How to warm up before a strength session

I have been asked what is the best way to warm up prior to commencing a strength session using weights. A few questions are “should I warm up by walking on a treadmill?” or  “should I just do a few stretches?”


First off – what is a warm up?

A warm-up is a session,  comprises of light cardiovascular exercises combined with stretches, and is necessary to help avoid injury whilst working out.

Why warm up? For majority of all Australians we have a desk job comprising of 8-9 hours of sitting hunched over a desk. Due to the nature of the job our muscles become tight and constricted, now if you were to go to the gym straight after work and start cranking out heavy sets of weights your muscles are not used to that strenuous work, and is a cause for injury.

Doing static stretches before a workout can overextend those muscles and actually rob them of the power and strength necessary for your actual workout.

For those reason dynamic movements is a definite go to before a work out! Think of it as priming the muscles/movements before a workout by eg. Skipping – your muscles will loosen up and become active, warm, and ready for action.


Some tips to get you started:

  • If your session consists of lower limb exercises such as weighted squats and lunges; have a go at doing a few air squats, glute bridges, skipping, leg swings (forwards/ backwards).
  • If your session is an upper body session consisting of exercises such as shoulder presses, rows and bench pressing; have a go at shoulder dislocates, arm swings (forwards/backwards), theraband activation of rotator cuff muscles, and theraband rows


If you have doubt about what you need to do as a warm up, ask a qualified trainer or speak to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist for more information.