I apologize for troubling you with a question. I read the StrongLifts 5×5 guide and I really like and believe in the material. I am chomping at the bit to get started on Sunday, as I’ve opted for a Sun/Tue/Thur routine; it just fits my schedule better.
Anyway, here’s my only question: regarding the warm-up sets, at what point do they really become necessary? I am going to follow your advice and start with an empty bar as I haven’t lifted in a few months. Clearly, it seems a bit silly to “warm up” with the empty bar when that will, in fact, be my work weight. Any guidelines on that?
By the way, I’m one of those overly analytical folks who finds the details in EVERYTHING, so for me to have only that one question, I have to say: EXCELLENT job on the StrongLifts 5×5 guide! Thanks much!
It would indeed be silly to do 2 sets of 5 with the empty bar as warm-up for Squats, Bench and Press, to then follow up with another 5 sets of 5 reps with that same 45lb barbell that is your work weight on the first workouts, because you would be doing 7 sets of 5 reps with the same weight, not 5×5.
So instead just do 5×5 45lb on Squats on your first workout, then jump to 5×5 Bench Press with 45lb, and then 5×5 65lb Barbell Rows. No need to start with a lighter bar or whatever, just jump straight into your work weight. Once there’s 55lb on the bar, then you can start adding warm-up sets like this:
|5x5 45lb||1x5 45lb||2x5 45lb||2x5 45lb|
|5x5 55lb||5x5 65lb||1x3 65lb|
If you feel your joints/muscles need more than that to warm-up, then start with 2 sets of 8 reps body-weight Squats with both hands behind your head (even better: Overhead Squats with a broomstick), followed by 2 sets of 10 shoulder dislocations with a resistance band. This will warm you up plenty.