Strength Training/Warm up sets


Using for example a working set of 4x5 bench at 90%, I'd do warm up sets in this fashion:
1x10 @ 50%
1x8 @ 60%
1x6 @ 70%
1x3 @ 80%
But I notice on the first working set I feel unprepared to take the weight and I'm awfully weak as if I had not warmed up at all. From the second working set on I perform as expected.
I think there is something wrong with my warm up sets, I thought of adding a 2-3x1 @ 90% but warming up with my working weight screams silly. Is it really?
Any insight?

You are going to find differing opinions about warm-up sets, but I'm a believer that less is more.  Meaning, I don't like to spend a lot of my energy on warm-up sets.  If I my training was 4x5 at 90%, my warm-up sets I would be doing no more than 3 reps and progressing accordingly.  I do some type of cardio before lifting to get the blood flowing, then I would do maybe one set at 60% for 3 reps, one at 80% for three reps, then I would go.  Yeah your first set, might be a wee bit challenging, but for me I am warmed up, my body isn't too fatigued from the warm-up, and I hopefully will be good to go from then on.

Hope that helps.

Strength Training

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Adam Kessler


USA Weightlifting Sport Performance Coach and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. I have 16 years experience in the industry and now run my own personal training company.

I am a speed expert. I can answer questions in regards to how to get faster and or quicker. If you are an athlete, I can also help you with your strength training routine. Understanding how you need to workout to get stronger will also help you get faster as well.

Please Note: I cannot give out any type of exercise programs. I can give advice, but don't ask me to give you an off-season workout or program to do at home. I know nothing about you and cannot give information like that over this forum. You might misinterpret what I'm saying, get hurt, and I get in trouble. Ask specific questions. I do have a document you can download that discusses the basics of losing and gaining weight. Please click here to download this document.

I have a nice report that discusses what you would need to do to be successful with your speed program. I also have highlighted over 100 athletes and coaches that have worked with me and the success they have had with my speed program. Some of them, we have documented the exact improvements in their running times to illustrate what an awesome program this is. It is called The Secrets to Their Success and you can check it out at for more information.

You can follow me on Twitter at

Also, become a fan of my Facebook Fan Page, by clicking here Fitness Planning Consultants, Inc.


I have had over 16 years of experience in the health and fitness field. The last 9, I started and have been running my own personal training company. I was also the head strength coach of an area high school for 4 years before committing to my company full-time.

I am a member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. I also belong to USA Weightlifting.

I have been the feature of several articles in Columbus Business First and Mid-Ohio Golfer. I have written articles for various online article directories which can be found by Google searching my name. I have done speakings at several state and local clinics for strength and conditioning.

B.A. at Indiana University (1994)
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
USA Weightlifting Sport Performance Coach

©2017 All rights reserved.