LBEB Warmup Series: Front Squats

Mobility and warming up seems to be something that is always just out of reach for some lifters. Whether it is due to laziness, a general lack of knowledge on warmup methods, or just a lifetime of being in bad positions, they just CAN’T seem to hit positions correctly. This week, we will spend the majority of our time breaking some of the major movements that the most people have trouble with, and look at 10 ways we can warm up and mobilize before hitting these movements, to ensure maximum gains take place. Today we are breaking down the front squat: an exercise that is notorious for pointing out tightness when it comes to using the Olympic front squat grip. The following video should help you to hit better positions and hopefully get away from using cross-armed grip.

The video listed 10 movements you can use to help improve your warmup, let’s expand on them now. #1: Dislocates Hopefully everyone knows this one, its first on the list and extremely simple. I like to start with an extra wide grip and move my hands in about an 1/8th of an inch after every pass through. The last few should be thought to hit, but remember to keep arms straight the whole time. Andrew Bueno says “pretend you are next to a wall, and the PVC pipe is a crayon. You want to draw the biggest circle on the wall with your PVC that you can.” #2: Banded Pullovers This is great for loosening up the upper back. The most important parts to remember are keeping the arm straight with your palm facing you. You don’t want to use your bicep to pull it. If you feel like muscle is being ripped off your spine and shoulder, you’re doing it right. Pull for 5 seconds, then release for 2. Each time, pull a little harder than before. #3: Banded Pull (behind the back) This is fantastic for loosening tight pectorals, as well as front delts. I like to bend my elbow and walk as far away from the bar that the band is on as I can. If you can’t bend the elbow, just keep it straight but still behind your back. Pull for 5 seconds, then release for 2. Each time, pull a little harder than before.

#4: Banded Tricep Extension (behind the neck) Besides mashing them on a barbell, this is probably my favorite tricep stretch. Simply stand on one of the band and pull it up until your tricep is extended up with your hand behind your back. Hold for about 30-45 seconds per side and you will be right as rain.

#5: Elbow Raise (bar behind back) This is one of two stretches on this list that will make you want to question your existence. Position your feet under the back, just like on a squat, and grab the bar with both hands. Preferably keep your fingers wrapped around the bar, but if you are unable to, loosen them like on a front squat. The purpose of this is to stretch the rear deltoids and upper back, not the triceps. Pull up for 7 seconds, then release for 2. Each time, pull a little harder than before.

#6: Quad Foam Roll This is pretty simple, we should own a foam roller. Simply lay on it and slowly work up and down the entire length of your quads. Some variations you can use are flexing your legs and then quickly relaxing them over particularly troublesome areas. Another variation is slowly twisting side to side to hit the VMO and IT area accordingly, like I am doing in the video.

#7: LAX Ball in Scapula + Arm Raise This one is designed to hit some pretty tender and usually unattended spots. Simply find the most sensitive part of your scapula or shoulder area, then lay on the ball and put all your weight on it. Try not to cry. Spend a few minutes with your arm straight, bringing it up and down, and drawing slow circles in the air. I am in pain just thinking about it.

#8, 9, and 10: Rolling w/ Barbells I personally like rolling out with barbells more than foam rollers because they have a smaller surface area and can more easily hit those nasty troublesome spots. Make sure to use the handle of the barbell and not the sleeve, you want as much direct pressure as possible. If you are feeling extra salty, you can apply some pressure on to the bar from your hand. The calf barbell roll is the other stretch that will make you hate life and hate lifting. I have seen some amazing lifters cry out for mama after a few seconds on this one, so be prepared. What do you think of the list? Let us know on Facebook, we will be rolling these out all week!

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