The squat is a demanding exercise that requires articular and muscular awakening prior to execution. Unlike the every day squat pattern we do when getting up and own from a chair or toilet, squatting with load at the gym should always require a proper warm-up to help reduce the possibility of injury to the muscles or joints and help improve your squats.
The goal of a proper warm-up is to increase blood flow and body temperature. A few minutes of cycling or rowing will wake up the cardiovascular system and begin the process of a proper warm-up before squatting. Once the above is complete move onto specifically targeted osteoarticular exercises that warm up the joints involved in the squat.
These targeted moves help communicate information via proprioceptors between your joints and muscles to your brain that tell you where your body is relative to space.
Properly preparing the tissues before they undergo a squat workout will help reduce the possibility of injury to the muscles or joint and help improve your squats. This is not only intended for those wishing to hit their personal bests on the squat but also for anyone that is in rehab mode.
Now let’s get your squat prep on!
WAKE UP THE PROPRIOCEPTORS OF THE ANKLES
ANKLE FLEXION AND EXTENSION
For 20 reps lift the toes off the floor while shifting your weight onto the heels. Rock forward onto your toes and lift your heels off the floor.
ANKLE INVERSION AND EVERSION
Roll onto the outside edge of your foot then to the inside edge of your foot. Repeat a total of 20 times.
WAKE UP THE PROPRIOCEPTORS OF THE KNEES
With a slight bend in the knees slowly make small clockwise and counter clockwise circles. Repeat 20 times in each direction.
Shifting your weight onto one foot, raise the non weight-bearing leg and begin drawing a figure 8 in the air with your foot. Complete 10 repetitions in a clockwise direction and repeat 10 more repetitions counter clockwise. Switch legs and repeat.
WAKE UP THE PROPRIOCEPTORS OF THE HIPS
5. HIP FLEXION AND EXTENSION
Standing with feet together, lift one leg up so thigh is parallel to the ground. Repeat on the same leg for 20 repetitions. Bring feet back together and repeat on opposite side for another 20. Try to maintain your torso upright and hips square during this movement.
WAKE UP THE PROPRIOCEPTORS OF THE SPINE
6. GOOD MORNING
Maintaining a neutral spine, bend at the hip joints until your torso is parallel to the ground. Stop the movement if you can not maintain a neutral spine or your back begins to round. Return back to starting position. Do this 15 times.
WAKE UP THE ENTIRE SQUAT PATTERN
- Warm up all the muscles used in the squat with the actual squat pattern.
Do this 15 times before loading. Keeping a straight spine, face forward, arms outstretched in front of your at shoulder height, thighs parallel to the ground (if possible), feet firmly planted on the ground and hip, knee, 2nd toe aligned.
Always remember the smaller intricate structures that surround the joints need some love too. Happy squatting.