How to Warm Up Before Lifting

We are here to encourage you to warm up before lifting weights because nothing sets you up better for a workout. Lifting does a lot for your body, especially toning your legs and arms. Learning how to warm up before lifting is important so you don’t end up injuring yourself and can get the most out of your targeted muscle groups.

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Do you need to warm up before lifting?

woman lifting black and gray barbell
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Yes, it is certainly best to warm up before lifting because it ensures that your muscles are prepared for lifting weights. Regardless of if you plan to lift heavy or light weights, a warm up prepares each muscle group for difficult or sustained movement. It gets the blood flowing through your body and improves your range of motion in order to encourage lifting reps. Injuries are common when you are working with tense and stiff muscles that attempt to do an exercise that is too hard or lift a weight that is too heavy. Stiff joints is fairly common if you’ve been working or relaxing all day and warm-up provides good lubrication to your bone joints. 

How long should you warm up before lifting?

A good warm-up should be between five and ten minutes, which works for all the major muscle groups. Warming up for five to ten minutes will help your body stretch the muscles so they are well-prepared for a workout, which can prevent injuries from happening. Harvard University talks about how warm-up routines provide a range of motion exercises to target all the areas in the body that need warming up for lifting.

What is the best way to warm up before lifting? 

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  • Low-intensity short jogs 
  • Jumping jacks 
  • Bodyweight lunges 
  • Squats 
  • Push-ups 
  • Arm circles 
  • Leg swing 
  • Foam roll 
  • Arm cross-body stretch 

What happens if you don’t warm up before lifting?

Skipping warming up before lifting makes your body more vulnerable to sprained muscles, cramps, and other injuries. National Institute for Fitness and Sport lets us know that if you don’t warm up your muscles before lifting, you make your body more vulnerable and it will prevent you from exercising to your fullest potential.

How to warm up your arms before lifting? 

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  • Wrist extensors stretch – Use one hand to stretch the other fingers down, then up for 30 seconds each. This helps the muscles in the wrist since you will be lifting a heavy barbell or dumbbell.
  • Cross-body stretch – Take one arm and stretch it across your body using your other hand to hold it in place for 30 seconds. This helps with the shoulder muscles warming them up when you use a barbell and try to lift it above your head. 
  • Triceps stretch – Bend your elbows and lift your arm over your head. Gently stretch the elbow higher with your other hand for 30 seconds. This helps with your triceps when doing arm crunches with dumbbells.  

How to warm up your legs before lifting? 

  • Jumping jacks – This is a well-known exercise that works both the legs and arms to get the blood flowing.
  • Leg swing – Doing forward and back leg swings activate the hips and glutes. This will help when you do barbell lifts because you lift with your hips and legs.
  • Squats – You don’t want to overcomplicate things when squatting. Squat down until your butt is past your knees. This will help when you are lifting the barbell to have a better stance when squatting down. 

What are the benefits when you warm up before lifting? 

  • Joints loosen up
  • Better range of motion
  • Reduce the risk of injury
  • Increases your flexibility
  • It helps you prepare mentally
  • Blood releases more oxygen than you will need for the workout

Overall, warming up is an important step that many people skip due to time or boredom. However, it can help your body prepare for the work it is about to do whether that be running, doing pilates, and especially lifting. When you’re working with heavy or light weights, your body will be exerting effort and needs your muscles to be fully engaged. The best way to do this is by warming up your muscles and mind for the workout ahead. If you make time for an extra 5 minutes, you can be warmed up and see the best results at the gym and stay injury-free.

Check out another helpful article on lifting: How to Use a Squat Rack at the Gym