How long should a ‘good’ warm up take?

My rule for warm up exercise selection is the same for workout exercise selection: if I can’t answer why it’s in there, maybe it shouldn’t be in there at all.

The warm up should be preparation for the workout, so in turn is PART OF THE WORKOUT. I find it so frustrating when I hear people say warm ups are a waste of training time…….I just think they must be doing wasteful warm ups.

Here’s my quick layout for a quality warm up that will prime you for a generic workout:

  1. Mobilise/get ‘untoight’

    If you’re a foam roller or lax baller, roll those tight areas (calves, quads, glutes, IT band, lats, t-spine to name the main areas), don’t waste your day on this. Around 5 minutes is plenty of time.

    Then, STRRRRRETCH those areas you’ve just rolled. Again, no need to turn it into a yoga/Pilates class (although yoga and Pilates are legit workouts, but if you came to lift weights, then they can wait for recovery sessions)

  2. Focus on moving/activating what you’re going to train

    Scapula retractions, t-spine rotations, hip mobility drills, side clams, hip circle walks, kettlebell prying in the bottom of a squat….all examples of working on range of movement and priming the muscle groups you’ll be using in your chosen workout.

  3. Flow work

    Now get moving a little more. Bear crawls, inch worms, push ups to cobra stretches, anything that will encourage a more dynamic stretch and get a light sweat building up.

  4. Reharse the movement for the day

    Body weight squat/empty barbell/work up to working set

    Body weight push up/empty barbell press/work up to working set

    Hip hinges/kettlebell deadlifts/light barbell/work up to working set

it’s that simple yet people mess it up by missing it out completely, just going straight into working up to heavy sets or turning a warm up into a CrossFit type workout. None of these compliment a strength specific workout.