Leg Day Warm Up – Why You Should Never Skip It
A leg day warm up consists of a series of exercises you do before the main workout. Its main focus is on your legs. It will help you prepare the muscles, tendons, and joints for the more intense exercises to come.
The main purpose of a leg day warm up is to increase blood flow to the legs. It will increase the range of motion in the joints. You will also activate the muscles you will use during the workout.
Warm up will help you prevent injury. It will also improve the overall effectiveness of the workout.
Leg day warm up benefits
Here are some of the benefits of doing a proper leg day warm up:
- Increased blood flow: A light cardio part of your warm up raise your body temperature. This increase the blood flow to your muscles. Increased blood flow delivers more oxygen to your muscles. This helps prepare your body for the heavy work that follows.
- Improved range of motion: Mobility exercises will help loosen up your joints. Lose joints will increase the range of motion. This will make exercises like squats feel easier. Because of that, your workout will be more effective.
- Muscle activation: Warm up will help you activate specific muscle groups. These are the muscles you will use in the main workout. In a leg day workout, you will work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. So, you should prepare those muscles with a light warm up before you hit them hard.
- Improved mental focus: When you go through a warm up you increase your mental readiness. During warm up, your brain shifts focus from other tasks. You slowly turn more attention to your workout. This is very important. You are more likely to get injured if you are distracted.
- Reduced risk of injury: When you prepare your body for a workout with warm up you reduce the risk of injury. Warm up slowly to increase blood flow to your muscles. It also prepares tendons and ligaments for the workout ahead. This all adds up and helps you avoid injuries.
Potential dangers of not warming up
The risk of injury is higher if you don’t warm up before the main workout. When your body is cold, your tendons, ligaments, and muscles are stiff. This makes them prone to strains and tears.
The other problem is low performance during the main workout. You will not be able to do the workout with full intensity. So, the benefits of the workout will be lower.
Leg day warm up drawbacks
Even though a warm up is usually beneficial, there are some potential downsides. Here are some pitfalls you should be aware of:
- Taking too long: Warm up can take up a significant time of your workout if you don’t keep it at a reasonable length. It’s best to keep your warm ups short. A 5 – 10 minute warm up session is what you should aim for. If it takes longer than 10 minutes it is too long.
- Not warming up enough: If your warm up is shorter than 5 minutes it’s too short. If you skip it altogether, it’s even worse. This may lead to injury or poor performance.
- Fatigue before the main workout: Overworking yourself in a warm up is not great. It can make you too tired for the main part of the workout. This may be the case if your warm up is too long or too intense. Your muscles will be fatigued. So, you will not be able to do the main workout at full capacity.
- Too focused warm up: If your warm ups are too focused it’s not good either. If you only warm up your legs you may neglect other important parts of your body. If you skip warming up your core and your back this may pose a problem. You will work your core muscles together with your legs in the main workout. So, your warm up must include exercises for those parts of your body.
It’s important to find the right balance. You should take care to tailor your warm up to your specific workout and fitness level. When I started out, my entire workout was something that today I use as a warm up.
What are the types of warm up exercises?
There are several types of warm up exercises. These exercises are crucial to increase blood flow. They will deliver more oxygen to your muscles. They will also prepare your joints for increased load. Here are the main types of warm up exercises you can do:
- Mobility exercises: Mobility exercises are crucial for improving the range of motion. They help you prepare your joints. If you are leading a sedentary life, your body needs a bit of preparation before taking on a full load. So, you will need to do a few exercises that will help your joints move. Those are exercises like leg swings and hip circles. I like to do mobility exercises at the beginning of a warm up.
- Light cardio: Cardio exercises will increase blood flow. They will help your body raise the working temperature. Those are exercises like jogging in place, jumping jacks, or skipping rope. I like to do those exercises near the end of my warm up.
- Strength warm up: Before doing a specific strength exercise you may want to do a few warm up reps. Let’s say your main exercise is squat. Before doing squats, you may want to do one set of half squats as a warm up. Those are not a part of a warm up routine. They may be done prior to each main workout strength exercise.
Leg day warm up routine
Here’s the short leg day warm up routine I use before my workouts.
Torso twists 10 times
Rotate your body by twisting your torso. Follow your arm movement with your head. Twist as far as you can to each side. Repeat 10 times. 5 times to each side.
Hip rotations 20 times
Place your hands to your waste. Rotate your hips in circles. Rotate to one side 10 times. Switch sides. Rotate 10 times to the other side.
Leg swings 20 times
Swing your right leg forward and backward 10 times. Switch legs. Repeat with your left leg 10 times. If you struggle with balance, hold onto a sturdy object with your hand.
Ankle circles 40 times
Stand square. Put your right leg on the ball of your foot. Rotate your right leg in circles to one side 10 times. Stop and rotate the same leg on the opposite side 10 times. Switch legs and repeat.
High knees 60 reps
Run in place by lifting your knees high. When you touch the ground with one leg and then the other you have done one rep. Repeat running in place for 60 reps.
Jumping jacks 20 reps
Jump up in the air and spread your arms and legs. Land with your legs apparat and your arms straight up. Jump up again and land with your legs close and your arms down. This counts as one rep. Repeat 20 times.
Leg day warm up conclusion
Leg day warm up is a great introduction to your lower body workout. It will help ease your way into your training session.
This warm up is designed to make your joints mobile and improve your blood flow. Use it to help reduce injury and increase your workout effectiveness.