The warm-up to most people’s workouts is incredibly inefficient. Five minutes of getting warm the right way can greatly reduce your risk of injury as well as enhancing your performance.
Most commonly I see warm-ups consisting of riding a stationary bike for five minutes followed by a couple of toe touches to get limber, then right into difficult weights. While there’s nothing wrong with starting your workout with light cardio to get the blood flowing it just doesn’t do anything specific for the day’s exercise. This is where a workout specific warm-up comes in. Using a specific exercise from the workout start with much lighter weight and ramping it up over a few sets until you’re close to what is considered “working weight.” For example, on chest day you start with just the bar and bench press a few sets to get acclimated, versus simply throwing your weights on and going for it.
The idea behind this ramping weight strategy is that your nervous system and muscles will gradually acclimate to the weight through the sets; the goal is to be primed and ready but not worn out. It’s recommended that these sets are done in a relatively slow and controlled manner. This practice is tried and tested with most high-level bodybuilders, power lifters and Olympic lifters as a means of ensuring a quality workout session with reduced risk of injury. The time investment is so minimal that I’d highly recommend this method to anyone engaging in any form of weight lifting.
What’s the rush? It’s always better to do something right than fast; take your time and warm up properly for better results.