Full Body Warm Up
Full Body Warm Up – Functional Bodybuilding Style
A proper full body warm up can make or break your training session. Everyone who’s been training for at least a little while can tell the feeling of hitting your groove in every lift, especially when building toward max efforts. When your warm-up has been lacking or has overtaxed your body, it can lead to missed lifts or even injury.
However, there has been a lot of misunderstanding in the fitness community about how to use these first few minutes of your training session wisely. On one end of the spectrum, we have the group functional fitness format, where you walk in from a full day at your stressful job only to find yourself doing a burpee every time Sting sings, “Roxanne.”
On the other side, warmups can be unimaginative and fall short of fully preparing your mind and body for training, such as grabbing an empty barbell for a few half-hearted reps. This leaves a lot on the table when you feel the difference between fully preparing for training.
The Warm Up Is Your Training
One way to flip the script is to think of your warm up as a valuable part of your training, instead of a throwaway piece that you must perform out of duty or get out of the way so you can get to the “fun stuff.” A great warm up is an opportunity to improve skills, build strength, or enhance other parts of the session to come. In fact, we believe that every minute you have in the gym is precious time to train. Therefore, everything in your training program should be purposeful and help you feel you’re making progress.
Want to build better positions in complex movements like the clean and jerk? Your warm-up is an opportunity to break down these movements so you can strengthen the receiving position overhead before your body gets under a fully loaded barbell.
Want to master a cool gymnastics move like a handstand walk? Warm ups are a great time to build in skill practice and the necessary shoulder strength to get you one step closer. Check out some of our favorite Functional Bodybuilding warmups below for some fresh approaches to make the first few minutes of your workout count.
Full Body Warm Up
Going heavy? Let’s say you have a heavy back squat and upper pull movement in the same session. You’re going to need a total body warm up to prepare you fully. This is a great one for any other type of full body session as well.
Check out our Awaken Training Series sneak peeks for how we incorporate a warmup like this into a full Functional Bodybuilding training session.
Banded Walks – Banded walks, where the bands loop around your legs, are great for hip and glute activation. We love to use these in a variety of warm ups on days that target the lower body or full body. Mini bands are inexpensive and can easily be carried with you if your gym doesn’t have a set.
Isometric Single Arm Pull – Often we like to use single arm or single leg exercises in our warm ups prior to a session that has the double arm or leg movements associated with it. Try to incorporate isometric single arm or single leg holds as a way to prep the movement pattern like this.
Assault Bike between sets – Using the Assault Bike in this way provides a little break between sets for you to gently move some blood. Moving blood around the whole body is key to raising body temperature and sending nutrients to the tissues that are about to work. You can sub the Assault Bike with a rower or any piece of cardio equipment, or simply run or jump rope.
Low Equipment Warm Up
You may work out in a home gym or a small space where you need a simple full body warmup that uses minimal equipment. The warm ups below use only a barbell (or PVC pipe) and a mini band. See below for a no equipment warm up as well.
30sec Forearm Plank
10 Side Plank Rotations/side
10 Jefferson Curls 3030 Tempo (Encouraged to use only an empty bar or dowel if you are brand new to this exercise – this is a mobility focused drill – NOT a strength movement. 3 seconds down, do not pause at bottom, 3 seconds up, do not pause at top.)
Rest as needed between sets
A Landmine attachment can be purchased from Rogue Fitness, or simply place a barbell on the floor between two plates to keep it from sliding.
No Equipment Warm Up
Need a bodyweight warm up? No problem – Functional Bodybuilding has a wide range of movements that will raise your core temperature and prep you for your workout.
Upper Body Warmup
This warmup is great for overhead hip speed training where you have to get under a bar quickly, such as a workout incorporating Power Jerks where your hips and shoulders need to be wide awake. This applies to a wide range of sports as well. It could also be used for single arm upper pushing work, or as a general full body warmup. Here are a few additional pointers:
The Tall Kneeling Kettlebell Push Press is a great way to get the hips firing and wake up the glutes. Additionally, by using kettlebells for loading we work on some single arm stability during these reps, which will serve us well in a training session when we are lifting barbells. (If you’re looking for a good resource for Kettlebells check out our friends at Kettlebell Kings)
Let’s say today’s workout also includes some single arm pressing. Any time we do single arm pressing work there is a rotational core element involved. Therefore, in our warm up we are doing some rotational core work to strengthen, as well as prepare for what is ahead. (This helps you use your core to brace so you can press the weight.) The landmine twists are a great way to get the oblique muscles working, as well as your upper back muscles.
Lastly, we have found when using static core exercises and isometrics we can achieve a great CNS (central nervous system) warm up. These types of exercises help to raise core body temperature very quickly and effectively. The Ring Mountain Climber coordinates a static upper body core position with a little bit of dynamic movement in the lower extremities. There is great anterior core activation in the form of anti-extension isometric holds. Additionally, the hip flexors get some training with the ring mountain climber action.
Be sure to give this a try before the next workout you do with some overhead lifting or single arm upper pushing work. Alternatively, you can use this warmup on any day of the week even if you don’t have similar movements in your training session. Just pay special attention to what you are feeling and how these movements connect your mind to your muscles. And if you’re keen on kettlebells, we have some more kettlebell Functional Bodybuilding workouts for you to try.
Lower Body Warmup
Here’s a warmup that focuses mainly on the hips for a leg day or hip heavy workout, but that will also function as a total body warmup by getting your breathing up.
Hip Dominant Warm Up (EMOM x 12mins):
Every Minute On the Minute. At the top of minute 1, start with the 1st movement, then rest until minute 2. Alternate one movement per minute for a total of four sets.
1st – Seated Box Jump 3-5 reps (build height each round)
2nd – Goblet Loaded Lateral Band Walk 20’/side
3rd – 30sec Psoas March
Isometric Holds + Simple Contractions allow for motor patterning and core temp elevation
Unilateral Movements for both upper and lower body allow the shoulders and hips to activate more stabilizing muscles prior to training.
Shorter rest periods between movements will keep intensity low and build sweat and breathing
Maxing Out: Functional Bodybuilding Warm Up for Testing Olympic Lifts
I often get the question from clients and athletes about how best to prepare when building up to a max Olympic lift in your training session. While the bulk of our training programs are focused on quality lifting, controlled movement, and managing intensity, we do periodically want to challenge our max lifting potential. When properly timed in training, max lifting is a great way to test how your training has been working, apply a periodic and necessary stimulus to your nervous system for continued growth, and challenge your mental and emotional strength. With these key concepts in mind taken into your warm ups you will be better prepared to perform to your best in a max out lifting or testing scenario!
Even if you don’t perform Olympic lifts in your program, this a great full body warm up to use on a day when you feel sluggish in the gym or need to move fast in your workout.
Keys to Success:
Functional Bodybuilding prep – In your warmup be sure to utilize 2-4 movements that help deconstruct the movement pattern you are going to max out today. This will help warm up the various parts of the movement you are getting ready to perform at peak intensity.
WAKE UP THE CNS – Maximum force production or MAX OUT lifting is all about your BRAIN. Your muscles are obviously at work in a max lift, but our Central Nervous System (CNS) is the real driving force. The brain signals to your muscles will dictate the results for the day so make sure you wake that sucker up.
BUILD CORRECTLY – Beginner and intermediate trainees often miss out on performing to their absolute potential in a max out lifting session because they build too fast or too slow. Increasing loads too quickly doesn’t allow the nervous system enough time to acclimate to the weight. Increasing too slowly means you may tire your CNS out with too many attempts in a particular range of weights.
Try this warmup first, then use the suggested build guidelines when you’re ready to work towards your max lift.
Max Olympic Lift Warmup:
Suggested Build For Max Barbell Movements:
Empty Barbell to 50% Loading – these are warm up reps and you can likely do more reps in this range than you are used to do. This will help build great patterns and warm up the joints.
50-70% loading – loads are starting to get heavier and you want to keep your reps in the 3-5 range with only 2-3 sets here.
70-80% – maybe two sets in this range with 1-2 reps only.
85-90% – 1 rep
95% – 1 rep
MAX Attempts – 2-3 attempts only – If you PR, great. Try to save it for only one or two a day. Don’t get greedy and go for too many!
Once you hit the 80% plus loading start to space out your warm up reps 2-3mins apart. Additionally when you hit the 95% + range you want to make sure you are taking 3mins+ between every rep.
Kneeling Jumps – jumping is such a primal movement and is great for incorporating into preparation for max Olympic lifts as well as squatting. Be sure to go for max height on these vertical leaps as they will help to wake up the CNS.
Single Arm Jerk Balance and Split Jerk – These are movement specific to the lift of the day. Going overhead for the Power Clean and Split Jerk means we have to get that pattern prepared. These are two fun single arm ways to build skill and prepare for the jerk.
Banded Plank – The banded plank provides a horizontal push prep for the bench press. Additionally, isometric core holds are a great way to wake up the central nervous system and raise core temperature for training.
We hope this article sheds some light on how to use Functional Bodybuilding for warmups in different scenarios, and how to approach training so the first few minutes are used with purpose. Be sure to sign up for our email list below for free weekly warmups, and get 60 more unique warm ups with an implementation guide with Functional Bodybuilding Warmup: Volume One.