Tony Gentilcore

Because heavy things won't lift themselves

Steps You Can’t Afford to Skip: The Warm-Up

TG Warm-Up Stack

Yes, this is an article on warming up (both the pre-lift ritual as well as how to warm-up for your main lift of the day).

Yes, most people are going to read the title and subconsciously yawn.

Yes, these are the same people (athletes included) who tend to get hurt more easily, have more nagging injuries that never seem to resolve, and quite frankly – although not always – are shooting themselves in the foot from a performance standpoint for not taking the ten minutes (tops) it takes to warm-up.

Seriously, we’re talking ten minutes here!

Yes, this is something I feel is important and that most trainees haphazardly gloss over.

And yes, this article includes a Twilight burn. So at least there’s that.

Don’t you roll your eyes at me!  I’ll give you something to roll your eyes about!

Warm-Up Fundamentals (<— Seriously, Don’t Skip It!!!)

Did I just blow your mind? Make (or ruin) your day? Leave a comment, then share this with EVERYBODY.
  • Shelley

    Awesome article. I have been known skip/rush the warm up at times (head held in shame) and those workouts are never as good.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Well, I’v been known to skip it too. Everyone does it. But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel infinitely better when I actually do take the time to perform a proper warm-up compared to not doing one.

  • Dunkman

    I’ve skipped them because I was short on time, but I’ve found that I actually get through the training faster if I’m warmed up. Especially early mornings.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Warming up early in the AM is even MORE crucial on my book – especially taking into consideration Dr. Stuart McGill’s research on low back dysfunction. He found that the spine is “hydrated” and stiffer in the AM and that upon getting out of bed, waiting at least 45-60 minutes to exercise – in particular if you know they’ll be any spinal loading (squats, deads) – is ideal.

      • Dunkman

        Great advice. Thanks.

      • http://nielpatel.blogspot.com/ Niel

        Additional bonus: it helps wake you up a little more.

  • Trish

    Sweet post. Like the others, I’ve been guilty of skipping warmups when I’m rushed and it always translates to crappy training. If we trainers don’t emphasize the warmup in our own training, it’s hard to convince our clients that it’s critical. I’ve been nudging (read: forcing) my clients to devote 10 minutes to a dynamic warmup and despite the ‘hassle’ they always say they enjoyed it once it’s over. What’s not to love? Good examples / videos, too.

    • TonyGentilcore

      Thanks Trish!

  • Chris

    Slightly off topic, but I have noticed when foam rolling that some parts are more sensitive than others eg rolling on the side of my quads is painful but rolling the top (front) of the quads is not. Does this signify that the sides need more work, or just that the sides are more sensitive (or less tough)?

    • TonyGentilcore

      Think about the vastus lateralis “glueing” to the ITB…..it’s a problematic area for a lot of people. I tend to tell people that healthy tissue shouldn’t hurt when you palpate or roll on it. If it does it generally means that area needs a little more TLC.

  • ronellsmith

    Tony,
    I’m what can be called a warm-up snob. Under no circumstances will I leave them out. (That’s a ritual I adopted courtesy of CP.)

    Not only does it help keep me healthy and moving better, but it “tells” me a great deal.

    For example, if I’m taking too long during a warm-up, my body temperature won’t elevate properly, leading me to add in more warm-up sets on the first lift. Or, if my warm-up leaves me dragging, I know to curtail my training session, then save myself for another day and get some rest.

    I’ve been known to tell friends who ask for training advice, “I’ll care enough about providing input when you care enough to commit to mobility/activation drills.”

    It’s THAT important.

    RS

  • Jeremy

    I highly respect you guys at cressey performance and believe you do it as good as anyone. However I have to respectfully disagree with the way in which you prescribe a warm up. It’s not so much what you guys prescribe in your warm up (theoretically it makes alot of sense) but rather the time it takes to complete your warm ups that I disagree with.
    Whilst you guys suggest it takes 10 minutes, if done in its entirety its impossible to get done in less than 30 mins.
    I know you’ll obviously disagree wity me and im sure your faithfull followers with burn me at the stake. However Ive been on your books as an athlete, ive also strictly followed Erics Show and Go program.

    It simply just doesn’t take 10 mins to do full body SMFR, mobility and “activation” on the whole body.

    I personally find SMFR for problem areas, and similar activation exercises are all that’s needed and sometimes even just a few warm up sets on my lifts are all you need. More of an emphasis needs to be put on a well rounded program than all the mobility hupe that’s going around in my humble opinion. Mobility and flexibility work is likened to an adjunct therpsy that assisting the crutch of your strength program

  • Jeremy

    Tony please don’t take my comment in the wrong light. It’s not an attack just an observation. In all honestly of all the advice Ive sought, that provided by Cressey performance has been the most beneficial. I was able to overcome some very stubborn, chronic injuries under you guys, even issues that the so called “medical experts” couldn’t address effectively.

    You guys are great and your material is exceptional

    • TonyGentilcore

      No stakes here Jeremy…..no worries. I respect your comment(s) and I have to say I do agree with in some aspects.

      If someone is dealing with some significant injuries and/or has a few things to address, by all mean, I think a PROPER warm-up will take longer than 10 minutes. In an ideal world people would take a good 15-20, maybe even 25 minutes to warm-up.

      Unfortunately we don’t live in this world.

      I do feel the warm-up I provided can be done within ten minutes…it just involves no loitering or checking text messages in between sets….;O)

      [Not that I am insinuating that that's what you're doing].

      I completely “get” what you’re saying, and thanks again for chiming in.

      • Jeremy

        Thanks for the admirable reply Tony. Haha I understand what you mean by ensuring you doint loiter.
        Alot of professionals (including yourself I believe?) would suggest that the most unproductive part of foam rolling is “the rolling”. Ie if done properly you should seek out areas of tension and either very very slowly pass over it or actualy stay on it until tension passes.
        In light of this perhaps it my approach to foam rolling that’s eating into the clock (perhaps I am adhering to this reccomendation a little too much)

        Anyway thanks for replying. Im glad my response wasn’t perceived as hate, as there’s enough of that going on around the net and I genuinly have nothing but time and respect for you guys.

        Hope you and the Cressey family have a ver Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

        All the best

  • Shane Mclean

    I love my warm up. Will not leave home without it. Nice post Tony.

  • Paul Bruce

    This warm-up is amazing! I do some rolling on my TFL primarily, and then go into this warm-up. I have never had better workouts. Thank you for posting this!

    • TonyGentilcore

      Glad to hear that it’s helped Paul!