John McKean, 64 years of age, performing a 120.9 kilo
One Arm Deadlift, 2010.
Two simple, lightweight exercises can enhance your physical and mental approach for an intense powerlifting workout far better than any conventional warmup, self-hypnosis technique, or chemical stimulation. Shortly, I'll describe a brief warmup session consisting of a familiar dumbbell movement along with one not so sell known which provides a rapid increase in overall body temperature, an unbelievable amount of mental exhilaration, and more than adequate stretching/loosening effect, and a thorough flush of key muscle areas. With its implementation a lifter can safely and successfully attack heavy weights while utilizing far fewer energy draining preparation sets than may be thought possible.
A practice of special aerobic exercises derived from Dr. Leonard Schwartz's popular "Heavy Hands" text has taught me that the standard dumbbell swing and a rather unconventional standing standing lateral flye known as the "fling" can give a fantastic total body warmup within a mere 15 minutes.
Geared specifically to powerlifting, both movements demand considerable involvement of the lower back in a gently, non-straining manner. Simultaneously the buttocks, frontal thighs, hamstrings, delts, pecs, abs, and all connective tissue get a play in the action.
Performed in single sets of ultra high reps the two exercises create a surging blood flow though these important areas to protect from injury when big weights are hefted later on. Oxygen intake soars too, putting a euphoric sensation into rapidly pumping lungs and aids in achieving mental alertness, "psyche" and concentration. As a side benefit this little warming workout provides essential aerobic conditioning, especially if included on off days as a recuperative aid.
To implement the heavyhands duo into your program begin by grabbing a pair of 10-lb. dumbbells or similar sized barbell plates as soon as you hit the gym floor. Your first exercise will be two arm fling, the least demanding of the two. As illustrated, bend over to almost a stiff legged deadlift position and smoothly straighten up to an erect stance while moving the bells upward and sideways. Continue by leaning slightly backwards, extend your thighs forward into a sissy squat starting position, and stretch the weights all the way to a full "flye." Then, without pausing, simply fold up into the original position and continue for reps. 8 to 10 minutes at about an 80 rep per minute pace should do it.
Proceed immediately into the dumbbell swing for 4 to 6 minutes more. Spread the legs a bit, extend the dumbbells far under and back, and swing to full arms extension overhead. Attempt 50-60 nonstop reps per minute. Believe me, you'll be cherry cheeked (both pairs!) and puffing, but you'll feel vitally alive and ready for anything.
Has overtraining or advancing years left you with stiffness and soreness in the lumbar region? Presto! It disappears. Might as well also pitch the deep healing glop since its messy application is now obsolete.
Oh, still concerned about your beloved 135, 225, 315 . . . warmup system, are you? Well, these particular poundages can still be hit for quick FORM work (singles, doubles, or triples), but flinging and swinging the tiny tens is much more efficient, concentrated preparation. Surprisingly, the sheer WORK involved in the dumbbell moves (and body heat generated!) can't be even remotely approached with warmup lifts. To perform the same foot poundages (weight x distance x reps) as the seemingly insignificant dumbbell maneuvers (20 lbs. x 5-7 feet [depending on height and arm length] x 800 reps for flings, and 20 x 6-8 x 300 for swings = 116,000 to 160,000 foot pounds), you would have to squat, deadlift, or bench about 300 lbs. for 20 sets of 10 in fifteen minutes! Awesome, huh? Yet you'll not be destroyed by the super high rep dumbbell work, but fresh as a daisy and rarin' to go.
Try to shoot for the entire 15 minutes rather than cut out time to go for higher poundages than suggested. In fact, even some of you "beasts" will be amazed to discover the 10's too heavy at first! Start with 5's, if need be, to achieve the best warmup of your life. Just give it a chance. Don't allow the strange, pulse-raising, aerobic format to scare you away from an extremely valuable powerlifting aid.
One final warning: although you'll soon find flinging and swinging to be among the most refreshing natural gyrations you can possible do -- BEWARE!!! They can become very addictive.