Are you ready for leg day? Preparing for a leg workout requires more than just a mental pep talk. A comprehensive warm-up helps to get your body ready for your workout, increasing your heart rate and getting your joints and muscles ready for a greater range of motion.
With the right warm-up exercises, you can maximize the benefits of your leg day session and get the most out of your workout. Let’s explore the best leg day warm-up exercises and how they can help you get your session off to a strong start.
Why should you warm up for leg day?
To get the most out of your workout, it’s essential to properly prepare your body beforehand with a comprehensive warm-up. Working through a few key exercises before your leg session can help you improve physical performance by up to 79%, reduce your chance of injury, and increase blood flow to muscles and the brain.
By warming up your joints and connective tissue, you can increase your mobility and better prepare yourself for your leg workout.
How to Warm Up for Leg Day
Warming up your muscle for just 10 to 15 minutes, joints, and connective tissue, and you’ll be ready to push for that next PB or squeeze out those last reps.
Here are four ways to warm up for leg day:
- Increase your heart rate with a brisk walk, jog, or cycle. This will help get the blood flowing and warm the muscles and joints.
- Perform some full-body dynamic stretches like cat-cow, downward dog, and thread the needle to improve your range of motion.
- Do some bodyweight exercises that relate to your leg day lifts such as walking lunges, tempo squats, PVC good mornings, and glute bridges.
- Avoid over-stretching; maintain some intensity through dynamic movements to keep the body warm.
The Best Leg Day Warm Up Exercises
Kick off your workout with these leg day warm-up exercises that will help prime your muscles, increase blood flow, and reduce your chance of injury. These exercises will help directly prime the muscle groups you want to use and keep your joints moving freely.
- Brisk Walk
- Downward-Dog to Cobra
- Forward leg swing
- Kneeling Thoracic Twists
- Spiderman Lunge with Thoracic Rotation
- Good Mornings
- Walking Lunges
- Glute Bridge Abductors
1. Brisk Walk
Start with a brisk 7-minute walk. To challenge yourself, add a 1-2% incline. Whether you choose a treadmill or decide to park farther from the gym, the goal is to get your heart rate up in preparation for the rest of your warm-up.
2. Downward-dog to cobra
This exercise focuses on the posterior chain, emphasizing the hamstrings and lower back – both crucial when leg training. Enhance your back’s flexibility by exploring our recommended back stretches. Aim for 5-10 repetitions.
How to do it:
- Start in Tabletop. On all fours, hands under shoulders, knees under hips.
- Tuck toes, lift hips up and back. Aim for an inverted “V” shape.
- Transition back to a plank. Shift forward, aligning the body in a straight line from head to heels.
- Lower body to the mat, elbows close to sides. Untuck toes, lift chest gently off the ground for Cobra, keeping pelvis on the mat.
- Return to Downward Dog. Tuck toes, lift hips back to Downward Dog.
3. Forward leg swing
Foward leg swings are excellent for engaging the hips and glutes. Begin with a limited movement scope, ensuring you control the leg’s motion instead of merely allowing momentum to take over.
How to do it:
- Maintain an upright posture, feet close together, and extend your arms sideways or hold onto a sturdy object beside you for support.
- Shift your body weight onto your left leg, lifting your right leg slightly off the ground.
- Move your right leg forward until your thigh is level with the ground, then swing it backward to your comfort level. Keep this motion going for 30 seconds.
- Alternate legs and follow the same process, aiming for three rounds on each leg.
4. Kneeling thoracic twists
This is excellent for alleviating mid-back tightness and pain. The kneeling pose also starts to loosen the hips. Do 5-10 reps on each side.
5. Spiderman lunge to thoracic rotation
Building on the previous exercise, this motion aids in opening the thoracic region and hips, prepping the body for leg day and boosting hip mobility. Focus on your range of motion without overstretching, aiming for progressive improvement. Do 5-10 reps per side.
6. Good mornings
A fundamental exercise targeting the hamstrings. Rather than using a barbell, opt for bodyweight or a PVC pipe to ensure proper form without added weight. This will ready the hamstrings without wearing them out. Do ten reps.
7. Walking lunges
Perfect for activating the lower body and core. Ensure a controlled motion, pausing briefly at the bottom, then engaging your glutes and legs to rise. For variety or space constraints, stationary or reverse lunges work too. Do 10 reps for each leg.
8. Glute bridge abductors
Given the pivotal role glutes play in leg exercises, it’s vital they’re prepped and ready. The Glute Bridge Abductor exercise helps condition the glutes and hip abductors for better stability, especially during heavy lifts. Focus on controlled movement for each rep. Aim for ten reps.
Tips for an Effective Warm Up
Getting your body prepped for leg day doesn’t have to be a chore; with the right warm-up exercises, you can get your session off to a great start! Here are some tips to help you create an effective warm-up:
- Get your heart rate up: A brisk walk or jog for 5-10 minutes will help get the blood flowing and elevate your heart rate.
- Start with full-body movements: Execute dynamic stretches like cat-cow, downward dog, and thread the needle to target your body as a whole.
- Make it relevant: Include exercises that relate to your leg day lifts, like walking lunges, tempo squats, PVC good mornings, and glute bridges.
Your warm-up should be around 10-15 minutes and should be done with some intensity to ensure your body remains warm. Don’t forget to maintain some intensity throughout the movements, to ensure your body remains warm as you build into your leg workout.
Frequently Asked Questions
How often should I warm up for leg day?
For optimal performance, you should warm up for leg day before each workout. This could include a brisk walk, dynamic stretches, and bodyweight exercises. A 10-15 minute warm up can reduce your chance of injury and improve physical performance by up to 79%.
Is it better to warm up with dynamic or static stretching?
Dynamic stretching is typically better when warming up, as it helps to improve your range of motion and blood flow to the muscles. It’s also more effective than static stretching for preparing your body for a workout.
Are there any warm-up exercises I should avoid?
You should avoid static stretching before a leg day workout as it can reduce performance by up to 79%. Instead, opt for dynamic movements to warm up the muscles and joints and reduce your chance of injury.
How long should my leg day warm up last?
Your leg day warm up should last 10-15 minutes. Increase your heart rate, do dynamic stretches, and use bodyweight exercises to prepare your muscles for your workout. This will reduce your chance of injury and improve your performance.
What should I do if I don’t have access to a gym?
If you don’t have access to a gym, don’t worry! You can still get a great leg workout with bodyweight exercises like walking lunges, squats, glute bridges, and good mornings. Try these at home for an effective warm-up!
Preparing for your leg day workout with a warm-up is essential for achieving your best results. It helps increase your heart rate, mobilize your joints and muscles, and improve your range of motion.
With the right exercises and a few simple tips, you can make sure you’re ready to take on your leg day with confidence. So, don’t forget to warm up before your next session – it’ll make all the difference in your performance.