Do you ever notice how you can skip a few days of properly warming up for class but inevitably it'll catch up with you a few days later? If you're anything like me you've learned learned the hard way that if you want to squat something heavy, you absolutely have to properly prime your body if you want to continue to see strength gains. Aside from picking the right music playlist, I have my go to squat warm up/prep for days I'm ready to go for something challenging.
Here are my three go to prep exercises for squatting!
Part 1: Barbell Mash the Quads
One of my favorite mobility prep for squats. Start by picking a barbell heavy enough that it can cause some discomfort (I recommend using the 45 lb bar). Try rolling out three areas on your upper legs; the top (quads), the outer thigh, and the inner thigh. I recommend rolling the bar up and down for about 10-20 reps at a slow and steady pace.
The right amount of pressure is around a 6-7 on the pain scale, so if the pressure is too much just pull the bar off a bit. If it is not too bad go head and press the bar down a bit with your hands.
Some of the key benefits to this mobility prep is an increase of range of motion in a squat, which leads to better positioning, and excess soreness throughout the leg can be flushed out.
Part 2: Side Steps with Bands
When you're back squatting you're relying on the larger muscle groups to do a majority of the work so by focusing on priming these muscle groups, like the gluts, it'll allow you to move more weight effectively. My favorite way to do so is by using simple, yet effective resistand bands.
My recommendation is using the Mark Bells Hip Circles for this drill but a basic rogue fitness band will work as well. My goal is to warm up the gluts but not completely fry them. So try out 2-3 sets of 10 side steps on each side. Make sure to keep your feet outside shoulder width at all times to keep maximum tension on the gluts during this warm up.
By priming the gluts you'll able to do a couple of things. You'll be able to stay taller through out the lift and have the ability to spring the bottom enough that you can comfortably lock out.
Squat Warm Up with the Coaches
Part 3: Bar Inverted Rows
Lastly, another key area that I love to warm up prior to back squatting is my back. We often only focus on warming up areas of our legs and neglect portions in our upper body that can completely be a game changer when its comes to back squat positioning.
Set a bar up to about hip height and set up underneath and do 2-3 sets of inverted rows for about 8-10 reps. Really focus on holding the top position for 1-2 seconds to prime those key areas on the upper back.
By turning these muscles on you're able to stand straighter and create a stronger platform for the bar to sit on.
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