February 9, 2016

Warm-up Routine for Maximizing Grip Workouts

Did you know that on my Squat Days, I used to literally walk into the gym and head straight for the cage and start Squatting?

No warm-up, no activation, no preparation. Just empty bar to get ready for Back Squats.

Then one day, the bar was a little low for me, so I bent down and stood up with it – an empty bar – and threw something out in my back.

This was less than a minute after driving an hour to the gym, and now I was laid up for the next 3 hours, unable to do ANYTHING, while my lifting partners killed PR’s and slayed a Monster Workout.

And I didn’t train for close to a week after that – all due to Squatting an empty bar without warming up!

That was nearly 10 years ago. I’ve never done that since. And I’ll never do it again.

Injuries are too costly, and missing workouts, while bad enough for progress, hurts me mentally even more, since training is such an important part of my life.

These days, I have a very strict warm-up protocol that I follow each and every time I’m in the gym, even when I compete at contests. And today I’m going to share that with you, with the hopes that if you are not currently warming up when you train that you start doing so. If you do, I guarantee that you will see improvements in your training sessions, you’ll experience fewer injuries, and both of these will pay off in the form of longevity far off into the future.

Here’s the process I go through for warming prior to all my strength training and grip sessions:

Foam Roller

I begin each session with a quick batch of foam rolling. Though not enough to correct adhesions 100%, the true purpose is just to get some blood flowing and really start dialing in mentally for what’s about to take place in the training sessions.

Bodyweight Floor Warm-up

The idea here is to get the joints moving and blood flowing throughout the body. The movements I choose are specific for my needs, based on where I am tightest: the upper torso and the hips. All of this is very general, and whether I’m doing upper body, lower body, or just a grip session, I go through this warm-up.

Light Weight Movements

Now, it’s time to get a little more specific with what I do. No matter what day it is, I do some Dynamic Blackburns. If it’s back day, then I’ll do some light Pull-downs. If it’s a Push day, then I’ll do some light Bench Press or Military Press. If it’s a lower body day, then I’ll do some light Goblet Squats.

Specific Warm-up

Now, I’m pretty warm and ready to move some weight. I will now move on to whatever lift is first in the workout, starting out light and gradually working up to my work sets.

Following this method since 2007 or so has been outstanding. Every so often I’ll add something else into the mix in order to improve the process even more. The Dynamic Blackburns is one of those things I added in the last couple years. Sometimes, I’ll also do some Planks, but other than that, not much has changed.

If you have any questions about improving your Warm-up Process, feel free to leave a comment.

All the best in your training.


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