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  • Kris Krotiris

Injury prevention warm-up: lower body

Why warm up your lower body: 3 key points

  • Increase pliability/elasticity of muscles and tendons making them more resilient to injury

  • Improve range of motion of joints allowing better movement patterns, reducing your risk of injury

  • Prepare for specific task/exercise by working on correct movement patterns

Structure of a lower body warm-up

  • Fast walk or light jog for 5-10 minutes to elevate core body temperature

  • Flexibility/mobility movements to improve joint range of movement

  • Functional movements to improve task-specific mobility and establish/reinforce correct movement patterns/technique

Example warm-up for lower body gym routine

This series of warm-up exercises can be applied to a lower body gym routine involving typical compound movements including squats, deadlifts, leg press and lunges. It would first start with a 5-10 minute fast walk, and then continue with the following exercises:

Quadriceps Foam Roller
Foam Roller: Spend 2-5 minutes depending on how tight/sore your quads are

Lateral Quadricep ITB stretch
Outer Quad/Hip Stretch: Hold each side for 2x45 seconds

Lumbar rotation stretch
Low Back Rotation Stretch: Hold each side for 5 seconds, repeat 6 times each side

Ankle Dorsiflexion Stretch
Ankle Dorsiflexion Stretch: Hold each side for 2x30 seconds

Mountain Climber Hip Mobility
Mountain Climber: Hold each side for 3 seconds while actively pushing the hips forward to increase the intensity of the stretch. Repeat 10 times each side

Squat Mobility
Squat Mobility: Hold this position for 2x30 seconds

Following this short series of flexibility/mobility exercises, the warm-up should finish with the first programmed exercise at 50% or less of the planned working weight. For example, if your first exercise is a squat and you plan on doing 3 sets of 8 reps at 80kg, you should warm up by starting with a set of 8-12 at 40kg, before increasing the weight gradually over 2-3 sets until you reach your working weight of 80kg.

It is also important to note that this warm-up is generic and each individual does have specific needs based on their injury history, which muscles are tight and which joints are stiff!

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