Bench Press Warmups in Powerlifting

Should you do warm-up before bench press in a powerlifting class?  One of our members asked me why we don’t provide warm-ups before our powerlifting classes?  That’s a complex, controversial question.  Here are the top 15 Warm-ups we recommend, a special Bench Press Warm-up Class, and an overarching answer to whether you need to warm-up in a powerlifting class.

Bench Press Warm-ups

Experts do not Agree as to Whether it’s Necessary to do Warm-ups before Powerlifting.

CrossFit teach warm-ups before all heavy days.  Starting Strength feels that warming up with the bar is generally sufficient.  Ready State suggests you should do your mobility homework on your recovery days.

Mammals Don’t do Warm-ups

Gorillas, monkeys, pigs, etc. don’t warm-up before they hunt, run, etc.  But they also don’t sit in chairs all day either.  On balance, Paul believes that Kelly Starret and Ready State’s approach is best.  Dawn favors CrossFit’s approach.  CrossFit approach is more cautious, Starting Strength is more time effective.

The reason mammals (other than humans) don’t have to warm-up is because they keep their body moving well throughout the day.  Powerlifting and Olympic lifting involves large compound exercises.  Exercises that require a range of mobility, strength, and flexibility.  You should have your body in a “Ready State” to do those exercises in your workout program.  If you need to spend 30 minutes warming up your body to do heavy on Bench press, maybe you aren’t ready to do bench press?

Bench Press Warm-upsWhat Body Parts Should we Warmup for Bench Press?

You need to warm-up those muscles that: (1) you have poor or uneven neuromuscular connection; and (2) you have insufficient range of motion to complete good technique.  Which are muscles are those?  I don’t know, it’s your body.  In a class format, an instructor cannot analyze, diagnose, teach, and correct all the warm-ups necessary for every one to do an exercise correctly if they have an underlying muscular weakness.  Different people need different warm-ups.  Any generalized warm-up for bench press or any other powerlifting / Olympic lifting exercise is not optimized for your body.

So Are Doing Warm-ups for Bench Press Bad?

No, warm-ups are fine.  However, it’s better if you can keep your body in a primed state so that you don’t have to long, protracted warm-ups.  As it applies to Powerlifting, we agree with Marc Riptoe and Starting Strength.  Warming up with the bar should be sufficient for most people — otherwise maybe you aren’t ready to do Powerlifting or Olympic lifting just yet.

So Where Can I Start Learning the Warm-ups I Need Personally?

Personal Training is the best service for learning which particular warm-ups you need for your body.   Through one-on-one training, a certified personal trainer can proscribe the necessary warm-ups in terms of frequency, duration, and type to get the desired improvement in technique.

Dude, I Read This Whole Article, Can You Give Me Some Free Warm-ups For Bench Press?

There are hundreds of potential warm-ups we could choose.  Everything from age, injuries, time, and available equipment would need to be considered.  But for a person in their thirties, with no major injuries, in a CrossFit box, that wanted to warm-up everything — here is what I would recommend:

  1. Hamstrings: Cook Bridge
  2. Glutes: Power Clam
  3. Core Activation: elbow leg lifts
  4. Lower Back Extension: Superman
  5. Core Stability: Renegade Row
  6. Core Stability: Quadraped Fly
  7. Lat Engagement: Pullovers
  8. Hover Pose Hold: Total Press Pattern
  9. Pec Engagement: Supine Chest Pass
  10. Pec Engagement: Squeezing Floor Press
  11. Tricep Engagement: Skull Press
  12. Tricep Engagement: Banded Pushdown
  13. Forearm Engagement: Farmers Carry with Forearm Flexion
  14. Forearm Engagement – Child’s Pose Flow
  15. Pushups Total Press Pattern.

Wow That’s a Lot — Where Can I Learn Those?

Class on Bench Press Warm-Ups
We’ll be covering the Bench Press Warm-ups in Beyond Stretch on June 25, 2020 at 7PM.  If you are a new member, you can Try a Free Class.

Why Should I Listen to your Advice on Bench Press?

I bench 275 pounds currently at 40 years old, and I have over 30 certifications in personal training and mobility.  But then again, this article is free generalized advice on bench press warm-ups.  Individual needs will vary.

So Which Bench Press Warm-ups Should I Do Before Powerlifting Class?

You need to do those warm-ups which improve the execution of your technique.  There are no universal answers to this question.

So Why Doesn’t Sand & Steel Include Generalized Class Warm-ups in Powerlifting?

We do… the first 10 minutes of the class is a self-directed warm-up.  Some people choose to warm-up with the bar, and that’s fine.  If your body needs individual warm-ups for bench press, e.g. pec major engagement, you should do them.  If you need assistance on warming up any specific body part like your wrist for bench press, talk to your coach.  Also, you can learn about all the different warm-ups and corrective exercises in our Beyond Stretch class.


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