Benefit Of A Cardio Warm Up Before Weight Training

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Listen to the audio version of this cardio warm up episode on the Live Lean TV Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast!

Reduce injury and increase performance with a proper cardio warm up

On today’s episode I want to talk about the benefit of the cardio warm up before weight training.

How many times have you seen someone go from the locker room directly into lifting heavy weights without a proper warm up?

If you’re guilty of this, that is one quick way to being put on the injury list.

cardio warm up

Benefits of the warm up:

Purpose of the warm up:

  • Elevate your heart rate
  • Warm up and increase blood flow to the muscles
  • Reduce the stress on your heart
  • Lubricate your joints with synovial fluid

cardio warm up

How long should you warm up for?

When it comes to the warm up, certain people need a longer warm up than others.

These factors include:

  • Age (the older you are, the more time you need)
  • Training experience (the newer you are to training, the more time you need)
  • Climate (the colder the climate, the more time you need)
  • Previous injury history (if you’re prone to injury, the more time you need)

In most cases, a 5 minute cardio warm up is sufficient for younger, experienced trainees who live in a warm climate.

If you’re older, are new to training, live in a cold climate, and are prone to injury, consider increasing your cardio warm up to 10 minutes.

cardio warm up

5-10 minute cardio warm up:

Although there are many ways to complete your cardio warm up, the most basic and simple way to warm up is on a cardio machine.

  1. Select a cardio warm up on: upright cycle bike, recumbent bike, treadmill, elliptical, rower, etc.
  2. Set the timer for 5-10 minutes depending on the factors mentioned earlier.
  3. Input your weight, age, and any other data into the cardio machine, so it can begin to measure your heart rate (or simply use a fitness activity tracker).
  4. Start the cardio warm up.

How to calculate your warm up heart rate zone:

The goal of the warm up is to elevate your heart rate beats per minute (bpm) to 55%-65% of your maximum heart rate.

Warm up heart rate zone:

  • = (220 – your age) x 0.55
  • = (220 – your age) x 0.65

For example, I’m 37 years old, so my warm up heart rate zone would be calculated as follows:

  • (220 – 37) x 0.55 = 100 bpm
  • (220 – 37) x 0.65 = 119 bpm

Now that you’ve calculate your warm up heart rate zone, the goal is to progressively elevate your heart rate within that zone, then maintain it for 5-10 minutes.

Live Lean Mobility

Is a 5-10 minute cardio warm up all I need?

Not really, but it’s a good start.

In a perfect world, in addition to the 5-10 minute cardio warm up, I’d also recommend including mobility work and dynamic stretching before your weight training workout.

However, I realize most people are tight on time, so a 5-10 minute cardio warm up will still help.

Important Note:

Just because you did a 5-10 minute cardio warm up, it DOES NOT mean you’re ready to hit a personal record on your first lift.

Make sure you also include warm up sets on your first exercise.

Start light to correctly take your body through the full movement pattern of the exercise.

Once you do 1-2 warm up sets of the lift, consider starting your regular working sets for that first exercise in your program.


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Brad Gouthro is the founder of Live Lean TV, a media company focused on helping men and women “Live Lean” 365 days a year. Brad’s programs and content have helped millions of people all over the world learn how to get in shape, and more importantly, sustain it for life.

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