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Do Warmup Set for Squats?

Q: I tried your 4×10 method on every exercise, and I’m amazed. The pump was incredible, and my nervous system didn’t feel so hammered at the end of my workout as it has with high intensity. My question is, Shouldn’t I do at least one warmup set on the more dangerous exercises, like squats?

A: In theory the first set or two in a 4×10 sequence should be a sufficient warmup. That’s because you use a weight you could get 15 reps with, but you do only 10. You use that same poundage all the way through.

So on the first set you get 10 reps easy; rest 30 to 40 seconds. On the second set you get 10, but it’s a little harder. Take another 30-to-40-second rest, and then do your third set, which is a difficult 10. After another 30-to-40-second rest, your fourth set should be tough, and you should get only eight or nine. If you get 10, congratulations, you get to up your weight at your next workout.

As you said, some exercises like squats, some types of presses and many stretch-position movements, like incline curls for biceps—are more dangerous and/or take extra coordination and nervous system sychronization. On those we like to do one light warmup set before attacking the 4×10 sequence. One lighter set is plenty.

I take a weight that I could get about 20 reps with, but I do only 10 slow, controlled reps. That gets my nervous system primed and coordination up to speed. It also seeds the tendons and ligaments for optimal power.

Not all exercises require that one lighter warmup set. I recommend it for most big, midrange exercises and most stretch-position exercises. They’re usually the first and second exercises in the three-way Positions-of-Flexion bodypart routines.

Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on the POF videos and Size Surge programs at Also visit for information on X-Rep and 3D POF methods and e-booksIM

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