Are Push Ups A Good Warm Up Before Lifting Weights?

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3 Steps To Complete The Perfect Warm Up

On today’s episode of Live Lean TV, we’re answering a question from a viewer who asked, are push ups a good warm up before lifting weights?

We also share the 3 steps to complete the perfect warm up.

This was a question from #AskLiveLeanTV Ep. 012.

But before we discuss if push ups a good warm up before lifting weights, I want to first address the 3 steps of a perfect warm up.

In a perfect world, I like to break the warm up down into 3 phases.

Note: based on how much time you have, your age, and injury history, it’s not always required to complete all 3 phases.

Phase Of The Perfect Warm Up: Traditional Warm Up

The first phase is what most people would consider the traditional warm up.

The Best Way To Warm Up Before Working Out

This phase is usually comprised of a dynamic mobility flow and bodyweight exercises.

This will help elevate the heart rate, warm up the muscles, and lubricate the joints.

Examples of this include this dynamic warm up flow and wall slides.

Phase 2 Of A Perfect Warm Up: Activator Set

The second optional phase of the warm up is the activator set.

After the traditional warm up is over, if the goal of the workout is muscle building, I’ll sometimes include activator sets.

I program activator sets for my students in my Live Lean MASS 2.0 muscle building program.

Live Lean MASS 2.0

Activation Sets are usually programmed before big heavy lifts.

They are designed to start the mind to muscle connection of the targeted muscle.

This is when a push up can be a great warm up.

Push ups can help the muscles in the chest activate, fire, and contract, before overloading the chest with big lift like the barbell flat bench press.

Phase 3 Of A Perfect Warm Up: Light Warm Up Set

The third and final optional phase of the warm up is completing a few warm up sets of the first exercise in your workout program.

Depending on your age, and past injuries, it is usually good to first complete a few light warm up sets, before loading the bar with your full working weight.

These light warm up sets help your muscles gradually feel and ease into the movement with a lighter weight, prior to lifting heavier.

After this, you should feel properly warmed up.

This is when your first working set begins.

Ok, so now that I’ve provided context around the perfect warm up, let’s get into today’s viewer question.

Here’s today’s viewer question:

@KostaGeorgian on Twitter asks: Hi Brad and Jessica. I have one question. Are push ups a good warm up before weights?

The push up is a great warm up exercise before your chest day, the bench press, or any other chest exercise.

How To Do A Pushup | Exercise Video and Guide

Push Ups Help To Warm Up Your Body

The push up is also a safe way to gradually elevate your heart rate and warm up your entire body, even if you’re not training chest.

Push Ups Are A Good Activator Set Exercise

I often like to do bodyweight exercises as an activator set before my workout begins.

Bodyweight exercises are a great way to warm up and activate the targeted muscles, i.e. the chest, before overloading them with more weight.

This makes push ups a great activator warm up exercise for your chest.

Start With Lighter Warm Up Sets Before Working Sets

Since I’m getting older, my body takes longer to warm up.

So after I’ve successfully activated my targeted muscles, I also like to end my warm up by starting with a really low weight for the first exercise in my program.

For example, if it’s a squat day, I’ll just squat the bar for a few reps.

How To Do A Barbell Back Squat | Exercise Video and Guide

This helps to further warm up my body.

Then I’ll gradually add a little bit of weight to the bar before starting my first working set.

Depending on how I feel that day, sometimes it takes me three to four lighter warm up sets before I’m ready for my working sets.

Bottom Line: Are Push Ups A Good Warm Up Before Lifting Weights?

Although push ups are a good warm up exercise, push ups alone may not get you as warm as you need to be for a maximum lift.

As mentioned earlier, the length of the warm up depends on:

  • your age
  • past injury history
  • the style of workout you are doing

However, with all that said, push ups at the beginning of your workout helps to warm up your body and activates your chest before hitting it with more weight.

Therefore, push ups can be a good way to go for your warm up.

Plus, push ups and pull ups are just awesome in general, because they are functional, and you can do them anywhere.

You can change up the variation of push up by switching your hand grips and placements.

Push ups can be one of the most badass exercises, which is why the Navy Seals love doing them.

I like doing different push up variations such as plyometric push ups, close grip push ups, and pike push ups.

Push-Up Tutorial

Based on all of these different push up variations, you do not have to stick to regular push ups all the time for your warm up.

Use all the different types of push ups for your warm ups and workouts too.

We share a lot of great push up variations on our Live Lean TV Daily Exercises YouTube channel.

Find The Best Program For Your Goals

To find the best program for you, go take our Live Lean Body Quiz.

Answer four simple questions and we’ll get you on the best program, based on your goals.

Every training program includes warm ups, workouts, cool downs, and nutrition plans.

We have it all.

Go take the Live Lean Body Quiz here.

Now I want you to go check out this video post on how to properly warm up before weights, using lighter sets.

how to properly warm up before weights

I talk about all the calculations to ensure you’re lifting the right amount of weight for your lighter warm up sets.


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