Workout Tips

3 Tips for Training in the Cold

Follow these weight training tips to go the most out of your winter workouts.

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During last night's workout, I started thinking about how good I was feeling from set-to-set, especially as the workout went on.
 
When you're training in the winter, there are definitely a few tricks you can do to make every single workout more effective and keep your body primed for more intense training.

1. Layer Up

Wearing multiple layers during the warm-up - and keeping them on throughout the workout - is a great way to stay warm and keep a sweat going throughout the workout. On top, I typically wear a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, and a sweatshirt. On bottom, wearing a pair of shorts and sweatpants can keep your hips and knees warm throughout the workout. For even more support and focused heat, knee sleeves and elbows sleeves are the ticket for keeping compression, heat, and support on your elbows and knees for any upper or lower body training.

2. General to Specific

Your warm-up should progress from general to specific. This means, when warming up for barbell bench press, you can start with shoulder warm-up drills, upper back activation exercises, and pushups to fire up the chest. Then, as you start to progress through the warm-up and you're getting ready to get under the bar, pushups with your hands on a barbell (that is setup in the rack) and/or high volume reps with benching just the barbell, should  be used to specifically fire up the actual muscle groups you'll be using for your main sets.

3. Pace the Ramp-Up

You're coming in cold from off the streets or you just got out of work, don't just get under the bar and start lifting. The warm-up should be thorough and comprehensive, but when the warm-up is done, slowly ramp up your working sets. This means taking smaller jumps and performing low reps at each weight to get to your main working sets.
 
Let's say you're deadlifting as the main lift for the day. Most guys when working up to 405lbs, will hit the following:
 
Set 1: 135 lbs x 5 reps
Set 2: 225 lbs x 5 reps
Set 3: 315 lbs x 3 reps
Set 4: 365 lbs x 3 reps
Set 5: 405 lbs x main work sets
 
Ramping up to the main lift with more jumps will help your body prepare for heavier weights and give you the opportunity to dial-in your technique and bracing mechanics. An updated ramp up scheme could look like this:
 
Set 1: 135 lbs x 5 reps
Set 2: 185 lbs x 5 reps
Set 3: 225 lbs x 3 reps
Set 4: 275 lbs x 3 reps
Set 5: 315 lbs x 1 reps
Set 6: 365 lbs x 1 reps
Set 7: 405 lbs x main work sets
 
Don't forget, ramping up with more weight jumps and lower volume works for all heavy barbell lifts. It really depends on how you're feeling on that particular day. You need to listen to how your body's responding.
 
Sometimes after the warm-up and the ramp up, the movement still might not be 'feeling right' - that's when you have to make a decision on the fly to change up the main lift and live to fight another day.
 
Hope these tips help you out for training in the cold.

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