Stretching has long been touted as the most effective muscle injury prevention mechanism available, and thus is used by bodybuilders around the world prior to weight lifting workout sessions to reduce the risk of muscle strains and tears. Much time is spent performing various types of stretches depending upon which muscle group is focused upon, and there is no doubt that increasing flexibility can allow for superior range of motion during weight training exercises, and also can reduce the incidence of various muscle injuries.

Yet, despite the benefits of stretching, for the bodybuilder who is hoisting heavy poundage during weight training sessions, there is a far more effective injury prevention technique that can be performed in addition to, or even in lieu of stretching, and is neglected by far too many bodybuilders. Warm up sets are, by far, the most potent weight lifting workout injury prevention method, as they prepare a muscle for pending stress, and when implemented properly within a weight lifting workout plan, they can prevent the pain and discomfort that often surfaces in joints and muscles.

We all know that fully depressing the gas pedal on an automobile shortly after starting the engine can cause great damage, as the oil has yet to circulate properly through the various chambers of the engine, and operating a vehicle at full power when engine temperature has yet to rise will increase the chances for wear, tear and potential engine failure, and although we all apply this to our car by way of an engine warm up period, many bodybuilders neglect to use the same logic on their own body, which responds similar to an automobile in such circumstances, except instead of waiting for oil to circulate through the engine compartments and allowing engine temperature to rise, we are attempting to increase blood flow into the muscle vessels so that they are prepared to handle heavy weights during an intense bodybuilding session. By doing so, the muscles, like an automobile engine, are in essence lubricated, preparing them for intense stress that follows, but when warm up sets are neglected, the muscles are performing at maximum capacity from a cold state, and can easily experience injuries ranging in severity from minor muscle strains to major tears.

Many bodybuilders may fear that performing warm ups will adversely impact the actual weight used during a workout set, but this is not only a false notion, but surprisingly to many, the opposite is true, meaning that by performing warms ups properly, the muscle are actually able to lift greater amounts of weight during a workout set than if they were attempting to perform the weight training exercise absent any warm up efforts, which makes this concept much more plausible to those who wish to maximize muscle building results. But even if warm ups were not to offer this significant benefit, the injury prevention capability itself is extremely important to any bodybuilder who has a long term vision, as other than improper weight lifting and bodybuilding diet techniques creating disappointing progress, the next likely reason why most bodybuilders never achieve desired muscle building results is due to a string of injuries derailing consistency, and one reason why this occurs is that far too many bodybuilders neglect proper warm up sets for each weight lifting exercise.

A friend of mine decided to experiment with some weight training exercises in my basement, and he expressed interest in testing his strength on the squat, so I urged him to warm up prior to doing so, but he ignored my advice, and within several reps, he suffered an agonizing lower back injury. As he and so many have proven, warm ups are one of the most important and often neglected keys to maximum muscle building, but make sure not to select warm up weights that are excessive, otherwise you will adversely impact your actual weight lifting workout sets, but you must also avoid selecting weights that are too light, as this will not properly prepare a muscle for pending workout stress. The correct balance has you using a weight that does not cause any fatigue whatsoever, but which properly stimulates blood flow to the muscle groups being trained, and you must make sure to always engage in warm ups for each weight training exercise, as there is no total body warm up method that substitutes for performing each specific weight lifting movement with lighter weights. Warm ups should not extend your workout session length by a significant margin since such sets do not require that you rest for longer than is necessary to change weight on the bar.

Author's Bio: 

Francesco Castano is the owner of IncrediBody, a physical fitness company dedicated to helping others learn exactly how to gain muscle mass and lose weight without supplements or drugs. He authors two programs, one called MuscleNOW, teaching the correct bodybuilding diet and weight training program for muscle gain at, and Fat Vanish, which teaches how to lose weight & burn fat for natural weight loss, at He includes lifetime email personal training with both programs, where he personally assists all of his clients with training and diet questions, and has hundreds of testimonials validating the effectiveness of his techniques. He also offers weight training equipment, protein powder and fitness accessories at Please visit his web sites, and feel free to contact Francesco at any time with your muscle building or weight loss questions!