Before you do any sort of weight training, it is best if you properly mobilize and activate the muscles that you are training. Jogging for 5-10 minutes on a treadmill seems to be the go-to way that most people do this. Even though it’s popular, it’s far from optimal. The other extreme, rolling around on a foam roller for 30 minutes, isn't really a good use of time either. In fact, it can actually limit the amount of weight you can use.
The Value of Warming-Up Your Legs
Warm-ups for lower body days take a tad more work than upper body because the legs have more tissue to prepare. More tissue PLUS the fact that you usually sit on your legs all day at a desk job. Here’s why warming-up your legs is so important: your glutes are the prime mover of your lower body. If they aren’t firing properly, then often times you’ll end up engaging more quad or lumbar spine musculature. This can end up causing a cranky low back and achy knees. Here’s a sample leg day prep routine that I use, as well as with many of my clients. If you have mobility restrictions, muscle imbalances, injuries, etc this is not a one size fits all routine. This will work great for a majority of people.
Perform 1-2 Rounds of the Following:
- Body weight glute bridge/hip thrust x 20-30 - Runners lunge stretch with reach x4 reps/leg - Prone hip circles x 8-12 reps each side - make sure to engage abs hard as if you are in a plank while rotating the hip - Side lying glute clamshells: x15-30/leg
Try this with the Deadly Leg Workout
If you do this with no rest your heart rate will be elevated and you'll be ready to go. Adding in some bodyweight squats, split squats/lunges and single leg Romanian Deadlinfts in a mini circuit for 8-12 reps each wouldn't be a bad idea either. You can also elect to just start your sets of those exercises with body weight reps and progress to your ramp up sets. Stay tuned for some more advanced warm up tips addressing more specific issues like tight glutes, tight hop flexors, or knees that don't track properly. Happy lifting!