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-   -   Question on Warmup Sets for SS (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=401)

Elliot Royce 01-18-2007 07:52 AM

Question on Warmup Sets for SS
This has probably been addressed but Rippetoe's SS beginner workout has a lot of warmup sets. The charts in the back indicate somewhere around 5 warmup sets followed by 5 work sets. I like the progressive nature of the warmup but I did Workout A last night and it took about 1.5 hours, not even including stretching. I could probably speed it up a bit but when the weights go heavier, the rest periods on the work sets go up. I was doing maybe 30s-1m rests on the warmup (just to change the bar or look up the weight in SS) and 2-3 min rests on the work sets.

So, how can I reduce the number of warmup sets without provoking an injury? Rippetoe does say that warmup is most needed at the beginning with the squats and that one should be warmed up with the deadlifts. But even then there are still 5 warmup sets for deadlifts in his table.

Allen Yeh 01-18-2007 08:58 AM


Curious what does the warmup sets look like for SS?

In "The New Rules of lifting" by Alwyn Cosgrove and Lou Schuler he recommends something like this for squat/deadlift 45 x 5, 95 x 4, 135 x 3, 185 x 2, 225 x 1...etc until you get near working weight so if your first working set is 315 then 275 x 1, 315 x 1 for upper bench/row/overhead press they recommend something akin to 45 x 5, 95 x 3, 135 x 1, 185 x 1...etc I usually take minimal rest during these warmup sets basically enough to switch out the weight.

Elliot Royce 01-18-2007 09:18 AM

Here's what I did last night. Remember double hip replacement a year or so ago before you laugh at my squats!

The basic idea is lots of warmup, with the weights building but the reps declining (bring your warmup set to 1-2 reps before you move to work sets)

Back Squats
4 warmup sets - empty bar, bar + 20lb, bar + 40lb, bar + 40lb

4x195 >>> these last 2 sets were the first 2 of 5 work sets but I ran out of gas


Warm up
2x10x45 - empty bar

5x215 >> again, I should have done 5 sets here but ran out of gas.

Here I cheated a bit since he says in the book that you should be warmed up, but technically I think I should have done a few more sets.


I didn't really make it to my target work sets. After all those squats and the warmup deadlifts, I just gassed out.

This was the first time on the program so as I understand it, I would back off slightly on the bench and back off a lot on the deadlift.

Does that make sense? I tried to copy his progression in the back of the book but these are not exact and I may have it a bit off.

Rick Deckart 01-18-2007 10:40 AM


if I remember the SS program correctly, you should do 3 worksets, not 5. The template for warmups sets goes like 20kg x 5 reps x 2 sets, 40kg x 5 reps, 60kg x 3 reps and 80kg x 2 reps for worksets with 100kg. Start with the empty bar and work you way up to the target weight with 5 or more, or less sets if this fits you.

Looking at your log I would say, drastically cut down the load of the worksets, say at least 10% better 20% and work your way back up again. If the warmup sets tire you they are actually worksets for you and serve not their purpose, to warm you up for the following work. Also if you cannot complete 5 reps on your first workset you are simply not ready for the load...



Elliot Royce 01-18-2007 12:01 PM

Thanks Peter. I think you're right and 3 sets makes more sense. You would not then cut back on the warm up sets? My original question was how to shorten this workout. Any suggestions?

I did hit 5 reps on the first work set (the first squat set was curtailed because I got an incredible cramp in my forearm, not because I couldn't deal with the weight) for the first two exercises. On the deadlift, I think my warmup sets were my work sets!

What I'd plan for the workset weights the next time I go would be:

Squat: 190#
Bench: 215# - this I could probably get based on other lifting I've been doing
Deadlift: 190#

Does this sound right?

Also, does anyone have a spreadsheet to track all this?

R. Alan Hester 01-18-2007 12:23 PM

Maybe you can convert this one to your needs:

Rick Deckart 01-18-2007 12:33 PM

Hi Elliot,

I am not a coach but I would would probably start with something like:

squat 170
bench 150*(-190)
deadlift 180

and work my way up. The way I warm up I take no rest at all between the first sets except what it takes to change the plates. Before the first workset I take a 1-2 minute break or whatever I feel I need and go on. After squats I am usually so warm that I don't need 3-5 warmup sets for whatever I do after them. Just one or two sets till I am sure the technique is correct.

*Usually the bench is much lower than the squat, so don't push the bench and allow your squat some time to grow. If I understand SS correct, the whole idea is to progress from workout to workout, so every workout. In the beginning it will be say 10kg increase per workout for a couple of weeks, than 5kg for another couple of weeks, then say 2kg etc... If you start short of your current absolute max chances are you won't get far before you get stuck...



Elliot Royce 01-18-2007 01:02 PM

Thanks Alan. I'll check that out.

Peter - you seem pretty informed even if you're not a coach. I've ordered practical Programming by Rippetoe which apparently lays it all out so I'll follow that. Less is more, and starting at the right level is critical.

I'm not sure I follow your logic on the bench. I can see how I'd want to keep the bench in proportion to my rows to avoid shoulder issues, but I don't see why I should hold back on bench because of my squats. Perhaps I should say that I've got about 210lbs of lean body mass and was benching above 300lbs a few years ago. So, 215lbs is only around 0.9x of my bodyweight. With my hip replacements, basically any muscle development in my legs went to zero a year ago and I've been working to get it back since then. Also, now that I have more ROM in the hips, I am taking my leg-related muscles to places they haven't been since I was about 12 years old! I don't plan to emphasize the bench that much and will probably shift more to the O lifts but I don't think working up to 250lbs work sets on the bench should be too tough. Do you disagree?

Rick Deckart 01-18-2007 01:44 PM

Hi Elliot,

the poundage for the bench is not a big deal, but personally I prefer or at least try to achieve one thing at a time. If you take the bench on a backburner for a while chances are that you will make greater gains in the squat. And if you had a 300lbs bench I think you will regain the bench very fast...

You had both hips replaced? Respect that you still train and take care.



Elliot Royce 01-18-2007 03:12 PM

In other words, the neural recovery plus general energy level gets sapped by the bench? Very good point. Would probably make sense to just do presses each day instead of alternating bench and press.

When you can bench press more than you can squat or deadlift, then you're right: something is not balanced!

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