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Why Warm Up Exercise Is Best

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Dynamic Warm Up
A proper warm up is a crucial part of any strength training session!

Why do we warm up? Warming up your muscles and joints before a workout is proven to reduce the risk of injury. Trust me, once you're knocked out of commission for a couple weeks and going crazy not being able to get your lifts in, you'll wish you took the time to warm up! Of course that's not the only benefit of warming up. A good warm up ensures that you are getting the most out of your actual strength training session, as your muscles perform better once they are warmed up. If you fail to warm up, the first half of your strength training session is basically wasted, as your body is not prepared for the stress you are about to introduce it to. It uses this time as the "warm up" instead, this is especially troublesome since your main lift is done at the start of a workout.
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How do we warm up? I like incorporating foam rolling, dynamic stretching, mobility exercises, band walks, and some body weight exercises. For example, I'll start off with 5-10 minutes of rolling out. Followed by a dynamic hip flexor stretch, single leg glute raises, single arm planks, lateral lunges, band walks, World's Greatest Stretch, reverse lunges, single leg RDLs, wall slides, pushups, pullups, and plyos. Finally, I'll also ramp up slowly on my first main lift. If I am squatting I'll do a couple with just the bar, then a couple with 135lbs, then just one rep at a weight close to my actual working weight. After all of this my body is raring to go all out on my first working set of squats, ensuring that I will get the most out of my main lift.
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How long should it take? A true warm up should take around 15 minutes to perform. This will be followed by a 40-50 minute workout, and 5-10 minutes of stretching at the end.
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Warming up isn't the most exciting thing in the world, but it is truly worth putting in the time. Even if you feel invincible and don't fear injuries, warming up will allow you to move more weight during your workouts, which in turn will lead to increased lean muscle gains!