Offseason Warm Up for Weightlifting

Purposes / effects of Warm Up for Weightlifting:

  • Short-term and long-term prevention of injuries and wears
  • Increasing the physiological readiness to perform
  • Increasing the mental readiness to perform
  • Improving the coordination of motions


  1. General warm up
  2. Individual warm up
  3. Special warm up

1) General warm up:

1. Mental warm up

Ideally the athlete can already focus his whole concentration onto the training unit lying ahead. However, his thoughts will mostly be still somewhere else: at work/class, in conversations with colleagues/co-students/teammates, at the argument with his girlfriend or he is quite simply put under stress by the traffic jam on the way to the gym, or simply the hectic rush of the day. The period of warm up is ideal to get away from all that and leave it behind, and to focus completely onto his own body and the beginning work out. This increases the readiness to perform, and creates ideal conditions for a good achievement.

2. Activation of the cardiovascular system

The load should be raised in such a way that the heart frequency will be at 160-180 heartbeats per minute minus age in years for a period of 8 to 12 minutes.

The activation can be done on a stepper, a treadmill, the bicycle ergometer or similar.

(The duration of 12 minutes should not be exceeded, because, otherwise the athlete could due to energy loss already experience fatigue symptoms, which could hinder the following achievement.)

Adaptations in the body:

The body temperature rises and the energy turnover within the muscle increases:
The blood and the fabric liquid of the musculature get thinner, this leads to a more elastic muscle danger of injury is reduced.
The body temperature is rises because the muscle warmth is distributed through the whole body.

Increased blood circulation:
This leads to a better supply of oxygen and enery for the muscles to be trained, which in turn improves the metabolism within the muscle and the better energy supply improves the efficienc.
The speed of the nerves is increased.
The sweat secretion is stimulated

3. Mobilization/stretch

The primarily stressed joints are mobilized and the primarily stressed muscles are stretched.

Adaptations in the body:
  • Increase of the elasticity of the muscles, sinews and tendons.
  • Increased functional readiness of the passive musculoskeletal system.

2) Individual warming up

Individual warming up is targeted on the single athlete. Besides, all load compatibilities and load incompatibilities are to be taken into consideration, e.g., injuries, wears, shortening of certain muscles and joints.

If the athlete works out alone he will already have his individual warming up integrated into the  general warm up.

Nevertheless, when working out in a group, time for individual warm up should be added to the end of the general warm up plan.

3) Special warming up

Special warm up takes place in each case immediately before or at the beginning of the single exercise. The exercise is carried out with low intensity, i.e. with clearly lighter weight and a higher repetition. Then – after a break – the first real set is carried out. This prepares musculature and joints with their cartilages exactly for the coming load.

Adaptations in the body:

  • The production of synovial fluid is increased:
    which decreases the friction, and
    the cartilage’s elasticity increases by soaking up the synovial fluid and
    the cartilage thickens by which its buffer capacity is increased and enables a better pressure distribution of the load, because of the increased surface.
  • The fine adjustment of nerves and musculature improves.