Compound exercises are king when it comes to developing a solid physique. These exercises recruit multiple muscle groups which allow you to maximize tension while stimulating muscle growth. Please be advised that performing these compound lifts without properly warming up could potentially put you at risk of never being able to perform them again. The fact that numerous muscles and joints are involved in these movements, its best to warm up all areas that will be utilized during the movement. Squats is one of the compound lifts that requires the entire body to be warmed up in my opinion especially if you’re lifting heavier loads of weight. Below are 5 exercises you can start incorporating to make sure your body is ready the next time you squat!
Banded Pull-Aparts: This is a movement that is great for shoulder mobility. Squats is lower body exercise so why do I need to warm up my shoulders? Well, your shoulders play a role in how secure you hold on to the bar while it’s resting on your traps. If you are unable to retract your shoulders back while squatting, it also becomes difficult to maintain tightness on your upper back while squatting.
Pull Up/Lat Pull Downs: The upper back plays a huge role in protecting the lower back when squatting. Most of us either have a poor muscle mind connection with their upper back or we fail to activate them. Perform 2 sets of 5-10 reps will help activate those muscles to make sure tightness is maintained during the squat.
Pigeon Stretch: The hips tend to get really tight for a lot of us especially those who work desk jobs. Men usually have tighter hips than females because men don’t have to ability to give birth but that doesn’t mean women don’t have to stretch. Any form of tightness in the hips can prevent you from squatting effortlessly into your hips. This is one of the most effective stretches due to the fact that you can focus on one hip at a time.
Goblet Squats: All compound lifts have exercises that are similar in order to warm up to the movement. I’m not suggesting not warming up with the bar as you would before progressing to heavier weights, but adding this variation will help train your body to descend in the hips while keeping your torso upright before you begin the squat. This is great exercise to add after loosen up your hips from performing the pigeon stretch.
Half-Kneeling Ankle Mobilization: Most people fail to realize the importance of ankle mobility. For people with longer femurs like myself, it’s crucial to stretch the ankle to allow the knee to travel in front of the foot. Individuals who are taller with small feet is a perfect example who need great ankle mobility in order to perform a proper squat. Having tight ankle joints can cause you to not to perform the squat in full range of motion which may force the upper torso to sink down putting a lot of stress on the lower back or on the knee joint.