The best squat warm-up should include a full body dynamic squat prep. Preparation is key when it comes to squatting better. This article features some of our favorite content that will squat prep your body for every type of squat you can think of.
Squat Better With The Best Squat Warm-Up
Don’t overcomplicate things, simply squatting can be the best squat warm-up. Typically the bottom position of a squat is where people can make errors for whatever reason it may be. I really like this warm up because it focuses on holding the bottom position of the squat with an emphasis on breathing. This will definitely help you squat better!
There is no hard rule, but we recommend at least 5 rounds of each movement. You can spend more or less time depending on if you feel like you need more time, or if your workout time is limited.
Here is another nice movement prep that we included in the best squat warm-up. Get down into a deep squat and work on opening up the hips. The most important part is to breathe and get comfortable in this position! First make sure you have the mobility to get into this deep squat position. If you cannot maintain this position there is likely a mobility deficit at your ankles, knees, or hips.
Check out these 4 exercises to improve hip mobility
Mobility Flow To Squat Better
Here is a nice mobility flow that we have found to be efficient at keeping a majority of your body parts mobile that is a must in our best squat warm-up series.
To start – walk your arms to a downward facing dog, where you will rotate your body pushing your heel down towards the floor one leg at a time, this will mobilize the posterior aspect of each leg. Then lunge one leg into a runner’s lunge position and attempt to bring both elbows toward the floor, stretching your hip. Straighten the elbow of the side being stretched and rotate your torso towards the opposite side. Make sure to keep the loaded arm against your leg. This will emphasize a groin stretch in addition to mobilizing your thoracic spine. Rotate your torso towards the leg in front. Push back into a hamstring stretch. Try to keep a relatively neutral spine, you can see Arash’s low back round a bit here! Lunge into a hip flexor stretch keeping your arms raised. This will allow you to maintain your trunk upright. Move back into a downward dog and repeat on the opposite side! Attempt to combine these movements in the most fluid way possible, allowing a smooth transition from one movement to the next.
Hence the word FLOW. Typically each position should be held for a full inhale and a slow exhale, around 5-10 seconds. Feel free to add a pad under the knee when it is on the ground to avoid any irritation
Overhead Squat Mobility
When it comes to the overhead squat, mobility and stability are essential at the ankles, hips, thoracic spine, and shoulder joints. A common limitation in the upper body is the thoracic spine moving into extension, as well as the shoulder joint into full abduction and/or flexion (full overhead motion). Here is one of my favorite exercises after a long day of working or sitting, it is a must do prior to overhead squatting. Nothing beats working the deep squat position in our best squat warm-up. Getting into a deep squat LIMITS freedom of motion from the hips and low back. SO this is a great position to promote movement strictly from the upper back (thoracic spine), and the shoulders. I love this exercise because we are actively mobilizing the thoracic spine, shoulder joint, and stretching our pecs and our lats.
Here are some tips to perform the exercise
1) Get your feet shoulder width apart, or a comfortable stance for you specifically
2) Squat down into a deep position, pushing your hips back keeping your weight on your heels
3) Reach up and behind you towards the ceiling with your head following your arm
4) Make sure the movement is coming from your upper body, including your thoracic spine and shoulder girdle
5) Reach towards the ground with your opposite arm and repeat. Perform 5 rounds!
Front Squat & Overhead Squat Position
Here is an excellent drill @Quinn.henochdpt shared that is a must do if you want to front squat and overhead squat better. This was a no brainer in our best squat warm-up.
He pointed out a cool finding from an article that demonstrated thoracic extension and shoulder flexion seemed to be combined movements. It makes sense to focus on promoting both movements. Not everyone is suited to jump into this exercise as it can be pretty difficult! So we came up with a nice regression using a resistance band anchored overhead to assist moving the arms overhead. Be sure to try the weighted kettlebell/dumbbell version first, then try the modified version followed up with the weighted version. You’ll totally notice a difference! The band is so great because it guides your arms overhead as you focus on your balance, and keeping your torso upright.
The goal of this drill is to maintain and sustain as upright a posture within your capacity. If you practice this drill everyday, it should improve and get easier in time.
The sumo squat requires hip adductor and internal rotation mobility. These are two excellent mobility drills to sumo squat better! The second drill shown is to work on hip internal rotation while hinging into hip flexion, which is exactly what you need for sumo squats! Progressions are done by increasing the amount of hip hinge or by rotating more toward that leg that you are stretching.
These exercises should NOT be painful. If so please consult with a physical therapist to help you squat better
Dynamic Hip Stretch
Hip mobility is probably one of the most important factors with squatting. This is one of my go to exercises before and after I do squats or work the legs to mobilize the glutes. Get on your hands and knees and then rock backwards as well as side-to-side. You should feel the stretch in the back and sides of your hips After a few reps, increase your range by reaching with the opposite foot further backwards. Do this for a couple of minutes until you feel warmed up during the best squat warm-up!
You cannot go wrong performing this before AND after squatting to maintain mobile hips and squat better!
Learn More Squat Mobility Exercises!
Click HERE followed by ‘mobility’ under exercise type and ‘squat’ under movement pattern to learn more exercises to help you squat better!