Rethink Your Warm Up

Michael Hulcher

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Coaching, Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting, CrossFit


You come in, you hop on a rower, or maybe you absentmindedly pedal an Airdyne while scrolling Instagram. Then you walk over, grab a PVC pipe and do some borderline terrible dislocates, a few half range of motion squats, and then it's time to get to work, right? Does this sound familiar?


There's a lot more to warming up than just arbitrarily moving around. Instead of wasting 10-15 minutes of your sessions every day, you could start using this valuable time to build your work capacity and increase your technical proficiency and coordination—this is especially important for beginners. Here are some basic examples of some warm-up variations that you can use if you train yourself or others and have found yourself sticking to the same 1-2 basic (and boring) upper or lower body warm-ups.



Warm Up 1

Three rounds, not for time, at around 50-60% intensity.


  • 400m run
  • 60m bear crawl
  • 3 burpee pull-ups
  • 60m farmer's carry


Warm Up 2

Two rounds, not for time, at around 50-60% intensity with 30 seconds of rest between rounds.


  • 150m run
  • 5 burpees
  • 10 ski erg cals
  • 5 kettlebell swings
  • 10 Airdyne cals
  • 5 goblet squats


Warm Up 3

Three rounds, increasing intensity each round (50%, 60%, 70%) with 1 min rest between each round


  • 250m row
  • 30m walking lunges
  • 10 push ups
  • 30m bear crawl
  • 5 pull-ups


Warm Up 4

  • 2000m ski erg with a 150m run every other minute on the minute (EOMOM)


Make Your Warm-Up Count

As you can see, these are full body warm-ups, done well below maximum intensity. This provides an opportunity to practice technical skills (ski, row, kettlebell swing), build some work capacity (squats, pull-ups, cardiovascular endurance), and improve coordination (bear crawls, swings, kettlebells, ski, row, running).


These warm-ups are easy to scale this down for beginners—decrease loading, increase rest times, remove or change movements, etc. This should get you breathing (but not too hard), sweaty, and prepared for the work to follow. But, it can't be so hard that it interferes with the day's workout. There's a line there, and the line gets thinner if you're not so fit. If you're very fit, then there's more room to play with warm-ups.


Rethink Your Warm Up - Fitness, warm up, running, dynamic warm up, warm up drills, gym jones, basic fitness, cardiovascular endurance, squat mobility, ski erg


If you're writing your own warm-ups, this is a good place to insert skills and movements you want to work on while not under large amounts of cardiovascular duress. You can't really learn a skill while under the stress of a workout for time. You need to really focus on the skill to improve that skill. Rethink your warm up and design it so it makes you better.

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