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Warm-up Sets Count! (Another Quick Rant)

by Meaghan posted May 18, 2017

Having been a coach and teacher in the fitness industry for quite some time now (I’ll refrain from stating an exact number of years since it’s starting to make me feel old, but let’s just say it’s been long enough that I need to count toes…), I’ve developed some pet peeves.


There are actually quite a few things that bug me in the gym (curling in the squat rack, when people put their crap all over the benches instead of in the cubbies or lockers, partial ROM pull-ups and push-ups, etc.), but I have to say that the thing that probably irks me most is when people rush through their warm-up sets rather than using them as opportunities to practice. (And speaking of warm-up sets, another thing that bugs the crap out of me is when people load up the bar with all the 10-lb. plates because they’re too lazy to adjust them as they increase in weight. But…I guess at least they’re doing warm-up sets!)

Back to the point… Sure, sometimes your warm-up sets on the bench press aren’t heavy enough to HAVE to use your legs. Sometimes you don’t HAVE to brace real hard for your warm-up squat sets. Sometimes you can get away with the bar moving away from the legs a little in your light deadlift warm-ups. But if you choose not to focus on these finer points of your lifts, you’re only depriving yourself of the chance to ingrain the correct technique in your nervous system that will ultimately determine success or failure in your heavier sets.

Bottom line: Your warm-up sets count! Treat them like they’re real sets – because they are.

Filed under: fitness commentary, strength training, workout tips

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