WSBB Blog: Westside Warmups - Lower Body
Developing strength and becoming a high-performance athlete depends on many different factors. One factor, in particular, is training session quality, a crucial part of training success. As you invest time in training, the ultimate goal is to get the most out of each session. This increases program efficiency, which ultimately leads the athlete to faster gains in strength and performance.
Knowing this, one might ask how you improve the quality of your training sessions? One way you can accomplish this is by using a proper warmup protocol for each training day. In today’s strength and conditioning world, preparatory drills and exercises have become more popular than ever before. However, with this increase in popularity, there has become an increase of complexity and difficulty associated with these methods.
In an attempt to set themselves apart and gain a following, some strength coaches make the simple seem extremely complex. Adding needless difficulty to exercises, a once simple warmup routine becomes a Ninja Warrior agility challenge. At Westside, we understand that it is not the complexity of a movement that makes it worthy; the usefulness and effectiveness matter most.
A quality lower body training day will always start with warmup movements to prepare the torso and legs to move heavyweight, albeit in the squat or deadlift. We ensure that our athletes are ready to train at a high level by using basic, valuable movements. Below, we will go over a few of the go-to lower-body warmup exercises we like to use at Westside Barbell to prepare for a quality lower-body workout.
Typically an accessory exercise, belt squats are a great lower body warmup. However, unlike an accessory belt squat exercise, athletes will perform this warmup for high reps. Using light weight made up of bands, plates, or a combination of both, athletes will perform 20-40 reps per set. Athletes can do these squats with or without a squat box. Reps should be performed in a controlled fashion, with the athlete focusing on feeling the weight and properly warming up the lower extremities instead of moving as fast as possible.
One of the best ways to prepare the lumbar spine and pelvis for lower body training is that kettlebell swings should be a staple in your lower body warmup exercise rotation. Similar to the high rep format the belt squats called for, athletes should perform kettlebell swings for 20-30 reps per set. Athletes should focus on engaging the hip flexors and glutes to ensure the pelvis and lumbar spine are prepared for the demands of intense lower body training.
Banded Hamstring Curls
Westside Barbell resistance bands have many uses, one of them being for hamstring curls. Performed from the seated position, the athlete will attach a band to a squat rack or another immobile object, wrap the loop around their ankles, pull until the band has proper tension at extension, then sit down. The goal is simple; you will sit there and curl the band with your hamstrings until you feel your hamstrings are adequately warmed up.
This is typically accomplished within 200 total reps. It may seem like many reps, but keep in mind the band tension should be light enough that the 200 reps prepare the hamstrings without taking away from pre-training session energy reserves.
Supertraining; by Dr. Mel Siff
Science and Practice of Strength Training; by Dr. Vladimir Zatsiorsky and Dr. William Kraemer
Westside Barbell Book of Methods; by Louie Simmons
Special Strengths Development for All Sports; by Louie Simmons
Fact and Fallacies of Fitness; by Dr. Mel Siff
Tags: Warm Up, Injury Prevention, Belt Squat