When you are performing warm up sets for heavy compound exercises you are not just trying to warm up your muscles, but also your central nervous system (CNS). For this reason, it is best to use a combination of moderate reps and smaller jumps in weight as you approach your first working set.
Once your warm up sets reach approximately 70% of the weight you will use for your first working set, trying jumping weight by about 10% from here on out and using singles. For example, if you are using 300 pounds for your first working set on squats, only your warm up sets reach 225 pounds, make smaller jumps in weight of approximately 20-25 pounds (10%ish).
Here is an example warm up for a 300 pound working set:
- Set 1 – Bar x 10-15 reps
- Set 2 – 135 x 5-10 reps
- Set 3 – 185 x 3-5 reps
- Set 4 – 225 x 1-3 reps
At this point you start to take jump sin the range of 10%, focusing on warming up the central nervous system.
- Set 5 – 250 x 1 rep
- Set 6 – 275 x 1 rep
- Set 7 – Working set using 300 pounds
By properly warming up your central nervous system, you will be recruiting more muscle fibers, and reducing the risk of injury.