What Is The Burgener Warm Up? (ULTIMATE GUIDE)


Burgener Warm Up Ultimate Guide (Step-by-Step Instructions)

If you’ve ever wondered what the Burgener Warm-up is all about, this blog post has everything you need to know. It’s a step-by-step guide with pictures and videos of each exercise, along with links to instructional videos for exercises that are not included here.

The warm up consists of 7 sets of 8 movements designed to prepare your body for strenuous activity by loosening muscles, improving range of motion in joints, and increasing blood flow throughout the body.

The exercises are done without exception before any lifting session. This will help prevent injury while boosting performance!

The Burgener Warm Up is a series of exercises designed to warm up the entire body prior to lifting. It is an Olympic Liftingwarmup from the legendary Mike Burgener that has become a bit of gold standard for weightlifting in CrossFit.

The purpose of this workout is to increase flexibility and mobility in your muscles as well as prepare you for what’s about to come.

This post will give step-by-step instructions on how to complete the Burgener Warm Up correctly so that you can get ready for your next WOD!

I became familiar with the basics of the Burgener Warm Up clean shortly after I became interested in CrossFit. If you participate in Olympic lifting, this warm up is extremely important.

It is not enough to simply go through the motions. You need to concentrate because the pattern of movements for the snatch and clean are intricate. This works out gives me the ability to split the complete movement into several different pieces.

I make certain to perform the movements slowly and repeatedly. Once I became more familiar with the movements, my precision noticeably improved. This was when I was able to increase my speed so I could perform faster and faster.

Eventually, all of the separate segments came together so everything looked like one complete movement. This is an excellent way to get your blood flowing and your heart pumping, but this is not the reason the Burgener was created.

Burgener Warm Up Ultimate Guide

Every movement you perform in the warm up was specifically created to help you transform into a much better Olympic weightlifter. Once you understand this, you can comprehend the importance and numerous benefits of the Burgener.

You need to perform all of the movements perfectly or you will not form the correct movement patterns. Although this will not happen overnight, if you are patient you will succeed. As time passes, you will become an excellent weightlifter.

What is the Burgener Warm Up and why should I do it?

Simply put, the Burgener Warm Up is a seven-part progression developed by coach Mike Burgener for more effective weightlifting. The warm up consists of exercises that are specifically designed to improve the technique of an Olympic lifting movement.

The benefit of completing this warm up before you lift is you will be more likely to maintain proper form throughout your workout. This means you avoid injury while also producing results faster!

This routine contains 7 sets of 8 reps for each movement. You will need to perform all seven sets, but it is recommended that you do not go above ten reps per set as this can lead to fatigue and negatively impact performance.

If done correctly, this warm up clean takes about 15 minutes from start to finish as long as you don’t make any mistakes and lose time.

How to perform a Burgener Warm Up Correctly? 6 Main Sequences.

The Burgener Warm Up is a series of six movements designed to prepare the body for more intense training. They are often used as part of crossfit workouts or other high intensity circuit training.

The goal is to complete each movement with good form, without bouncing, until you have completed all six exercises in sequence. It should take about 5-10 minutes total depending on your fitness level and how quickly you move through the sequence.

The Six Sequences

There are six different sequences in this routine. All of them have equal importance if you intend to learn how to execute Olympic lifts correctly and to the best of your ability. You can perform these movements with your choice of a barbell or PVC pipe.

When you are performing the snatch, the second and third pulls using your PVC pipe are essential. By repeating the six sequences with either no or very little weight conditions placed on your body, you are able to more correctly during the power phase.

The idea of performing Olympic lifts is to create the elevation and momentum on your barbell required through the use of the correct range of motion. This starts at the floor and completes when your shoulders are racked in the clean.

This also begins and ends when you have the bar in the overhead position while performing the snatch and the jerk. No matter which type of workout you are performing, I recommend incorporating this warm up.

I have found the Burgener Warm Up to be incredibly effective for reinforcing and teaching the basics of performing Olympic lifts. I do not believe I could have reached my current level without the inclusion of these movements.

You need to perform the six movements in the correct order to succeed. The order will never change. You will proceed as follows.

• Down and Up

• Elbows High and Outside

• Muscle Snatch

• Snatch Land

• Snatch Drop

• Hang Power Snatch

Muscle Snatch

The Down and Up

The most important exercise you will be performing during your entire warm up is the Down and Up. All of the speed and power you need for your lifts are generated during this segment.

The reason the Down and Up was created is to teach you the creation of speed through the middle. While you are performing this movement, your chest must remain vertical when you are dipping.

You will be driving off your heels as opposed to the balls of your feet. Make certain your arms remain relaxed. When you are performing this movement, avoid the mistake I made and do not try to force your shrug.

As long as your power is generated from the floor up and you keep your arms relaxed, you will discover your shoulders are shrugging naturally.

Elbows High and Outside

The Elbows High and Outside is the second movement in your warm up. This segment was created to make certain you are keeping your barbell or PCV pipe close to your body. Do not be concerned with the height your elbows reach.

Make certain your hands are never higher than your elbows. If you allow this to happen, your bar will start swinging away from your body. I like to picture the Elbows High and Outside as using my bar to paint a line on my body.

When you are performing this movement, you begin with the perfect execution of the Down and Up. The difference is you are following the movement with your elbows. Lead with your shoulders, then simply allow your arms to follow.

It is important to understand this is one of the only movements where you are able to use your arm to pull up your bar. While you are performing your lift, your body will be pulled down and below your barbell.

This results in the Elbows High and Outside position. I experienced a little bit of difficulty with this movement at first. I discovered the key is to place all focus and concentration on executing the movement properly.

Muscle Snatch

The Muscle Snatch is your third movement during your warm up. This segment was created to assist lifters in improving their turnovers. Your turnover begins high and outside with your elbows.

Next, rotate your elbows downwards with finesse and precision. Complete your movement by punching your barbell overhead. This movement has similarities with the Elbows High and Outside.

This is because your turnover takes place as you are pulling your body downward and below your barbell.

Snatch Drops and Snatch Lands

Your fourth and fifth movements are referred to as Snatch Drops and Snatch Lands. Both of these movements were created to help you perfect your footwork. You may or may not be aware over 90 percent of all missed lifts are linked to footwork.

This is the reason you need to make certain you focus on your footwork during the Burgener Warm Up. I knew my footwork was far from ideal so I practiced these two movements frequently. I am extremely pleased with my improvements.

To begin practicing, drop into your receiving positions. You will start with a two-inch drop, then proceed to a four-inch drop. Your last movement will place you all the way down into your receiving position or full squat.

Watch your feet and make certain they always land in your optimal receiving or landing position for all four individual depths.

To complete this workout, simply follow each set with the rest period shown in parentheses.

Set #1 – Wall Squat (30 sec)

Stand about two feet away from a wall and assume an athletic position: back flat, chest out, knees slightly bent, and arms up so they are parallel to the floor as well as out in front of you for balance.

Now slowly lean into the wall until your shoulder blades touch it while making sure your feet, hips, and knees remain lined up. Next, press yourself away from the wall until you return to your original position and repeat for 30 seconds.

Then move directly into the next movement with no rest.

Set #2 – Shoulder Rolls (30 sec)

Stand tall, lift your shoulders up towards your ears, then roll them forward as you bring your arms all the way out in front of you like Superman flying through the sky.

Then roll them backwards like a plane taking off and finally bring them back down to your sides. This should be one fluid motion and your head should follow your arms. Now repeat the entire movement for 30 seconds while making sure to move slowly and with control.

Then move directly into the next movement with no rest.

Set #3 – Shoulder Dislocates (30 sec)

Stand tall, hold on to your right elbow with your left hand so both of your arms are bent at 90-degree angles in front of you, and pull on the elbow until it reaches shoulder level by twisting slightly so that arm is now on top of the other arm’s limb.

Repeat this step on the opposite side. Finally, lift both elbows as high as possible so they come together behind you before repeating from beginning for 30 seconds.

You should move directly into the next movement with no rest.

Set #4 – PVC Pipe Shoulder Stretch (30 sec)

Hold a PVC pipe in front of your chest and grab both ends with each hand as you press it up against yourself. Now slowly push your right arm down behind you until you feel a stretch in your shoulder and then hold that position for about 20 seconds.

Come back to the top and repeat on the opposite side for 30 seconds total. You can either switch arms immediately or take a very tiny pause between sides so you know which one you just finished stretching!

You should move directly into the next movement with no rest.

Set #5 – Bear Crawl (20 feet forward, 20 feet back = 1 rep)

Place your hands on the floor about shoulder-width apart and get into a quadruped position by having both your knees and toes touching the ground.

Then walk both of your feet forward until they are directly under your hips while keeping your back in a straight line so it looks like you are in an upside-down letter U.

Now reverse this process to return to where you started and repeat for 20 total feet which is considered 1 full repetition.

You should move directly into the next movement with no rest.

Set #6 – Banded Overhead Tricep Stretch (30 sec)

Hold one end of a resistance band in each hand, let it hang in front of you, then grab around all five fingers together and bend your elbows so both arms are now behind your head.

Next, push the band down towards the ground and hold for 30 seconds before repeating with the opposite arm on top this time and switching back and forth for a total of 2 minutes.

You should move directly into the next movement with no rest.

Set #7 – Banded Chest Stretch (30 sec)

Put one end of a resistance band in each hand and then hold those handles behind you as you turn around to face away from it. Grab all five fingers together and let them hang behind your back while keeping your arms straight at shoulder height.

Pull down on those bands until they are underneath your hips, which is where you want them to be the entire set, then hold for 30 seconds.

You should move directly into the next movement with no rest.

Set #8 – Banded Low Row (30 sec)

Hold one end of a resistance band in each hand and let it hang down by your side, then turn so you are facing away from the anchor point. Grab around all five fingers together and bend your elbows so both arms are now behind you at shoulder height.

Now pull those bands up towards your chest as far as they will go before returning to the starting position which is hanging right below your hips while keeping your back straight at all times, and hold this position for 30 seconds after locking out the elbows.

You should move directly into the next movement with no rest.

Benefits of performing a Burgener Warm Up

A Burgener Warm Up has been a staple of Crossfit training since the original Crossfit Journal was published. The warm up is designed to prepare you for any physical activity, and can be used as an effective tool to prevent injuries.

The purpose of this Warm Up practice is to activate your muscles with plenty of repetitions so they are ready for action. This will help you avoid injury and increase performance on your workout.

Performing a few minutes of this routine before or after your session will also improve flexibility and range-of-motion, which means less soreness afterward.

In summary, here is the list of benefits performing Burgener Warm Up

– Increases core and shoulder temperature for better mobility and warm up time

– Helps prepare your muscles for more strenuous activity by:

o Increasing blood flow to the involved muscle groups

o Priming the neuromuscular system through movement, which helps to produce greater power and efficiency during movements such as cleans or snatches (basically everything in CrossFit).

Common mistakes people make when doing this practice

  • Not warming up enough or not warming up at all
  • Rushing through the warm up and getting bored of the monotony.
  • Not completing a full round of movements.
  • Attempting to do a power version of a movement instead of sticking with the foundational movements.
  • Not using proper cues when coaching themselves, their athletes, or both.
  • Giving advice that is incorrect according to CrossFit.com programming (i.e.: doing an extra rep or two)
  • Picking the wrong intensity level for each movement (too easy vs too hard) Inadequate rest & recovery between sets

Incorrectly learning & executing technique in some movements If you’ve been guilty of any of these mistakes please don’t beat yourself up about it because we all have.

I have made all of these mistakes in the past and still make some of them occasionally. However, if you truly want to master the movements underlying this workout, identify which of these mistakes you are making and set out to change it.

If you need help identifying where you may be making some of these errors please read through my blog post series “How To Master The Burgener Warm Up”.

It contains detailed descriptions on how to perform & coach each movement in the warm up, along with video demonstrations & progressions that correspond with each article (which can be found at www.crossfitinvictus.com).

Add-ons for your warm up routine

Balance work (walking headstands, planks, squats on the Bosu ball)

Lacrosse ball for self-myofascial release to your muscles & tissues

Wood chopper or side twist with a resistance band to help activate your core at different angles

Spend 5 minutes doing dynamic stretching (arm swings, high knees, bodyweight squats into walking lunge). Although this is not part of the actual warm up it will help you improve your range of motion if that’s an issue.

If you cannot do one pull-up then go ahead and perform jumping pull-ups before attempting regular pull ups.

You can also use ankle weights to increase intensity during some movements such as deadlifts or box jumps.

Tips for how to avoid injury while performing the Burgener Warm Up

– Avoiding injury during these movements is essential if you want to develop movement patterns that you can actually use in high-intense workouts.

Here’s a video demonstration of how NOT to do the cleans & snatches portions of the warm up. I borrowed this clip from Greg Glassman’s Crossfit Journal article.

Example of how not to perform snatches CLICK HERE

– For every repetition you must focus on proper positioning, tightness, coordination, timing, and breathing throughout each movement pattern.

This takes practice so the more repetitions the better! Start performing 5 sets of 5 reps with either an empty barbell or PVC pipe until you are absolutely comfortable with technique before moving onto more weight or intensity levels.

– The same applies for the movements during which you are not actually lifting any weight.

For example, if you’re doing box jumps, empty barbell power cleans, or bodyweight squats try to make sure that your form is as tight and efficient as possible with a focus on firing up the muscles around the movement at hand.

– If you have a history of lower back pain then please do not perform lifts such as heavy squats before you’ve worked up to it because it will only exacerbate the problem.

In terms of squatting I recommend using either dumbbells or kettle bells when working through this warm up just in case you lose balance or fall forward.

Injury Prevention Tips

– Keep your spine neutral when picking up the barbell from the ground. Make sure your chest is slightly raised to allow your back muscles to maintain proper position/alignment.

– Keep your head & eyes up, looking forward at all times so you don’t hyperextend or round out your spine

– When performing deadlifts make sure that you don’t cross over midline of your body with the barbell (i.e.: avoid having it pass in front of one knee).

Don’t rush it! Give yourself adequate time to learn & then perfect these movements before moving on. And remember, if you cannot perform a movement properly then stick to a lighter weight or avoid it all together until you can master the technique.

Don’t be afraid of light weights! – Another reason not to rush through this warm up is because many people tend to load up too much weight on the barbell and perform half-reps or swings that are ineffective at stimulating any type of muscle growth or strength increase.

If that’s the case for you then reduce the weight dramatically and focus on proper form/technique before adding more weight onto the barbell.

If you’re new to Crossfit & have never done cleans before then I recommend using an empty barbell during your very first set as a demo so you can get a feel for how to pick it up from the ground and bring it up to your shoulders.

However, if you want to perform this movement before you master technique then make sure that you use a light weight (i.e.: PVC pipe).

– Stay in control of the barbell throughout each portion of the lift or jump. This means keeping tightness in your midline (i.e.: core) at all times with proper breathing patterns .

Understanding the Movements

In most instances, you need to perform between three and five repetitions for each sequence before you begin the next movement. This means you will perform three Down and Ups, then three Down and Outsides, then three Muscle Snatches, etc.

No matter what type of physical condition your body is in you can be successful with a combination of perseverance, effort and patience. Learning how to perform all of the above movements correctly will provide you with excellent benefits.

Once you understand the purpose and importance of each movement, you need to perform them perfectly and with diligence every single time. I learned by concentrating all of my focus on what I was trying to accomplish, I would succeed.

The greater your focus, the more successful you will become when you lift. The Burgener Warm Up is the best method I have ever found to help me improve not only my lifts but my footwork as well.

The Contested Weightlifting Movements

The Snatch and Clean and the Jerk are both contested in weightlifting. You may have heard these two movements referred to as Oly by CrossFitters and Olympic Weightlifting. The original Burgener warm up was created by legendary Mike Burgener.

A lot of people consider this warm up the gold standard for anyone participating in weightlifting.


What lifts does the Burgener warm up and skill transfer warm up?

The Burgener warm up focuses on three main movements: Snatches, Deadlifts and Squats. The skill transfer portion is a list of skills to help practice your form for the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk.

What is a Muscle Snatch?

Muscle Snatches are an abbreviated version of a snatch that involves only going from the ground to waist height. A Muscle Snatch isn’t a true snatch because it lacks the overhead position at maximal height.

How do you warm up for a snatch?

The best way to warm up for the snatch is by performing the same movement as it requires. The warm up will prime your body for this particular movement.

How do you warm up for a clean and jerk?

The best way to perform a proper warm-up for the clean and jerk is actually through practicing cleans at various rep ranges. A quick, but effective method is 3 sets of 3 reps with moderate weight (~80%). That should help get things moving so you don’t “cold” jerk heavy weights on top of being fatigued from heavy squats prior to attempting any type of clean &jerk.

Exercise Descriptions/Step-by-Step Instructions

Down and Ups (Snatch) – This drill teaches you how to drop under the barbell into a power position.

Down and Ups (Clean) – This drill is similar to the first one but it’s geared more towards the Clean movement specifically.

Muscle Snatch – The Muscle Snatch is essentially a shortened version of a snatch that only goes from floor to waist-height. It’s completed in the exact same manner as a full snatch, however, you stop at waist level instead of going overhead.

From there, you simply shrug your shoulders upward which finishes off the movement with what looks like a traditional hang clean/front squat transition movement.

Down and Out (Snatch Grip Shrug) – The point of this drill is to learn how to drop into a deep squat position with weight. A common teaching cue used with this drill is “pull your shoulder blades down and back”.

This will create the proper mind-muscle connection of initiating movement by pulling yourself down into a deeper squat position.

Down and Out (Clean Grip Shrug) – The difference between the snatch grip shrug and the clean grip shrug is that your arms don’t bend when you perform this version.

Since you’re not bending at the elbow, it’s very important to keep good posture while performing these movements. If you allow yourself to round forward or lean too far backward, then you won’t be able to properly train this movement pattern effectively.

Muscle Clean – Just like it sounds, a Muscle Clean takes out all phases of receiving the weight. You’re only going to receive the barbell at waist-height.

From there, you simply shrug your shoulders and forcefully extend your arms to finish off the movement.

What are the 3 types of warm up?

There are three main types of warm up.

Dynamic – This type of warm up involves applying the movement pattern you’ll be using in your training with light weight at high speeds.

General Specific – A general specific warm-up is a short version of your training session that’s completed right before your training begins. If you’re doing Back Squats, then you’d perform 3 sets of 5 reps at 50% for this portion of your warm-up.

Special Preparatory – Special preparatory movements are done after the general specific warm-up is complete and they help to prime your body for more particular movements.

After the speed squats, most people will do some type of strength movement like back squats or front squats. You can also use this time to perform movements that involve the movement pattern you plan on using in your workout.

For example, if you’re doing Back Squats then you can use this specific time to do some front squats with moderate weight to enhance the specificity of your warm-up instead of just performing back squats again.

How do you warm up for Crossfit?

A good warm up should prepare you for the specific workout that’s about to be completed. As a result, it’s important to understand what movements will be involved within a particular Crossfit workout and how those movements make up a proper full-body warm-up.

For example, any WOD that involves running outdoors requires more dynamic movements than if the athlete is going to do barbell squats as their primary movement.

Since running can include short burst of sprinting as well as long distance jogging, your warm-up obviously needs to be different than if you’re preparing for heavy powerlifting or strongman training session.

Final words

We hope this article has helped you understand the benefits of performing a Burgener Warm Up.

If you are still feeling unsure about how to do it, please read our step-by-step instructions on how to perform Burgener Warm Up correctly & max out the benefits.

See you later! Cheers!

Related post: Olympic Weightlifting Program Basics