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How to warm-up to find the correct weight for the prescribed intensity?

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  • How to warm-up to find the correct weight for the prescribed intensity?

    I have both read the warm-up instructions in the Beginner Template and watched the video on how you, Jordan and Austin, warm-up for the deadlift. However, I still find myself unsure of the best practice in specific warm-ups and choosing the correct weight for the prescribed intensity of the session.

    I understand that you recommend doing a few sets with the empty barbell to start. After that, I understand that I add a little weight for a few sets and that the load, the more or less "ready" I feel that day, and my individual difference determine how many warm-up sets I will need to take. However, I don't know how relatively heavy the last warm-up set should be to assist me in determining the correct load in order to achieve the desired intensity for the day.

    There are two strategies I have considered. The first involves using some arbitrary percentage of my e1RM from the last time I performed the exercise with the same number of reps. What that percentage would be, I do not know. My second strategy, which I think is more suitable, is to finish my warm-up when I reach an RPE 5. I figure RPE 5 because you encourage in your Beginner Template manual to log all sets rated at RPE 6 and above. RPE 5 wouldn't constitute a working set while RPE 6 and above would if I have assessed the reasoning for the logging instructions correctly. However, your calculator only allows for an input of RPE 8 and above. At the moment, because I have been doing phase 1, I just add 5-10 lbs to my sets rated at RPE 5 to get my first set at RPE 6. However, I know the next phase starts the intensity at RPE 7, and I know that as time goes on, the gap in weight from one intensity to the next will widen. Also, assessing a set at RPE 5 is difficult.

    Are either of these good strategies? Do I need to reorient the manner in which I think about my specific warm-ups?

  • #2
    Either would work, but I don't think you need to really focus that much on selecting the perfect warm up. The purpose of a warm-up is to prepare you for the workout. There are many ways to do this and I really, really would try to avoid overthinking this.

    A basic tool I use is to take the planned top set's weight -45 and divide that value by 5 to yield the weight increase increment. Here's how that would go:

    Planned top set (315)
    315-45= 270
    So, add 55lbs each jump from the barbell on up.

    Individual preferences for # of warm-up sets and th desire to do more warm-ups at lighter or heavier weights would require adjustment.
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    • #3
      I really love this formula!

      I've been doing too much warmup work at too close of a weight to my top set, which was causing me to actually fatigue before my work sets were really moving. More recently I was spending more time in the lighter weights to really get warm without a lot of fatigue - and I'll try this formula paired with that new method.