Warm Up Strategies for Personal Trainers

Warm Up Strategies for Personal Trainers

As personal trainers, we need to warm up our clients, but we have to be careful to find the right balance between the best possible warm-up for our clients and the most efficient warm-up for the session time.

Most personal training sessions last between 45 and 60 minutes. Warm-ups should take between five and 10 minutes and should include:

● Raising heart rate
● Mobilising
● Movement preparation

A key tip from me is to get your clients to arrive 5 to 10 minutes before your session so that they can complete the heart raising section on their own.

Raising Heart Rate

The heart raising section could consist of a whole variety of different exercises, but for the ease of the client, I would stick to a set amount of time on 2 or 3 different bits of cardio equipment - such as Treadmill, Bike and Stairmaster.

If you can be with your client at this time, it can be helpful. Your clients will arrive different for every session, maybe stressed, maybe tired, maybe distracted or focused.
Being with them at this time allows you to assess where they are on that day and how you may need to adjust your session if required. Your client may use this time to tell you about their wins for the week or things they have found challenging, which you can respond to, making your coaching relationship even stronger.


The next section I would like to cover is mobilising your clients before the work they are about to complete. You, of course, want to consider what movement patterns you are working on within the session and match your mobility accordingly.

Here are some drills I recommend performing before workouts:

Mobilising for Deadlifts

● Rocking frog

● Mountain climber with rotation

● 9090 hip rotations

● Banded X walks

Mobilising for Squats

● Bent knee iron Cross

● Kneeling hip flexor mobilisations

● Reversed plank bridge

Here are my three favourite mobilisation drills that are pretty handy for any training session:

● Scapular halo

● The greatest stretch in the world

● Dead bug

The last thing we want to consider is going through the movement patterns we are going to cover within the session but at a lighter load.

The best strategy to complete this is to do this before each exercise rather than at the beginning of the session.

For example, if we were covering the following exercises

Barbell back squat
Dumbbell chest press
Barbell prone row
Kettlebell Romanian deadlifts

You would want to include both warm-up sets and working sets for each exercise. My advice here is to start light and work up to your clients' working load at increments that feel comfortable for them without spending too much energy to affect the working sets.

I want to stress that spending 20 to 30 minutes warming up can be counter-productive. As a trainer, it's your responsibility to prepare your client for the session within a short time. This gives them value for money as you will be training for longer and hopefully a quicker pace of progress.

Keep it simple
Keep it fun
Keep it functional
Keep it specific
Keep it short

And then you should be onto a winner and setting your client up for an excellent session, leaving them in a better place than when they arrived.