Training and nutrition advice
Proper warm ups are veeeeery important, boys and girls! In fact, I noticed better overall lifts for myself when I began incorporating MORE warm-up sets on basically everything I do in the gym.
I used to try and keep things fairly minimum. I swear I once read that all you need to do for a warm-up set is just lift 50% of the weight you intend on working with for about 15 reps.
This might work for SOME things. Perhaps if you are new to lifting and you're going to workout with 10 lb dumbbells for an overhead press this method would be fine. 50% of that would be working with the 5 lb dumbbells first. However, the heavier you can lift, the more warm-up sets you should probably start doing.
For example, what about something like the deadlift? What if you are going to deadlift 315 lbs and that's going to be a heavy set for you? Should you do a set of 15 reps with 155-160 lbs and then jump straight into the 315?
If you plan on lifting 315 lbs for a working set, let's say 1-5 reps, then one warm-up set is not enough. Even if you were going to do something higher like 10 reps, it's still a good idea to do more warm-up sets prior to your working weight.
I generally do at least 3 warm-up sets. First set is 15 reps, second set is 10 reps, third set is 5 reps. If I do more warm-up sets I may do a set of 3, 2, or 1. Really depends on what I'm going to be doing. It takes some time to figure out what works well for you. Some experimenting is in order.
Now, if I'm going to workout with 315 lbs for the deadlift, my warm-up scheme may go something like this:
Now, that's 8 warm-up sets. That's a lot of sets (I think)! But, notice how I keep reducing reps as I increase the weight? This is so I don't fatigue prior to the working sets, and so my body gets reacquainted with those heavier lbs. Even though it's kind of a high number of sets, I feel much more prepared for the working weight when I get there.
Mr. Big Hairy Ugly Dude is someone who taught me about the importance of adequate warm-up sets. Check out this video where he discusses his own warm-up scheme for a heavy deadlift:
Questions or comments on this stuff? Leave them in the comment section!