A critical part of one's lifting program is the issue of injury prevention. You're not just stressing your muscles. Your joints and connective tissues are also taking a beating. If that stress adds up over time, it can lead to significant problems if you're not careful and taking the proper steps to prevent injury.
The ability to lift weights hinges on the fact that your joints are strong enough in the first place. The goal isn't just to be in the gym for a few months or years. Instead, you're adopting bodybuilding and fitness as part of your overall lifestyle for the long haul. So keeping your joints and connective tissues healthy should be a primary concern. This means warming up properly. For me, this includes a few light reps before my main workout. The goal is to increase your core temperature and improve your joint mobility and lubrication. You want to get your muscles and central nervous system fired in preparation for those heavier weights to come. I like to use a mix of dynamic movements like arm swings (see pic below) as well as a few weight acclimatization sets before doing the first proper compound exercise of the workout (e.g., bench press). The bottom line here is that if you're not warming up properly before your workout, you are needlessly risking injury by asking your muscles to do things they're not ready for.
An effective warm up should take only 10-15 minutes using proper techniques and appropriate weight to minimize the initial stress on your joints and to maximize the muscle building effectiveness of each subsequent exercise you will perform during your workout.
Please warm up!
|Doing arm swings during today's warm up.|