Contrary to popular belief, warming up and stretching aren’t the same thing.
A warmup increases the temperature within your muscles, and can include static or dynamic stretching. This increase in core temperature makes muscles more pliable, increases the range of motion around your joints, and leads to better performance in explosive movements.
It’s possible that dynamic stretching improves sprinting and jumping while static stretching can hinder these activities—at least according to a 2014 article published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning. And while the effects of stretching and warming on lifting performance warrants further research, doing a warmup will increase range of motion which in turn improves flexibility. Lifting heavy loads with stiff, inflexible muscles increase risk of injuries like sprains and strains.
To lift heavy weights, break records, and add slabs of muscle to your frame, you’ll need a great warmup to unlock your full potential before every workout. And we don’t mean a five-minute treadmill jog and some toe-touches followed by a 300-pound deadlift.
This comprehensive warmup will get your heart pumping and muscles ready to grow fast.
The ultimate heavy-lifting warmup
1) Foam roll
Spend a few minutes rolling your calves, quads, groin, IT band, glutes, upper back, and lats.
2) Child’s pose breathing
Duration: 8 breaths
Get into a child’s pose and round the entire length of your spine. When you inhale, breathe through your nose, expand your diaphragm, and focus on pushing your belly into your thighs. Exhale every last ounce of air from your lungs, hold for one second, and then inhale.
3) Hip flexor stretch
Duration: 30 seconds (each side)
Get on one knee with your feet inline and place your rear foot on top of a bench behind you. Squeeze the glute of your rear leg, push your hips forward, and feel a deep stretch through the front of your hips and quads. Switch sides. You can also do this on the floor.
4) Hip bridge
Lie on your back and bend your knees about 90-degrees. Squeeze your glutes, drive through your heels, and lift your hips. Avoid using your hamstrings or lower back. Keep heels on floor the entire time.
5) Wall slides
Stand with your head, shoulders, and glutes against a wall. Press your forearms flush against the wall. (There should be no space between your skin and the wall). Squeeze your glutes and press your lower back against the wall while sliding your forearms up and down the wall.
6) Wall ankle mobilization
Stand facing a wall with one foot a few inches away from the wall. Keep your heel on the ground and drive your knee over your middle three toes and touch the wall. Adjust the distance your foot is from the wall so that you get a good stretch in your ankles, avoid lifting your heel, and still touch the wall with your knee.
7) Spider-man lunge with overhead reach
With your left leg, lunge forward and left about 30-degrees. Place both hands on the ground while keeping your elbows locked and press your trailing knee to the ground. Squeeze the glute of the rear leg and extend your right arm straight overhead towards the ceiling while watching your hand with your eyes. Maintain a neutral arch in your lower back throughout. Stand up and switch sides.
Reps: 6 (each side)
8) Bear crawl
Distance: 15 yards
Get on all fours with your hands under shoulders and your knees under your hips; keep your knees an inch above the ground. Crawl forward by taking a small step with your right arm and left leg at the same time and alternate. Keep your hips low and your head up.
9) Turkish get-up
Reps: 3 (each side)
Lie on the ground with right knee bent, right foot flat on the floor, right arm holding a weight above you, and left arm and left leg at your side. Drive through right foot and straighten left arm, using it as a post to drive hips straight up. Pull left leg underneath and behind body, move torso straight up, then lunge to a stand. Reverse the sequence to descend. Do all your reps on one side. Repeat on other side. Keep chest up and watch the weight the entire time.