Dynamic Warm-Up for Squats

Many coaches and lifters devote a large amount of their training to squatting. Despite the wide amounts of squat mobility and flexibility routines, activation exercises, and squat therapy resources available to readers, there has not been a large number of articles specifically devoted to a dynamic warm up for squatting.

Therefore, in this article we have devoted the entire discussion to addressing warming up for squats. Additio, we have offered coaches and athletes a sample dynamic warm up routine and exercise options that may be used for squat sessions or for individuals who may find that they need to pay extra attention to the body on squat days.

In previous articles we discussed the benefits of performing a dynamic warm up for a variety of movements:

While each dynamic warm up includes specific movements to prepare an athlete or lifter for total body exercises, like a squat, the below sections cover specifically a dynamic warm up method for squatting.

Why You Need a Dynamic Warm Up for Squats

A dynamic warm up prior to squatting can help to (1) increase blood flow to the lower body muscles, (2) increase range of motion in the hips, knees, and ankles, (3) mentally amd neurologically prepare a lifter for a squat specific session to further enhance overall squat movement integrity and performance.

Dynamic Warm Up Exercises for Squats

Below are six (6) exercises coaches and athletes can use within a dynamic warm up for squat. In addition, most of the exercises can be performed in other dynamic warm series geared for powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, functional fitness, and/or Strength/resistance training.

Duck Walks

Duck walks are a great way to increase hip, knee, and ankle mobility in a dynamic, movement based manner. By simply crouching down into a squat and walking forward (while still squatted) you challenge internal/external hip rotation, deep flexion (of the knee and hip joints), and help to develop better balance and control in the bottom of a squat.


Groiners, also known as lunges plus a reach, can be done to increase mobility and movement of the hamstrings, hips, and knees. In addition, the reach overhead can be a good way to add additional thoracic extension into the movement.

Quadruped Hydrants and Hip Circles

Increasing hip flexion/extension and internal/external movement while maintaining a rigid lumbar spine is necessary for squatting. When a hip joint becomes immobile, a lifter may allow excessive movement in their lumbar spine which can lead to unwanted strain and injury to the lower back (as well as increase knee stress).

Squat Sit to Reach

Sitting in the bottom of a squat can help to passively stretch the groin, quadriceps, calves, and mobilize the joints necessary for deep squats. In addition, a lifter can perform squat sits with overhead reaches to add an additional stretch on the hips and program better control and coordination in a deep squat while keeping the back/spine extended.

Thoracic Flexion/Extensions in Squat Sit

These can be done to increase thoracic extension and develop the spinal erector muscular strength and control. In doing so, you can improve the posture and alignment at the bottom of the back/front/overhead squat and help lifters establish a better understanding of what an extended back feels like while in the squat.

Cossack Squats

In an earlier article we discussed the cossack squat and the benefits it offers weightlifters, powerlifters, and athletes. Increased hip/knee/ankle mobility, muscular control, and improved non-sagittal movement patterning are just a few benefits to expect.

Sample Dynamic Warm Up for Squats

Below is a 5-minute dynamic squat warm up (with an additional 5 minutes of foam rolling) coaches and athletes can use to increase their preparation for squatting (low bar, high bar, front, back, and overhead squats). Perform this sample dynamic warm up on days you plan to squat or simply on days you want to address any knee, hip, and ankle mobility/range of motion/stiffness

  • Foam Roll x 5 minutes
  • Squat Sit x 1 minute
  • Squat Sit to Reach x 20
  • Groiners x 20 (10 per leg)
  • Quadruped Hydrants x 10 per leg, per direction
  • Cossack Squats x 20 (10 per leg)
  • Duck Walk x 20-40 steps (bodyweight or with weight overhead or in front)
  • Thoracic Flexion/Extension in Squat Sit x10 (1 minute)

How to Build Stronger, Healthier Squats

Looking to build a stronger, healthier squat? Take a look at these articles and get started today.

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