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I have been following a routine where I warm-up to an exercise with smaller weights of the target weight (I maintain an Excel sheet to make sure I do at least as much as last time).

For squatting, I do:

  • 7 x 60%
  • 5 x 70%
  • 4 x 80%
  • 3 x 90%

Then 2 x 5-7 reps of 100%.

I just read a report that cardio may be better for warm-ups and full scale movement of the joints of the target muscle, eg. http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/light-cardio-warm-up-best-before-strength-work

Could I replace these warm-up reps with simple few minute cardio exercises? (eg jumping, or no weight squatting etc)

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    Definitely a duplicate question but it complies much better to Stackexchange recommendations than the original one. Example provided and link shows research efforts. – Gyrfalcon Jan 17 '16 at 17:22
  • Thx Gyrfalcon. Yeah, I read that question, but the heading question is way off and the body may duplicate some content, but I doubt anyone will find that one, as the main question is poorly worded. – giorgio79 Jan 17 '16 at 20:09
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No, the initial reps with lower weight are most useful for ensuring, that you perform the exercise with sufficient quality. E.g. for squats focus on maintaining a very high tension in your lower back and the deep abs. Look in the mirror and check that your knees do not moves during the exercise.(vertical shins)

They work as a safety precaution too: You get an opportunity to feel if your body is not ready for max weight in the exercise. Perhaps you did not notice a small injury, which could be fatal if you perform the exercise with max weight. Often injuries first show up at e.g. 50%.

It is common to go even much lower than 60%, and for squats your initial step could be (jumping) air squats (0% weight) as you suggest. All trainers I ever had, always has told me to start lower and use smaller steps than I think I need myself. It does not means more reps: When you get closer to max, you just need one rep.

When I perform squats, my first step is cardio for heating up the muscles and bringing fluids to the joints. Then static hindi squats for ensuring mobility and range. That means you can go deep in your squats, but you will also get a few seconds to be aware of "changes" in your body.

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