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Workout Routine Warmups

The importance of a proper warmup cannot be overlooked.  Yes, a warmup takes time but it also helps prevent injury and injuries are one of the biggest obstacles to training progress.  A warmup I like to perform is several minutes of walking on the treadmill then some light stretches or calisthenics for all major muscle groups and most important of all is at least one lighter-weight set of the movement you are about to perform prior to doing your first heavy set.  Note that if you have been doing a pushing movement such as chest work and then proceed to an exercise such as biceps or back which works a different muscle group, a warmup set for the other muscle group is also recommended. 

But the benefit of a warmup is not merely to prevent injury.  Recently I was doing legs and after some time on the treadmill and stretches was proceeding to the squat rack.  Another individual was already at the station and had 225 on the bar which is normally my first heavy set.  I would normally do two warmup sets prior to this weight but since I had asked if I could work in, I felt it would be inconvenient to have to remove the plates and put them back them back on again.  So contrary to best practice, I proceeded with 225 for the first set.  That was the heaviest 225 pound squat I believe I had ever done since high school!!!  I thought perhaps I should just stick at this weight as today I'm  not feeling very strong.  But on the next set I moved the weight up anyway and believe it or not 245 was actually lighter than 225!!!  Ok, at least it felt that way.  But the point is your body needs to gradually pyramid up rather than just jumping into a maximum attempt.