A lot of times (even when I loudly and abnoxiously advice against it) I see athletes look at a WOD, read the RX weight and load it up on a barbell without warming up properly to it or even thinking about whether they can or cannot lift that much weight!  Here are some simple steps to warming up for a weightlifting movement in a WOD:

  1. Know your max lifts, or at least about what your max lifts are.  If you know your 1RM clean and jerk is 125, and the workout calls for 40 backsquats with 115 and the barbell has to start from the floor, then 115 is clearly too heavy for you in that particular WOD.  Scale down.  Even if you don´t know your 1RM, take any benchmark number that you do know for comparison purposes.  If the last time you did Fran with 65 pounds, and there is a workout with thrusters in it, then base your decision off of having done 45 repetitions with 65 pounds.
  2. Remember that the coach will always give you a set amount of minutes to get a barbell out and start trying out different weights.
  3. Use that warmup time wisely.  Quickly think of the weight that you would like to lift, and break it down into how many minutes the coach has given you.  For example, if the coach gives you 7 minutes to warmup and you are planning on lifting 135 pounds, then your warmup nees to look something like:

Minute 1: do a few reps with the barbell (45 pounds)

Minute 2: do a few reps with 75 pounds

Minute 3: do a few reps with 95 pounds

Minute 4: do a few reps with 115 pounds

Minute 5: do a few reps with 135 pounds to see how it feels

With the 2 minutes remaining, decide whether or not 135 will be a good weight, get some water, go to the bathroom, etc.


Again, be smart about your warmup time.  Have a plan in mind, and then see how your body responds to the weights as you warmup.  Sometimes I even need to do a few sets with the same weight before it starts feeling good, and then I go up in weight.   It is always recommended that as you come in to the gym, look at the whiteboard and start strategizing these things in your head.  During the first part of class, we always like to pull everyone over to the whiteboard to explain the workout and this would be a great time to ask the coach what is recommended (go heavier and slower, lighter and faster, etc).

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