Before beginning any workout it is recommend that you perform 2-3 minutes of cardio based activity at a easy pace. This is to increase blood flow and heart rate before activating specific movement patterns and muscle groups. It is recommended that you use a cardio machine (rower, bike, stair-master, jogging, ski erg, etc.) If you don't have access to cardio machines then substituting for jump rope, jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks etc would be a great option.
Step 2: Specific Activation
The next step is to activate the specific muscle groups and movement patterns that will take place during the workout. This is usually in the form of bodyweight exercise or very light weight movements. 3-4 exercise consisting of 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps is a great structure to follow. For example, if I am about to squat then I want to prep my quads, hamstrings, and glutes for the squat exercise. I could perform air squats, lunges, and hip thrusts before moving on to step 3. If I am about to press (bench or shoulder press) I could perform push ups, ring rows, and band pull aparts to prep the upper body muscles. Below is a brief overview of the structure that is recommend.
Once we have activated the specific muscles that we will be utilizing we want to prime our central nervous system. This is done by performing the specific movements at a light weight with speed and control. For example, if I am about to perform a back squat I would want to spend 5-10 minutes building up to my working weight by performing light weight (focusing on control, positions, and speed) before reaching my working sets. This is done with all multi-joint compound movements. If you are jumping right into a conditioning section (MetCon) you would perform 5-8 reps of some of the same movements with speed and control before jumping into the workout. There is no specific structure here. Listen to your body and make sure you feel ready before you jump into your working sets and/or conditioning workouts.
Step 4: Warm up sets
After you complete the initial warm up, there still needs to be some strategic thought around how to warm up for the ‘A’ exercises. Do not just jump into heavy working sets without taking the time to properly progress to your working weight. This process will drastically improve performance and decrease risk of injury. For example, let’s say the 'A' circuit for this particular day was programmed as follows:
For this particular superset I have a Leg Press and a Seated Leg Curl. In order to get the most out of the 3 sets, I recommend that you take anywhere from 3-5 warm up sets until you dial in a weight that matches the % for set number one. Keep the reps low (6 or less) and just focus on movement quality. The first circuit will be the heaviest (multi-joint) and most neurologically taxing combination. After you complete the first circuit of exercises it is very unlikely that you will need to perform warm up sets for the other workout sections.
Step 5: Begin working sets
After you have successful finished your warm up sets you can jump into your working sets as your progress through your app experience.