Warming up for the 3-5 Method



Q: I have done the 5x5 workout and that was killer! What I was told was to do 3-4 exercises for large body parts and 1-2 for small. I see there are many different explanations of this 5x5 routine. How do you utilize it?

Recently I did your routine from Bodybuilding.com (the Size and Strength workout), and it was good. I have a question. Doing the third week how do you do the sets? Do you do a warm up and then go right to the weight you can do for 3 reps? 

The last question is where do I go from here? I have all your books in paperback form. I liked doing the Shotgun Method and quite frankly all of the ones I tried I liked. I still have some body fat to get rid of. I want to get to that classic bodybuilder physique, and I feel I am closing in on it with the great info from your books.


My Answer: The thing about warming up is that warm-up sets should activate the nervous system but not tire you out.  A lot of people do warm-up sets like this:

12 to 15 reps with approximately 50% of the starting work weight.

The problem with this type of warm-up is that high reps produce lactic acid, and this lactic acid interferes with nerve function.  This is why you can't keep lifting once you feel the pain of muscle burn.  So if you do high rep warm-ups, then you won't be able to lift quite as much weight in your work sets.

Nevertheless you need a high number of reps to pump blood into your muscles and lubricate your joints.  So instead of doing 2-3 warm-up sets of 12-15 reps, you do several warm-up sets of 1-5 reps.  You would increase the weight from warm-up set to warm-up set, building up to your working weight:

Warm-up set #1: 100 lbs., 5 reps
Warm-up set #2: 120 lbs., 4 reps
Warm-up set #3: 140 lbs., 3 reps
Warm-up set #4: 160 lbs., 2 reps
Warm-up set #5: 180 lbs., 1 rep

Work set #1: 200 lbs., 3 reps


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