Sometimes it's a struggle to even make it to the gym when you're planning to train your lower body, let alone spend time warming up before the often dreaded workout.
But not only can avoiding a warm-up increase your risk of injury, it can also hinder your performance. This holds especially true when you walk into the gym after a night of sleep or a long day of sitting at a desk.
A good warm-up will raise your body temperature, improve mobility and groove proper movement patterns. Some people require more mobility, while others require more stability. Regardless of your needs, there are several warm-up exercises that can prepare you for almost any type of lower-body exercise.
Tip: Spend five minutes on a foam roller before your warm-up to better prepare your muscles.
Deep Squat Breathing with Lat Stretch1 of 12
While holding onto a squat rack, pole or handles, squat as deeply as you can with your feet and knees together. Once in the bottom position, take a big breath in. Focus on pushing air into your back and lungs. Exhale hard and repeat for 5 breaths.
Benefits: Helps restore optimal posture and alignment. Most people have problems with alignment in their hips, pelvis and ribcage, and breathing helps reset everything before you get into your workout.
Squat-To-Stand with Overhead Reach2 of 12
Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly pointed out. Bend down, grab your toes and pull yourself into a deep squat position.
Squat-To-Stand with Overhead Reach Part 23 of 12
Once in the bottom position, reach both hands straight up. With your hands still in the air, slowly stand back up. Perform 8 reps.
Benefits: Helps groove a proper squat pattern by opening up the hips as well as getting some good upper back and shoulder mobility.
Spiderman Lunge With Hip Lift4 of 12
Lunge forward with your chest at about a 45-degree angle. Drop your trailing knee down to the ground and place your hands on each side of the lead foot. Your lead leg should be at about a 90-degree angle.
Spiderman Lunge With Hip Lift Part 25 of 12
Pick your back knee up, hike up your hips and begin to straighten your lead leg to initiate a hamstring stretch. Hold for a count and drop back down to the lunge position. Focus on keeping your chest up throughout the movement. Perform 6 reps per leg.
Benefits: Helps loosen the hamstrings, adductors and hip flexors.
Kneeling Glute Mobilization6 of 12
Kneel down on all fours with one leg slightly in front of the other. Place the foot of the lead leg behind the opposite knee.
Kneeling Glute Mobilization Part 27 of 12
Keeping your knees and hands on the ground, push yourself toward the lead leg until you get a slight activation of the glute. Hold for a few counts. Perform 8 reps per leg.
Benefits: Mobilizes the posterior capsules of the hips.
Split-Stance Hip Adductor Mobilization8 of 12
Start on both knees. Kick your right leg out to the side and rest the inside of your right foot on the floor.
Lean forward and place both hands on the ground in front of you.
Split-Stance Hip Adductor Mobilization Part 29 of 12
Keeping a flat back, slowly lean back until you feel a slight stretch in your adductors. Hold for a few counts, then repeat. Perform 8 reps per leg.
Benefits: Mobilizes all fibers of the adductors. As a whole, the adductors help stabilize the hips and prevent injury.
Wall Hip Flexor Mobilization10 of 12
Set up a few inches away from a wall. Place your right knee on the ground and your left foot in front of you toward the wall. Your left leg should be at about a 90-degree angle.
Use your left hand against the wall for balance. Grab your right foot with your right hand and pull it toward your glutes. Lean forward and squeeze your glutes to initiate a stretch in the quads and hips. Hold for 30 seconds for each leg.
Benefits: Mobilizes the hips, quads and ankles.
George Kalantzis11 of 12
George Kalantzis is a Marine, certified personal trainer and the strength camp coordinator at Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, Mass. He credits his fitness expertise and success to his many experiences, such as deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq and training in Parris Island and the FBI Training Academy.
Cressey Sports Performance