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8/8/2015

DoYouNeedtoWarmUpBeforeLifting?

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Splitroutinesareprettymuchsynonymouswithbodybuilding.Arecentsurveyof127competitivebodybuildersfoundthateveryrespondenttrained
withasplitroutine.Everyone!Moreover,2/3ofrespondentstrainedeachmuscleonlyonceperweek(whatispopularlyknownasabrosplit...

BradSchoenfeld,Ph.D,C.S.C.S.,isaninternationallyrenownedfitnessexpertandwidelyregardedasoneoftheleadingauthoritiesonbody
compositiontraining(muscledevelopmentandfatloss).Heisalifetimedrugfreebodybuilder,andhaswonnumerousnaturalbodybuildingtitles.

Exercise
August30,2014

DoYouNeedtoWarmUpBeforeLifting?
Itscommonlytakenasgospelthatyouneedtowarmuppriortolifting.Thewarmupcontainstwobasiccomponents:ageneralwarmuptoraise
coretemperature,andaspecificwarmuptoheightenneuralactivation.Thecombinationoftheseproceduresispurportedtoenhanceexercise
performance.However,whileresearchdoesseemtosupportthiscontentionduringmaximalornearmaximalefforts,studiesarelackingastothe
effectsofwarmingupduringsubmaximalliftingroutines.
Tohelpdeterminetheimpactofwarminguponatypicalbodybuildingstyleworkout,IrecentlycollaboratedwithcolleaguesinBraziltocarryouta
controlledstudyonthetopic.Hereisanoverviewofthemethodologyandfindingsofthestudy,aswellasitspracticalimplications.
WhatWeDid

Fifteenyoungmenwererecruitedtoparticipateinthestudy.Subjectswererecreationallytrainedmeaningtheyhadlimitedliftingexperience
(resistancetrainingforlessthanayearonaverage).Eachsubjectperformed4exercisesessionsonseparatedays(4872hoursbetweensessions)
usingthefollowingdifferentwarmupstrategiespriortoeachworkout:ageneralwarmupaspecificwarmupacombinationgeneralandspecific
warmup,ornowarmup.Intheaerobicwarmupsubjectsperformed10minutesoflightcyclingexerciseataspeedof40km/hr.Forthespecific
warmup,subjectsperformedalightset(10repsat50%1RM)ofthespecificexercisebeforeperformanceofthatexercise.Theorderofthewarm
upswascounterbalancedbetweensubjectsasshownintheaccompanyingfiguretoensurethatthisvariabledidnotundulyinfluenceresults.
Exercisesessionsconsistedof4setsofthebenchpress,squatandarmcurlat80%1RM.Allsetswerecarriedouttothepointofmuscularfailure.
WhatWeFound
Therewerenosignificantdifferencesbetweenthenumberofrepetitionsperformedinanyofthewarmupconditionsnorwastheiradifferencein
thefatigueindex,whichisaformulathatassessthedeclineinnumberofrepetitionsacrossthefirstandlastsetsofeachexercise.Incombination,
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8/8/2015

DoYouNeedtoWarmUpBeforeLifting?

thesefindingsindicatethatthewarmupproceduresanalyzedinthisstudyhadnoeffectonperformance.
PracticalImplications
Atfacevalueitwouldappearthatawarmupisprettymuchuselesspriortosubmaximalresistancetraining.Despitethecurrentlyheldbeliefthat
warmingupenhancesexerciseperformance,nobenefitswereseenbetweeneitherageneralwarmup,specificwarmuporcombinationofthetwo
comparedtonowarmupatall.Intuitivelythisseemstomakesenseinthattheinitialrepetitionsofasubmaximalliftsareineffecttheirown
specificwarmupandtheneedtoincreasecoretemperaturemightbesuperfluousfromaperformancestandpointwhenmultiplerepsareperformed.
Whenapplyingtheseresultstopractice,however,severalfactorsmustbetakenintoaccount.First,thesubjectsinthisstudywererecreationally
trainedalthoughtheyhadsomeexperiencewithresistancetrainingtheywereinnowayhighlyskilledlifters.Itcertainlyisfeasiblethatthosewith
extensiveliftingexperiencewhohavehighlydevelopedneuromuscularpatternsmightbenefitfromevenslightlyincreasedneuralresponses.
Second,youneedtotakeintoaccountthetypeofexerciseperformed.Tothispoint,theredidseemtobeaslightadvantagetoperformingaspecific
warmupinthesquat(althoughitdidnotrisetostatisticalsignificance)whilethereactuallyseemedtobesomewhatofadetrimenttothespecific
warmupinthebicepscurl.Thus,morecomplexmovementpatternswouldseemtobenefitfromthepracticeeffectofaspecificwarmupwhile
thiswouldbeofnovalueduringperformanceofsimpleexercises.
Third,theabsoluteamountofweightliftedalsomustbeconsidered.Agoodcasecanbemadethataspecificwarmupwouldhavemoreutilityfor
someonebenching400poundsasopposedto200pounds.Eventhoughtheheavinessoftheloadwouldbesimilaronarelativebasis,theneural
benefitsofdoingalightersetwouldseemtohavegreatertransferwhenliftingtheheavierabsoluteload.
Finally,wedidnotinvestigatesafetyrelatedissuesofwarminguponlyperformanceaspectswereassessed.Althoughnosubjectsinthisstudy
wereinjuredduringtesting,thesamplewastoosmallandthedurationoftheprotocoltooshorttodrawconclusionsonthetopic.Whileresistance
trainingwithsubmaximalloadsgenerallyhasverylowriskofinjuryprovidedproperformismaintained,thereneverthelessexiststhepossibility
thatwarmupprocedurescouldreducetheriskevenfurther.Thisseemsespeciallypertinentwhenworkingwithhighabsoluteloads.
Thetakehomemessageistoconsideryourownsituationwhendeterminingwhetherornottowarmuppriortoasubmaximalliftingsession.Yes,a
warmupdoestakeabitoftimeandyoumightbeabletoskiptheprocedureifyouaretimepressedwithoutenduringanynegativeeffectson
performance.Thisisparticularlyvalidifyouarelessexperiencedattrainingand/orliftingfairlylightloads.Ontheotherhand,ifyouareahighly
experiencedtraineeliftingheavyabsoluteloadsthenthereverywellmightbeabenefittowarmingupthisstudycertainlycannotbeusedas
evidencetothecontrary.Also,understandthatresearchonlyreportsthemeans(i.e.averages)betweengroups.Therewereinfactdifferences
betweenresponseswherebysomesubjectsdidshowabeneficialeffectsfromwarmingupwhileothersdidnot.Onlythroughindividual
experimentationcanyoudetermineifawarmupenhancesyourownperformance.Finally,therearepotentiallysafetyissuesthatwerenotstudied
hereawarmupcertainlywouldnotseemtohurtinthisregardandpossiblycouldbeofsomehelp.
Reference
RibeiroAS,RomanziniM,SchoenfeldBJ,SouzaMF,AvelarA,CyrinoES.Effectofdifferentwarmupproceduresontheperformanceof
resistancetrainingexercises.PerceptMotSkills.2014Aug119(1):13345.

6Comments
1. HelloBrad,Idontunderstandwhatyoumeanbysubmaximallifting.
ThewayIlearned,thereweremaximalefforts,referringtotherelativeintensityofeffortofaset,like100%ifyouregoingtofailure(cant
doanotherrep)regardlessofreprangeused,andthereforeregardlessofabsoluteintensity(weightonbar),andsubmaximaltraining,
meaning,youleftsomerepsinthetank.Youcanhavesubmaximaltrainingwith70%or90%.Forexampletodoasinglewith90%is
submaximal.itisnotmaxingout.Sowhatdoyoumeanbysubmaximal,ifyourexercisesweregoingtofailurewith80%load?Howisit
submaximalifyouvedonemaxeffortsets?Ireallywanttounderstandthis.Thankyou.
CommentbySalazarSeptember24,2014@9:41pm
2. []DoYouNeedtoWarmupBeforeLifting?viaBradSchoenfeld[]
PingbackbyGoodFitnessReads9/28/2014|adampine.comSeptember28,2014@1:36am
3. Thankyou!Greatstudyanddiscussion.
CommentbyKarstenOctober22,2014@4:05pm
4. Salazarevenifasetof80%istakentofailurethefirstfewrepetitionsofthissetaresubmaximal.Egifittakes8repstofailure,thefirstfew
repsofthesetaresubmaximal
CommentbyMichaelCarrollOctober22,2014@6:26pm
5. []semanas,unodelosreferentesmundialesenmateriadeentrenamiento,BradSchoefeld,publicabaestecuriosopostenelqueanalizaba
unestudiocientficopublicadoenBrasilsobreelefectodediferentestipos[]
PingbackbyCuidadoalleerlospapers.|LifeStudioOctober27,2014@12:52pm
6. Ithinkthatwarmupsareimportant,butnotquiteasvitalaseveryonethinks.Likeyousaid,doingwarmupswillnothurt,butitispossibleto
liftheavywithoutwarmingupfirstiftimedoesntpermit.
WhenIwasstartingout,Ineverdidwarmupsandsawregularstrengthgains.NowthatIamliftingheavier,Iamstartingtodowarmups.
Isitnecessary?Illleavethesciencetoyou,butexperiencesaysthatitdoesnthurt,soIllkeepdoingit!
CommentbyMikeJanuary13,2015@4:56pm
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