There are days when you feel a million bucks and can conquer anything your coach throws at you…. and then there’s the other 99% of workouts.

Well maybe not that high of a percentage – but if you’ve been training regularly for a few years you would have experienced the tired and lethargic sessions we all inevitably have to endure on any training program. It’s important to listen to your body when you train. Pushing for weeks on end with no structured rest period is going to do more damage than good. But it’s even more important to be able to identify when your body truly needs a break or if you’re just being lazy.

My guess is it’s probably the latter more often.

Having days off because you’re dealing with some general soreness or modifying programmed workouts because you just can’t be bothered that day is never a good thing. It can halt progress and mess up routines.

Introducing a thorough warm up can help if you find yourself struggling to get going or you skip sessions regularly. Often your mind wills you out of the workout more than your body does. A good warm up can make you feel ready and eager to go.

Some strategies to get you adequately warmed up include:

Extended Mobility Session

Sometimes just spending more time loosening everything up can make a huge difference. You can start opening up and hitting those tight positions you couldn’t before. Dynamic stretching is a perfect example of this.

As opposed to static stretching where you hold the stretch at end-range, dynamic stretching involves your muscles being moved in and out of end-range positions repeatedly. This allows increased blood flow & temperature, improved ROM (range of motion) and a greater preparedness for the upcoming session.


The Cossack Squat is a perfect example of a dynamic stretch, as well as a great mobility tool.

Mini Conditioning Piece

A small conditioning workout can do wonders for your actual workout. Something as simple as 3 rounds of 250m row and 5 burpees can make you feel great. It will get the body warm – the blood pumping – and put you in the right frame of mind to hit your session full on.

Don’t overcomplicate this piece — choose simple and general movements that work the whole body, especially the areas in which you are particularly tight or sore. These movements don’t necessarily have to be the same as the movements you are going to perform in your workout, but they can be.


This is one of my favourite tools for tired or sore weightlifting sessions. If the thought of squatting anywhere near your best is making you vomit in your mouth a little – an every minute workout can help get everything moving smoothly.

Starting at a moderate weight – anywhere from 40-60% of your intended best for the day – perform 1-3 lifts every minute. Gradually increase the weight every 3-5 minutes until you’re around 75-80%. Then stop the clock and continue on as normal. By now everything should be feeling great and you’ll have a good chance of hitting your programmed weight for the day.

The clock works so well because it keeps you accountable when you otherwise might drift off or dawdle through your session. It also helps to get you warmer, more quickly as you are only resting for about 40-50 seconds in between your early sets. This helps to increase blood flow and temperature in working the muscles.

This type of warm-up can be utilised when you have programmed numbers to achieve in your session. For example, if your coach has programmed 120kg for a set of 10 back squats but you don’t feel anywhere near ready for that, you can gradually build up in weight every minute until you are around 100kg. Once there, you can turn the clock off and rest longer in between sets in order to maximise your recovery and output for your heavier sets.

So, if you’re feeling particularly sore or tired from the previous days session, or even just from the day itself, use these methods to maximise your session and keep your training consistent. It is this consistency, training when you don’t necessarily want to, that gets results.


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