Your warm-up kills exercise…and gains


Many popular trainers have their own warm-up routine: Wenning warm-up, DeFranco warm-up, etc. What is a Thibaudeau warm-up?

There is no such thing. Do only what is absolutely required. My philosophy is to do as little “stuff” as possible to perform correctly and safely during your session.

It depends on what you will be training and your current physical condition. You won’t need the same if you wake up stiff and sore and do a quick workout versus if you feel comfortable and relaxed before your arm session.

Any “things” that don’t directly contribute to improving your next workout is a waste of time, energy, recovery capacity, and nervous drive. In fact, overheating can reduce the amount of “active work” you can do by causing some central fatigue.

Central fatigue has nothing to do with how you feel. It simply indicates a weakening of the central excitation drive sent to the muscles. When central fatigue builds up, the excitatory drive becomes weaker and becomes less effective at recruiting and releasing high-threshold motor units, and thus fast-twitching fibers. This leads to less stimulation for growth and less potential for strength, power and speed.

Any physical activity can (and does) cause central fatigue. This is especially true for activities of great duration, those causing discomfort, and those with a high level of sensory cues – this is the case for most intrinsic myofascial actions, mobility work, and peripheral activation work. Even central activation acting like jumps and throws can cause central fatigue due to their explosive nature.

I’m not saying that warming up will completely ruin your session. But the volume of excessive warm-up will certainly have a negative effect.

I’ve been “grown up” to do 5 minute light work (treadmill, stationary bike, etc) and then start light on my first workout and gradually raise the weight toward my first work set. Sometimes I do up to 5-7 of these warm-up sets; Other times, it will be 2-3, depending on the feeling of movement. This is what most of the pioneers did.

If I got stuck in areas that would negatively affect my main lift, I would do a small amount of work navigating that area. If I didn’t feel restricted, I wouldn’t.

If I have some sore muscles, I might do a small amount of myofascial release. But I will likely change my training plan: releasing the muscle fascia has an analgesic effect. It reduces the pain signal, but does not solve the problem. Therefore, you may end up training a muscle that should be left alone for a few days. Shattering an affected part of the body can make matters worse.

If I felt lethargic and lazy, I would do some jumping jacks or medicine ball throws to lift myself up. But if I was excited from the start, I wouldn’t.

See where I’m going with this? Always try to do as little work as possible to prepare yourself for the workout.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: