Squats are terrific for building muscle and burning fat—unless your form is terrible. Without the proper warm-up, athletes can suffer a variety of injuries to their lower back, hips and knees. A proper warm-up should work the entire body, not just the legs.
Unfortunately, many athletes load up the bar after only a few minutes of walking on the treadmill, setting themselves up for potential injury. To be more prepared for your next squatting session, perform this short warm-up that hits the entire body.
Kneeling Glute Mobilization
Getting to the appropriate depth can be a challenge for many lifters, especially if they haven’t warmed up properly. This exercise increases mobility in the hips to help you achieve greater squatting depth while still maintaining proper form with your upper body. If the initial movement is too difficult to do right away, try placing the foot of the flexed leg on your calf instead of in front of your knee.
To perform this warm-up exercise correctly, keep your chest tall and engage your abdominals. Avoid rounding or overextending your back. At the bottom of the movement, push the hip of the affected side down and out for a brief moment to accentuate the stretch.
[youtube video=”3O2acf8oRVA” /]
Hands Elevated Static Spiderman Lunge + Hip Raise + Rotation
Although the traditional squat is performed on two legs, single-leg warm-up exercises are extremely important. If one hip is tighter or stronger than the other, the hips can shift during the Squat, causing a loss of power. This warm-up move stretches the hip flexors on both sides and mobilizes the upper back with the added rotation.
To get the biggest stretch from your hip flexors without risking injury, squeeze the glute on your back leg. This will help open up the hips and facilitate a greater range of motion.
[youtube video=”rh5dwl61B00″ /]
Squat Stand + Reach with Toe Lift
This warm-up exercise attacks multiple areas, including the ankles, hips and torso, in one movement. Since it closely mimics the actual squatting motion, it’s a great exercise to get athletes ready for Squats. The Toe Lift helps to increase range of motion at the ankle, a major sticking point for many athletes. When you use the kettlebell, you can sit down deeper into the squatting position, so this is a perfect exercise to increase depth. Finally, rotation through the upper back mobilizes the torso and prepares the abdominals for heavier loads.
[youtube video=”emPSClF6kHU” /]