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What's the most effective warm-up before doing my weight lifting circuit?

Is it better to warm up by doing 10 minutes on the elliptical cross-trainer or by doing a set using a light weight before working with your training weight?

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Actually, I do both. I run 5 minutes on the treadmill to get my heart active from a long day at the office, get the blood pumping through my body, fresh oxygen in the muscles.

Then, before I work on a certain group of muscles, my first set of the exercise consists of doing 10 - 15 quick reps with a light weight, just to make sure the muscles I will be using have blood pumping through them, and are "warmed up", so I can't injure a muscle.

For instance if I were to workout chest and do flys, I do them with a light weight first. The last 4 - 5 reps, I really stretch out the dumbells as far down as possible ( be careful not to injure your shoulder ). This way I feel my chest muscle is stretched nicely and less stiff before I do the exercise.

Next, I take the weight of my exercise and do the workout. Sometimes I do a dropset ( use the heaviest weight first ) or the opposite ( build up the weight - sometimes combined with less repititions )

I don't know if this is the most effective way. I found this to be perfect for my body and muscles.

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I tried what you suggested at the gym last night, 10 mins cardio warm up then doing a 10 rep set will light weights before the main reps. My muscles feel less achy this morning so looks like it helped Thanks :) –  Alastair May 19 '11 at 7:40

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