Squat Warm Up with a Barbell: Unlock Your Mobility

Dr. John pushing against one knee with a barbell do his squat warm up

The squat is a fundamental movement pattern that is essential for overall lower body strength and mobility. However, many people struggle with proper squat form, often due to limited range of motion or muscle tightness. That’s where this squat warm up comes in.  We’re doing a little something different by using the weight of a barbell to open up your hips, ankles, and overall squat mobility in just a few minutes!

The Benefits of the Squat Warm Up with a Barbell

This barbell warm up offers several benefits for improving your squat performance:

  1. Increased Mobility: By using the barbell as a guide, you’re able to gradually work on improving your hip and ankle mobility, which are essential for a proper squat.
  2. Muscle Activation: The act of sitting back into the squat position helps activate the muscles involved in the movement, preparing them for more intense exercise.
  3. Injury Prevention: By warming up the muscles and joints involved in the squat, you’re reducing the risk of injury and setting yourself up for a safer, more effective workout.

The 3 Positions

Barbell In Front

John letting the barbell rest on the floor in front of him while using the weight of the barbell to get himself into a better squat position. This will begin his squat warm up.

We begin with the barbell on the floor.  Squat down and with your hands between your legs use the weight of the barbell to put yourself into an improved squat position. 

Your feet can be either slightly turned out or straight ahead, whatever you prefer.  The weight of the barbell should allow you to shift your weight forward and backward more easily.  Use the counter weight to flatten your back.  It’s important you take the time to feel the difference between which ankle, hip, calf, and knee feels tight.  Spend a little extra time there exploring what does and doesn’t feel good.

Barbell on 1 Knee

Get into your squat position and place the barbell diagonally across 1 knee.  Keep one side of the barbell on the ground at all times!  This should not feel like hard work!  

Dr. John using the weight of a barbell to press against his inner thigh in a squat position as a pre squat warm up

You’re letting the weight of the barbell work for you.  With the barbell lying across 1 knee, push it into your quadricep to help get your knees further over your toes and allow your hips continue to open.  Do this for 30-60 seconds before moving onto the other side.

PRO TIP:  Take breaks!!!  This can be quite intense to hold down there for 3-4 minutes.  If you need to, stand up out of your squat position to let your body relax.  When getting back down there, make sure to reset in a good position with your feet and back properly placed.

Barbell Across Both Knees

Dr. John in a deep squat with the barbell laid across his knees for a squat warm up

Lastly we use the barbell on both knees.  This is going to continue allowing your shins, hips, knees, and ankles to wake up and loosen up.  

You can pump or bounce up and down as well as lean from side to side to continue exploring your squat position and mobility.  Do this for 30-60 seconds.

If you’d like to add weight to your barbell, you can also do this to make it a bit more intense! 

Follow Along Video for Dr. John's Squat Warm Up

Tips for Maximizing the Barbell Warm-Up

  • Focus on proper form.  The whole idea is to get into the most ideal position possible before adding weight.
  • Experiment with different foot positions to find what feels most comfortable for your body.
  • Incorporate this warm-up into your routine before any lower body-focused workout.

Remember, the key to a successful squat is not just about the weight you can lift, but the quality of your movement. By taking the time to properly warm up and prepare your body, you’ll be able to squat with greater confidence, control, and safety.

So, give this barbell warm-up a try and see how it can help you unlock your full squat potential. Happy lifting!

Want to fix your hip flexion? Read here! 

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