Throughout our Aimlabs Welcome Series, we’ve covered the terms you’ll see in all things aim training, analyzing your aim training progress, and how you can build your aim training regimen. Now it’s time to look into another critical practice of aim training and competitive gaming in general: your warmup routine.
More than likely, you’ve played a match in your game of choice, felt like you were shaking off the cobwebs to get your day started, and wrote that off as a ‘warmup match.’ Hey, we all do it. The important thing to take away here is that you already know you need to warm up before playing at your best. Instead of warming up with a throwaway match on the live server, why not introduce a purposeful warm-up routine to your process?
Start with Stretching
This may surprise some players, but gaming is much more physical than you might think. Sure, you’re just sitting in front of a screen and clicking on heads, but you’re locking yourself into a posture, moving your shoulders, elbows, and wrists as you play, and probably doing these repetitive motions for long periods. So, let’s ensure that you’re taking care of your body to stay healthy and ensure your tools are in tip-top shape.
We won’t touch on how a healthy sleep schedule and diet can also benefit your gaming output, as that will likely be something we explore more in-depth in the future, but we want you to focus on making an effort to stretch before each gaming session moving forward. Stretches are not always one size fits all; you must find stretches that best benefit your setup, posture, and body.
YouTube can be an extremely valuable resource for finding stretches you can experiment with. Simply searching “Gaming Stretches” or “Esports Stretches” provides countless results, some directly from trained professionals, while others may be from fitness influencers or gamers. Living Legend Ron “Rambo” Kim has a lengthy, full-body general-purpose flexing routine that could be a great starting point for us gamers sitting at our desks.
General Purpose vs. Targeted Training Warmups
There are going to be two main categories of warmup routines that we would suggest. First, the general purpose warmup routine. This will be a routine ranging from 15 to 30 minutes in length where you’re touching on the main aim-related basics, such as flicking, tracking, and target switching, to get your muscles and reflexes ready for the session ahead.
The next warmup routine category is going to be the targeted training routine. This could be an extension of your targeted aim training efforts, where you’re working on a specific facet of your aim that you’ve identified as needing attention. You may want to work on a set of quick tracking drills to make sure you’re ready for all of the AD strafers out there in your ranked matches.
With the targeted training routine, we would still strongly suggest that you complement this practice with a shorter, general-purpose warmup as well, even if you’re running through a couple of quick tasks to warm up on the practices that you’re not explicitly focused on, to make sure that you are prepared for everything you’ll see on the server.
What Makes a Good General Purpose Warmup Routine?
At the risk of oversimplifying the answer, it’s variety. You want to cover the bases of every aiming situation you may find yourself in. Suppose you’re playing most competitive shooters like VALORANT, Counter-Strike 2, Apex Legends, Overwatch 2, or Call of Duty. In that case, you’ll find yourself tracking enemies, flicking, and target-switching multiple times in each match. You will want a warmup routine that reflects that to account for this.
Creating a few playlists could help streamline your warmup process, and starting with one short playlist to compliment the targeted training we mentioned above, one that is a medium-length all-purpose playlist, and one that is a bit longer would be helpful. For an alternative starting point, check out Voltaic’s Apex Legends Enhanced Training Warm-Up on the Aimlabs Steam Workshop to see if that is a good fit or if it generates some inspiration on the tasks you’ll want on your routine.
Finishing Touches For a Solid Warmup Routine
After you have finsihed your warmup through your aim training methods, we suggest you use the tools available in your game of choice. Every modern competitive shooter now features their own training ground environment, and others may have even more in-depth options, such as the Steam Workshop for Counter-Strike 2.
Starting with your general purpose warmup routine and then moving to warm up in your game of choice with a quick trip to the training grounds will help to acclimate your timing and accuracy with the in-game sounds and help you feel more comfortable with the in-game environment. Some Pro players will switch from Aimlabs to their game, running through some deathmatch or team deathmatch games with music to get into the zone. Other players have described a system of playing with music and with and without in-game audio. The key here is experimenting with these different concepts to see what feels the most comfortable for you and fits your schedule the best.
Remember, aim training and warming up should not feel like a chore. If it does, you may need to dial back the length of your routines until it feels as though it’s complimenting your gameplay without becoming a taxing part of your day that you dread. You have to have fun with this to make the most of it, and we understand that competitive gaming may not be your career yet, so don’t overdo it. Find what works for you, optimize, and maximize from there, and you’ll see the results follow!