I Tried This Five-Move Leg Day Warm-Up And My Workout Felt 10 Times Better

Woman performs lateral lunge in gym
Krissy Cela’s leg day warm-up includes the lateral lunge (Image credit: South Agency / Getty Images)

I have a confession. Although fitness is my day job, I don’t always start my training with a set of warm-up exercises. I know, I know—it’s important to warm up, it readies the body for activity and lessens the chance of injury. I know all this and my running warm-up routine is non-negotiable (even if it’s just a couple of lunges here and there), but when I’m about to start a strength session, I kind of forget.

I dedicate one day a week to leg workouts and normally tell myself that my 15-minute walk to the gym has done the trick, but when I stumbled across Krissy Cela’s leg day warm-up, I promised myself I would start my next session with it. Cela is the lead trainer and co-founder of fitness app EvolveYou, and has contributed plenty of sessions to Coach such as a lower-body gym workout and an abs workout for women

Cela calls the warm-up simple—just what I was after—and you don’t need any equipment, although since you’re sitting on the floor it’s worth getting hold of an exercise mat

Watch Krissy Cela’s Leg Day Warm-Up


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Reps for each exercise range from 12-20, and Cela recommends that you perform two sets of each move for an effective warm-up. And I found it highly effective. With each move, I felt the muscles in my lower body loosen and it helped my body wake up (it was 6am). The dynamic stretches also weren’t especially challenging or time-consuming. My warm-up was complete in under 10 minutes so I didn’t have to rush through my main workout to get back home in time to start work.

Would I do this warm-up again? Yes. I realise I’ve been selling myself short and a 15-minute walk will no longer cut it. I may even add these glute activation exercises to my pre-run lunges.

If I’ve convinced you of the merits of warming up but you’re after a full-body routine, this is Coach’s go-to gym warm-up.

And just as important as a warm-up is a warm-down, which can be as simple as continuing to move, winding down the intensity and letting your heart rate fall gradually. 

Lois Mackenzie
Fitness writer

Lois Mackenzie is a fitness writer working on news, features, reviews and buying guides for Coach and sister site Fit&Well. Lois is a hill walker and avid runner who has just completed her first marathon. Before joining Coach, Lois worked as a senior SEO reporter at Newsquest Media Group.