What to do before you lift? Foam Rolling & Dynamic Stretches!

22 Aug
Chang-Hwa Bank Team make their warming up at 2...

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Right after I get to the gym, after I leave the locker room, there is a certain routine I do before I start lifting. That is I do some foam rolling and dynamic stretches. This helps me prepare for my lifting routine that I will be doing that day.

Why not just start lifting right away? It is always better to warm-up, get your blood flowing and your muscles ready before you start lifting. This can help prevent injuries and loosen your body to help in your lifts.

After trying to find out ways to help fix some issues with my lifts I have found that doing some foam rolling exercises and dynamic stretches before I start any of my major lifts to help.

Foam Rolling:

This is what I always start with before I lift. I tend to do 20-50 reps on each part of the body I want to hit. The parts I normally do are:

Eric Cressey has a great video demonstrating how to use a foam roller:

You can also do some foam rolling post-workout and in non-workout days.

Dynamic Stretches:

From what I have read, static stretches are better done post-workout than pre-workout.  Static stretches can possibly impair your performance and does not help much to warm-up your body for the lifting you will be doing. Dynamic stretches on the other hand are better to do pre-workout and beneficial for you to do.

There are many ways to do dynamic stretches but the following are some that I tend to do after I do some foam rolling: (Usually 10 reps each side)

  • #4-7 of the Agile 8
  • Hip Circles
  • Leg swings and Side leg swings
  • Arm Windmills
  • Shoulder Dislocations
  • Side-to-side lunge
  • Squat to stand

Once I do the above I try to see if I can add something else as needed (or whatever I can remember at the time) to spice it up. There are many types of dynamic stretches you can do before you workout. Here are a compilation of them that I have found online: Stretch & Mobility Drills

Below is a video with a whole routine to warm-up as an example for what to do dynamic stretches:


So that are just some of the things I do before I start my workout. Sometimes I switch things around and add/replace/remove certain exercises for what I need for that day.

The important thing to do is do some of those things I mentioned above to get yourself ready for some heavy lifting!

I always try to learn something new every day and it seems to help by constantly reading up on things. Many things change all the time so it’s always best to keep your eye and ears open.

I also always start my lifts with warm-up sets. Explanation on that should wait for another post next time.



Posted by on August 22, 2011 in Fitness, Program


Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 responses to “What to do before you lift? Foam Rolling & Dynamic Stretches!

  1. Angela McCuiston

    October 10, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for the pingback on my blog:

    I read this article and I like you are going with it. I’d like to mention that static stretches are ok to do before a workout IF 1) you are stretching a tight, shortened muscle and not a weak/stretched muscle (aka hip flexors need to release so you static stretch them, you do not need to static stretch the hamstrings which probably are already weak and tight from being stretched due to overactive hip flexors) and 2) if you are going to lift soon afterward, you follow that type of stretching up with active-isolated and even dynamic stretching, like you mentioned. Also to remember is that type of stretching is actually not appropriate for everyone. If you have someone who is really jacked up with muscle compensations, doing a big dynamic warmup is not serving its intended purpose because they’re muscles are 1)shortened 2)compensating and therefore 3)not being put through their full ROM because of this.

    I watched about half of the Diesel Crew video and while I like them, I thought it was funny that he felt it necessary to do “extra” stretches and movements in between the stretches he was doing. Why would you need to do side bends after another type of stretch? Maybe because he didn’t do a stretch he actually needed or did it incorrectly? I don’t know but I thought it ironic. I liked seeing the elbow and wrist circles and will use those – though at a slower pace.

    Keep it up!

    • Mannix Castro

      October 10, 2011 at 10:46 am

      Never thought of that before.
      Thanks for the info!

      Your blog is nice BTW.
      Nice how you include both your passions 😀


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