How to Warm-Up in a Hurry: Lower Body Edition

Ever find yourself in a time crunch where have to "get in, get out" of the gym quickly and efficiently?

Yeah, me too. Probably more than I'd like.

Those of us enlightened folk know that a proper warm-up - consisting of self-myofascial release, dynamic flexibility and mobility work, along with a few acute corrective drills, to name a few - goes a long way toward ensuring a higher-performing body and stronger lifts.

But if you're crunched for time, how do you prepare?

Do you spend thirty minutes on foam rolling, glute bridging and spiderman-ing (yeah, I made that last one up), only to leave a mere five minutes for strength training?

Or, do you just hop under the bar and start squatting it like there's no tomorrow?

Do you skip the weight room altogether?

None of the above is ideal, so I thought I'd lay out what I personally do before a lower-body-focused session when pressed for time. In fact, after performing the warm-up I'm about to share, I've had some of the best training sessions of my life.

Enter the most economical warm-up you've ever seen:

1. Pushup to Yoga Stretch Complex

Note: I usually go 10 pushups --> 5 Downward Dog --> 2 Spiderman to Glute Mob/side

2. Walking Knee Hug to Warrior Lunge Stretch (x5/side)
3. Side Plank Series (x :10 each)

(Note: For those who aren't ready for a single-leg+feet-elevated side plank, just do a normal side plank)

 4. Goblet Squat (x8)
 5. Kettlebell Swing (2x10-20)
6. Pick Up Something Heavy


For those of you who care about the "what" and "why" of the warm-up, here are just a few of the benefits you receive from each exercise.

As you'll see below, it's possible to hit a TON of good things in a matter of minutes when we pick some choice warm-up drills.

Pushup to Yoga Stretch Complex

- Core stability, scapular stabilization, and blood flow to the upper body (during the pushups) - Scapular upward rotation, some ankle dorsiflexion, and a slight stretch for the hamstrings (during the "downward dog") - Adductor length and hip flexion ROM for the front leg, hip flexor length for rear leg,  T-spine extension+rotation, and some pec length (during the spiderman w/overhead reach) - A nice stretch into hip flexion+external rotation (during the glute mob at the end)

Walking Knee Hug to Warrior Lunge Stretch

- Hip flexion with neutral spine (during the knee hug) - Hip flexor length, core stability, and shoulder flexion ROM (during the warrior lunge) - Separation of the left and right hip - Ankle proprioception and hip+glute stability of the ground leg (during the knee hug)

Side Plank Series

- This will wake up the core musculature, not to mention frying the abductors and adductors when you transition from double-leg to single-leg support

Goblet Squat

- If you aren't aware of the myriad benefits this bad boy provides, I encourage you to step out from under the rock you've been living under.

KB Swing

- Glute, glute, and glute. - Gets the heart rate going - Some excellent "waking up" of the posterior chain. I always feel incredibly charged up and ready to go after doing some swings. - Not to mention receiving a bit of hamstring length and priming the hip hinge pattern in general.

There you have it, all in about five minutes time required. There are of course many other drills one could employ to get the juices flowing and correct postural flaws, but those are my current favorites.