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November 10, 2021 8 min read

Leg day can often be a lot more demanding than any other day of training. It demands a lot from your entire body so to warm up for it, you need to prepare not just your legs but your whole body for battle.

If you rush through the warm up, it can easily lead to injuries and reduced performance. First, watch this helpful video to get a good overview of what a good warm up can be all about.


What Is a Warm Up? 

A lot of beginners tend to skip the warm up phase before exercising for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they don’t have much time and simply want to get their workout over with or perhaps they generally don’t enjoy stretching pre-workout. It can be easy to avoid warming up and just start whatever movement you need to do for that day. But this might not be the safest practice.

Tattooed and muscular athlete doing jumping jacks

A warm up is a period of activity done before a workout that helps prepare the body for the demands of exercise. A warm up is basically a wakeup call for your body, as it prepares your muscles for exercise. When you are sedentary, many of your muscles shorten or contract. When you start moving, those muscles start to elongate to get used to new positions. 

If this change happens too quickly, there is a risk of injury. Completing an exercise correctly rather than quickly produces greater stimulation of your muscle fibers by maximizing the shortening and lengthening of those fibers. So warm ups really can actually prevent injuries and improve your overall workout performance. A proper warm up should be essential before you start any exercise.

Even an easy warm up with light dumbbells really does warm the body up and raises your core temperature slightly in order to make the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints more flexible and mobile to improve performance and prevent injury. It also increases blood flow, which supports the body during exercise by better facilitating the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles.

What a Warm Up Is Not

A warm up is not the same thing as the type of stretching you were probably forced to do in gym class at school. Static stretching is what you are likely to remember from that type of class. Static stretching refers to things like stretching your arm across your body to stretch your shoulder, or reaching down to touch your toes.

These stretches are usually held to the point of mild discomfort for at least 30 seconds.

But it seems that static stretches, when done before any activity, do not have the desired effect.

They don’t really replicate the motions and activity that you will be doing, and they don’t start to get your muscles working. This means that you will not be preventing injuries at all.

Instead, your warm up stretch session should involve a dynamic warm-up, which is a way of performing gentle repetitive motions in a way that gradually increases motion, circulation, and muscle length. For example, arm swings that start small and gradually increase to become bigger, but always remain within the normal range of motion. 

You should also include motions that replicate your planned exercise, such as high-knee jumps if you are planning to run. Do a few easy squats if you are planning to play basketball. Even at low intensity, these dynamic movements will slowly increase your heart rate and raise your body temperature. This can improve muscle elasticity and promote more efficient cooling and oxygen exchange, which prepares the body for the exercise that you are about to perform.

Another Way to Warm Up Correctly 

A proper warm up can last anywhere from five to ten minutes, and it often involves a little bit of cardiovascular exercise or dynamic stretching. The main goal is to do a relaxing, easy activity. This can even be something like a quick walk or run around the block. Doing that type of thing before actually starting your exercise routine can be very beneficial. That is why you will see even marathon runners doing a few minutes of running before the race starts.

You can also include dynamic stretches or joint mobilizers at the same time, such as knee circles, hip circles, arm circles, or bodyweight lunges with torso rotation. It is quite easy to find a ledge or a tree to use as a place to get in a few very effective stretches while you are doing your easy walk or run around the block.

Some Key Benefits of Warming Up 

We’ve already discussed a few of the reasons for warming up, but we’ll take a look at some of the benefits too. Warming up can really help your overall performance in a wide variety of ways. Below, we list some of the most important ones.

Increasing Body Temperature

A good warm up should always increase your body temperature. This improves the elasticity of your muscles and improves the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the muscles. This process allows your body to perform more intense and strenuous activity at a higher level than when your body temperature is cooler.

Improving Flexibility 

Dynamic stretching before any type of exercise really improves the elasticity and flexibility of your muscles. This has real benefits not only for that specific workout, but when it is done consistently, it can lead to long lasting improvements in your flexibility. This can become especially important as you grow older. 

Improving Workout Performance

One of the key benefits of a warm up is that it will improve your overall workout performance.

It allows for a greater  range of motion, improved oxygen delivery to the muscles for better power and endurance, and enhanced neuromuscular function. It also improves nerve transition and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles so that they start to contract and relax faster. 

Preventing Injuries

Because of all the reasons above, warm ups have proven to be an especially effective way to prevent a lot of injuries. This  article  explains how to work out safely so you get all the health benefits of exercising without having to deal with the aches and strains that you might have been getting before.

Mentally Preparing for a Workout

In addition to all the physical benefits of a warm up, there is a huge mental component as well. A warm up is a good time for you to collect all of your thoughts and mentally prepare to take on all of the aspects of a strenuous and difficult workout. The warm up routine can help ensure that your mind and body are ready for the exercise.

The Perfect Lower Body Day Warm Up 

The key to a safe, effective leg day is to dedicate a little bit of time to exercises that specifically work your core, glutes, and hip flexors. These are the main things that allow you to bend, extend, and stabilize to form a safe and strong base. Along with hamstring stretches, building strong legs is often a factor of how well all of these components are working together.

The warm-up exercises that we describe below will target each of these components to increase the blood flow, range of motion, and overall stability of your hips and legs. The result will be a safer and better workout. After a general warm up of between 5 and 10 minutes, get in a comfortable starting position and complete this three-part lower body warm up.

Part 1

  • Upper-body developmental rolling: 1 set of 3 to 5 reps (in both directions) 
  • Lower-body developmental rolling: 1 set of 3 to 5 reps (in both directions) 
  • Hip rocking: 1 set of 10 to 15 repetitions 
  • Baby crawl: 1 set of 60 seconds 
  • Bear crawl: 1 set of 60 seconds 

Part 2

Next, do three rounds of each of the following: 

  • Half-kneeling tailbone tuck: 1 set of 10 to 12 reps per left leg and right leg 
  • Goblet squats (with a focus on hip extension): 1 set of 8 to 10 reps 

Part 3

Finally, whatever lifts you are going to start your workout with (squat or deadlift), begin with: 

  • 1 set of 8 to 12 reps at 60 percent of working weight 
  • 1 set of 8 to 12 reps at 70 percent of working weight 
  • 1 set of 5 to 8 reps at 80 percent of working weight.

Engage Your Core

Your core has sometimes been considered the basis for all of your weightlifting strength. If you are going to be doing a lot of reps, your lower body and your core muscles are sure to get a lot stronger as you are doing your toning. Your abdominals, lower abs, obliques, and deep core muscles like the transverse abdominis are especially affected by core exercises.

Your core is like a natural, built-in weight belt.

Just like a real belt, the core creates tension around your midsection and keeps your spine safe. Unlike a lifting belt, though, your core needs to be engaged to work properly. When your core is underactive, it puts a lot of strain on your spine, especially during compound movements like the squat or deadlift.

Achieving core stabilization during your warm up activates your core, tightening up your built-in belt and preparing you to handle heavy loads in a safe and effective way. Strengthening your core can really help you manage and sometimes prevent serious health problems.

Doing core strengthening exercises  regularly can help make your day to day tasks a lot more manageable, reduce high levels of back pain, and lead to improved overall health.

With a lot of the strengthening exercises, the tension in your deep inner-core muscles can get very intense. Although there are a few weightlifters who attempt to train their abs mostly with crunches, the main jobs for your core should always be focused on antiextension and antiflexion, which can be promoted during your warm up.

Relax Your Hip Flexors

If you work in a sedentary environment, you probably have tight hip flexors because sitting for most of the day keeps your flexors tight. This has a ripple effect that can impair your glute function, because flexors and glutes are antagonist muscle groups. This means that one group flexes the hip while the other group extends it.

Muscular athlete stretching his hip flexors

When your flexors are stretched out, your glutes will be contracted. However, when your flexors are too tight, your glutes will usually be underactive. Relaxing your hip flexors can lead to far better glute activation, which is really one of the most important goals of any lower body warm up routine. 

Resistance Stretches and Sitting Anatomy 

By doing resistance stretches during your warm up to release those tight hip flexors, you can start to correct the anterior-pelvic tilt that can lead to lower back pain during lower-body lifts.

When your flexors are too tight, it is harder to exert enough force through the entire range of motion. This lack of mobility can lead to a breakdown in form when you are doing difficult shoulder-width exercises like squats, deadlifts, or any of their many variations. It can also lead to injuries in many parts of your body such as your hamstrings.

Build Up Your Glutes 

Activating your glutes before lifting is so important because most people have very underactive glutes. When your glutes do not function properly, you do not perform as well as you could. Glute activation during your warm up will help to loosen your hips and prepare all your systems when you want to move heavy weights while also losing some body fat.

Getting the Results You Want

Warming up sends important signals to your body that you are about to work a little harder than usual. Doing a quick warm up for a few minutes before you just start your actual workout will go a long way toward preparing your body mentally and physically for the exercise to come. It can also prevent injuries, improve your body’s flexibility, and reduce overall soreness. This goes for putting in a short cool down period after working out as well.

Doing your warm up carefully and methodically before doing any type of strength training can really lead to some striking results. Combining your workouts with some proper rest and recovery periods can also be important to your bodybuilding regimen.

You can add the  Whey ISO Shredded Stack to your workout routine for  more impressive results.