Warmups are so boooooring…zzz..

sled dragging is a great warmup

A Better Way to Approach Warm-ups (not boring and not on a machine)

Let’s face it, warm-ups suck. They’re boring. It’s a mandatory part of the workout we just do because we know we have to do something.

Some of you just do a few minutes on a treadmill or bike. Then there are those who go on the foam roller and do a drawn-out ‘mobility’ session.

I’ve tried many different warmup routines over the years. Often not a routine at all. I’ve figured out a few warmups that are quick, effective and not uber boring.

My hope is one of these ideas will inspire you to get a little more out of your warmup.

Normally I don’t like extremes. The ‘all-or-nothing’ when it comes to training and/or nutrition. You must do this. Or you can’t do that.

With fitness there’s a ton of grey area. Lots of “it depends”.

Skipping the warmup altogether is not a good strategy. Jumping right into squatting with a bar on your back after sitting hunched over a computer for 8 hours is just not a great idea.

At the other end of the spectrum I don’t want the warmup to turn into a half hour of foam rolling, stretching, mobility drills into total boredom and wasting valuable training time.

So let’s explore some alternatives in the middle of the two extremes. When you ask what is the best warmup I still think “it depends” but here are some of my favorites:

This is a great option for guys who train in the garage with just a barbell and squat rack.

Even at a commercial gym with lots of machines this is a great option as you can just find a space and go to work without any hassle.

Nothing complicated here. Squats, pushups, bridges, planks, bird dogs, leg swings, running in place, lunges, jumping jacks.

No need to do 20 different exercises.I like to pick 3–4 and do them in a circuit fashion with no rest then repeat the whole circuit a few more times.

Example- squatsx20, pushupsx15, jumping jacksx50, bird dogsx10. Repeat 2–3 times.

Done in 5 minutes or less.

Sled Dragging/Prowler Push

If you have access to a sled or prowler they are great for strength and conditioning of course, but I like them for a quick, effective warm-up as well.

Put 1 plate on the sled and do some forward drags, reverse, rows, presses, side walks, and repeat going faster the next round. You can add another plate if it’s too light.

Do the circuit 3–4 times and you should be ready to hit your main lifts. Don’t go heavy. This is about the warm-up not about trying to impress anyone by being the king of sled dragging.

1 Kettlebell

Great warm-up movements with a KB are the goblet squat, 1 arm bottoms up presses, swings, (1 or 2 handed) carries overhead or suitcase style.

It helps to have different sizes but if you are limited to just one you can get creative.

Here’s an example of an effective KB warmup-

Goblet squats 10–12 reps, 1 arm bottoms up press x6 per arm, swings x20 reps, overhead carries for 2 trips each arm.Repeat twice.

If you have only one KB do the carries in the bottoms up position to increase difficulty. Squeeze your glutes and brace your stomach like you were going to get punched.

Sled, Sandbag/ KB combo -

Here’s a fun combination if you have different equipment and like some variety.

Start with the sled and do forward and reverse drags with a light weight. Move on to the kb and do a set of goblet squats and 1 arm presses for fairly high reps (10–15). Immediately grab a sandbag and do lunges and overhead carries. For the lunges hold the sandbag in both the zercher squat and shoulder positions.5–8 reps per side is plenty if the sandbag is heavy enough.

Bodyweight and Dumbbell Circuit

Here’s one more option if you train at a gym or if you have db’s at home in your garage or basement.

Mix in bodyweight movements like pushups, bridges, bird dogs, planks along with some db exercises like presses, lateral raises, bicep curls, rows, goblet squats.

Here’s an example- bodyweight squats, bird dogs, reverse crunches, standing db presses, db curls, lateral raises, bent-over rear delt raises. Go high rep and light weight. Sets of 15–20 reps for the squats, and db work. Complete the circuit and repeat 1–2 times without rest.

Final Tips for Warm-ups That Don’t Suck

A few tips to get the most out of the warm-ups.

Part of the warmup is activating the muscles you will be using in the workout. I always try to emphasize the middle of the body and shoulders and hips in the warmups.These are areas that are typically tight and susceptible to injury if not warmed up.

For bird dogs get a nice squeeze and hold at the extended position. When doing presses overhead activate your glutes and ab muscles during the movement to further enhance the warmup.

Overhead carries are excellent at firing up the core muscles. The sled prepares the lower body well, especially the hips and also can be used for the upper body.

My favorite for the shoulders is the 1 arm bottoms up KB press. Having the bell upside down forces you to use less weight and really activate the stabilizer muscles of the shoulder region that are often underused.

There you have it. Some of my favorite warmup methods that are quick and effective and don’t involve being bored out of your mind walking on a treadmill or sitting on a bike.

If you liked this post, check out my blog about Squatting Everyday —

Squat Nemesis Program




Creation is the way. Transformation today. Metamorphosis play. Onward. To lay out in desert degree.

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Jim White

Jim White

Creation is the way. Transformation today. Metamorphosis play. Onward. To lay out in desert degree.

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