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Why the Burgener Warm Up? 
Written by Cody Burgener

The Burgener Warm-Up is a great way to get your heart pumping and blood flowing, but do you know the reason for the Burgener Warm-Up?

Each movement of the Burgener Warm-Up is designed to help you become a better Olympic weightlifter.  Understanding that, you must realize that you cannot just go through the motions when performing this warm-up.  You should perform these movements perfectly to groove the movement patterns that will set you on your path to becoming an excellent weightlifter.

The five different exercises of the Burgener Warm-Up are: (1) the Down and Up; (2) Elbows High and Outside; (3) Muscle Snatch; (4) Snatch Drops; and (5) Snatch Lands.

Down and Up

The Down and Up is by far the most important exercise in the entire warm-up. This is where you generate all of the power and speed in your lifts. The Down and Up is designed to teach the athlete to create “speed through the middle.”

When performing the Down and Up, make sure you keep your chest vertical when you dip, drive off your heels (not the balls of your feet), and keep your arms relaxed.  You don’t have to force the shrug when performing the Down and Up, if your arms are relaxed and you generate power from the ground up, your shoulders will shrug naturally.

Elbows High and Outside

The next step in the Burgener Warm-Up is Elbows High and Outside. This movement is designed to ensure that you keep the barbell close to your body. It doesn’t matter how high your elbows get, but it is mandatory for your elbows to be higher than your hands. If your hands get higher than your elbows, then the bar is going to swing away from your body. You should be thinking of the movement as painting a line on your shirt with the bar.

When performing Elbows High and Outside, you start by performing a perfectly executed Down and Up, and simply follow it with the elbows. Shoulders lead; the arms follow. Remember, this warm-up movement is one of the only times in which you are allowed to pull the bar up with your arms. When performing the lift, you will actually be achieving this Elbows High and Outside position as you are pulling your body down under the barbell.

Muscle Snatch

The third step in the Burgener Warm-Up is the Muscle Snatch. The Muscle Snatch is designed to help lifters improve their turnover. The turnover starts at the elbows high and outside, followed by rotating your elbows down (with cat-like reflexes), and finishing by punching the barbell overhead. Just like in the Elbows High and Outside, this turnover will be happening as the lifter pulls his or her body down and under the barbell.

Snatch Drops and Snatch Lands

The fourth and fifth exercises are called snatch drops and snatch lands. These drills are designed to work on perfecting footwork. More than 90% of all missed lifts have something to do with footwork, so we have to make sure that we hammer proper footwork in our warm-up.

To practice Snatch Drops and Snatch Lands and perfect your footwork, you will drop down into your receiving positions, starting with a 2” drop, then 4”, 6”, and finally all the way down into the full squat/receiving position. You should always make sure that your feet are landing in your ideal landing/receiving position in all four of those depths.

Now that you know the purpose of each of the movements of the Burgener Warm-Up, be diligent about performing them perfectly every time. The more you focus and know what you are trying to accomplish during the warm-up, the more success you are going to see when you lift.

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