Warm-ups have been used for as long as sports have been around. Warming up is SUPER important when comes to reaching your full potential for that activity you are getting ready for. However, when it comes to the gym and lifting, we tend to either forget to warm-up or do not know how. We end up just moving around aimlessly until we think we are ready to get the real workout started.
So, with that in mind how do you warm-up? A good warmup will consist of three parts.
Mobilization: This will be 5 or so minutes of moving joints through full ranges of motion without load. It should feel more like a dynamic stretch than exercise. This is the time where we address certain mobility restrictions.
Prime: This section of your warm-up will 5-10 minutes, depending. Priming is arguably one of the most important sections. This where you address muscle imbalances and minor or chronic orthopedic injuries like tendinopathy (ME!!!), muscle imbalances, or even muscular amnesia (loss muscle-mind connection). You will also activate and prepare the muscles you will be using.
Prep/Practice: This is where you combine everything you had done. Using the new found ranges of motion from "Mobilization Phase" and the active muscles from the "Priming Phase", tie those into the movements you will be performing and practice your form. This third section can also be used to do some multiplanar bodyweight movements that target the core.
Now that you have some the foundational information to structuring your own warmup here is a quick example of a warm-up that I do before a Pulling focused day.
Since the main movements of my Pull day will be Dead Lifts and Bent-over rows I will focusing around those movements
Mobilization: Dowel Passovers, Chicken Wings, Active Hamstring Stretch
Prime: Banded Straight arm pull down, Scapular Pull ups, Dead Bugs
Prep/Practice: Kettle bell/empty bar Stiff Leg Deadlifts, Pullups/Lat pull Down, Rev. Flies
So, next time you go to the gym, remember some of these principles. It is supposed to be difficult, but feel free to reach out if you need help.