How to Create Your Warm-Up SOP
Written by Holden Rethwill

It’s a common phrase used amongst any successful business, and by literal definition from Merriam-Webster, it is “established or prescribed methods to be followed routinely for the performance of designated operations or in designated situations.” I’m talking about standard operating procedures – “SOP’s”. 

Standard Operating Procedures in Fitness

In the work environment, we’ve all got them. They’re what keep the business running efficiently and effectively. But what about in your fitness? Do you have a set standard operating procedure that you follow whenever you walk through the doors? Or do you waste 15-20 minutes every day twiddling your thumbs thinking about what you should be doing? 

Let’s add that all up…Say you come to the gym 5x per week…ok, 5 times per week x 52 weeks in a year x let’s say 15 minutes per day…That comes out to 3900 minutes, or 65 hours, or 2.7 DAYS! Wow… that’s a lot of wasted time!

How can you mitigate that and use that time to be more productive? By implementing a solid SOP into your fitness regimen! That way you know, no matter what, when you walk into the gym you’ve effectively utilized that time you had in order to properly prepare yourself for whatever you set out to accomplish that day.

So now that you know there should be something you’re doing to be time effective, what should that look like?

Example Warm-Up SOP

Here’s an example of an SOP (times are an example of an allotted 20 minutes, but can vary based on how much time you have):

How to Assess Your Body in Your Warm-Up SOP

0-5 minutes…simple movement! Get your blood flowing and joints moving. Use this time to figure out where any sticky spots are in your body (ex: CARs). This is also a great time to work on any breathing practices you may be incorporating into your daily training. Maybe your hip is tight…you now know to spend a little extra TLC on it. This doesn’t have to be special, you just have to MOVE, and the best part, it can be different every day, just let yourself flow through movements, almost yoga style. Use this as an opportunity to be creative!

How to Add Holds & Carries into Your Warm-Up SOP

5-15 minutes…Holds and carries! Try to do some combination of the following movements:

  • Carries can range from farmer carry to overhead carry, yoke carry, front rack carry, suitcase carry, waiter carry, single-arm front rack carry, etc.
  • Holds look something like planks, handstand holds, hangs from a bar or rings, side planks, hollow holds, etc. Again, as I said, feel free to get creative with this. These don’t need to be elaborate, one of my favorite quotes is “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” By keeping this simple, you know exactly what you’re getting and how you’re preparing yourself! An example may look like:

2 rounds:

50-foot farmer carry

30-second plank hold

50-foot overhead carry

30-second hang from the rings

50-foot double kettlebell front rack carry

30-second handstand hold

How to Add Specific Movement Preparation to Your Warm-Up SOP

15-20 minutes…Know what you’ve got on the menu for today and use these 5 minutes or so to dial in some specific preparation for it. For example, maybe you’re snatching today, so it might be a good opportunity to get a few minutes of PVC pipe work in (ex: Burgener Warm-Up), or maybe a little overhead movement prep or squat therapy to make sure you’re ready to receive the bar below parallel.

The best part of all of this? You’re free to be creative! You don’t have to follow the exact timeframe or the exact movements. Just know that every single day you’re going to get at least 5 minutes of body-awareness style movement, followed by your holds and carries, and then transitioning into some specific movement preparation for that particular day.

The Benefit of Having a Warm-Up SOP

Again, these are just examples. Timeframes vary from person to person, as do needs. We are all our own guinea pigs when it comes to health and longevity. I have just found that by implementing an SOP into my daily training regiment, I eliminate the 15-20 minutes of thinking about what to do, and instead utilize that time to help prepare myself to optimize my training!

Having this SOP has been imperative in helping to maintain my health throughout years of intense physical training. It’s something I wish I would have paid more attention to in my earlier years of competing! If you’ve got your own fitness SOP, leave a comment, we’d love to hear about it!


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