Lower Body Mobility Warm Up
Ask the Expert – Andre Noel Potvin
Learn how to warm up the lower body. This warm up is also great if you are recovering after having surgery or an injury, to the hip, knee or ankle. This exercise series is great when you don’t have access to a treadmill, but need to warm up the lower body.
Marching on the Spot
Start by marching on the spot, then, start marching on your heels, raise your toes as much as you can as you march. Once you have achieved 8 steps on each heel switch and start marching on your toes. Repeat the step pattern on your toes, lifting the heels as high as possible, being careful not to roll the ankles. Once comfortable with marching on the spot, start marching 8 steps forwards and 8 steps backwards on your heels. March on the spot for a moment as you return, then, switch back to marching on your toes and move forward for 8 steps and 8 steps backwards. Please note that it is important to make sure the knees are almost completely locked (soft knee) out as you move.
Keep in mind when you are coming from an injury that you will not attain full range of motion. Start with small marching steps (there should only be a 20 to 30° bend in your knee and hip). The goal is to eventually be able to march on the spot with the knees and hips both at a 90° bend. Perform 15 to 20 repetitions on each leg.
Once you have completed the knee-ups, go directly into the butt kicks. Place your hands on your buttocks, palms facing outwards. Flex your knees behind you trying to touch your heels to the palms of your hands. Perform 15 to 20 repetitions on each leg.
Squats are a great mobility exercise, when coming back from an injury or surgery, start with ¼ squats and slowly increase to the full range of motion. Squats should always be performed in the pain-free range of motion. When beginning a squat flex at the hips, moving the hips back into a sitting motion, then flex the knees. Make sure the knees do not move forward past the toes when sitting down into the squat. Perform 12 to 15 squats.
Start with a stance just slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Move your left foot towards your right foot and stop as they come in line with one another. Step out back into the original position, but have your right foot move towards your left foot. Repeat the pattern for 12 to 15 steps. Once you have mastered this movement, start adding in a pause with each step, fighting for balance on each step. The next level of difficulty would be to bend your knee further, dropping lower with each side step.
Hip Rotation (aka the Funky Monkey)
Extend the hip and place the foot behind you on the ball of the foot. Ensure you keep the foot planted and start to rotate the hip, internally and externally rotating the femur. Once you have completed this movement, flex the hip and place the heel in front of you. Rotate the hip with your heel planted, moving the femur internally and externally. Complete 15 rotations in each position, then switch over to your other foot and repeat.
Warm Up By Putting it all together or Mix it up
Perform all of these movements then finish up by marching on the spot again. You can do variations of each of these exercises or focus on one more than the other.