others.
Through experience you will probably find you prefer slow/fast reps, high/low volume, variation B over variation A.
Check out my video on warming up here:
In this video I have filmed me warming up for bench press and explaining warming up in general.
Most of this video applies to lifts that are of heavy loads such as the big 3 (squat bench and deadlift) and any similar derivative.
This is half way through my workout, where I’ve already back squatted, and then followed it with a squat variant, so I’m plenty warm and I’ve already done my warm up routine.
For my general whole body warm up (of which the upper half is what I do for my bench warm up) go here:
I also mention pec smashing, go to my video here if you want to find out what that is:
I also add in a number of differing movements to warm up in general and for bench press.
Always start with the bar (some exceptions may exist in this rule, some people who bench very heavily may find they can’t get tight when benching too light, we’ll let those people off). Then warm the weight up to your working weight.
So, in my video I’m working up to 90kg for 3 reps. My warm up goes like so:
- 60 x 5
- 70 x 5
- 80 x 3
- 85 x 3
I prefer low volume warm ups. Find what suits you, you may prefer higher volume in the ways of more reps and more sets. I would suggest having a logic in how you up the weights. Let’s say someone is warming up to 200 x 3, I would argue the following is not ideal:
- 60 x 5
- 200 x 3
We need to ‘grease the groove’, and get a feel for heavier weights. We want to get the muscles used to firing up to handle such heavy weights, as well as patterning the movement and knowing how it feels to get good reps, in a good position. What I would suggest is better is:
- 70 x 5
- 110 x 5
- 150 x 3
- 180 x 3
- 190 x 3
Even then, find what suits you of course, this is just a guide. But comparing those 2 examples, I’d suggest the latter would get you repping out 200kg for 3 reps with much higher efficiency and a reduced risk of injury. I hope all of this makes sense.
Thanks for reading/watching!