An effective warmup can make or break a workout, and by extension, your consistency with exercise.  After a night's sleep or many hours seated in work or school, the body is slow and stiff.  Having a routine of movements that prepare you for a workout is a great way to shift gears from the everyday grind into a focused mind and body ready to exercise.  This article will explore some ideas that are beneficial to incorporate into a lower body workout, especially for women.   

Warmup at home

If you are going to a gym, go ahead and at least start your warmup at home and enjoy the momentum once you get there.  Starting from the bottom up, roll the sole of the foot on a golf ball or lacrosse ball on the floor.  This will "wake up" your feet and massage out tension.  Next, simply take a seat, cross one foot over the opposite knee, and manually make circles with the foot.  This will reduce stiffness in the ankles. Stay in the crossed-leg seated position and slowly bend forward to stretch the outside of the hip.  

Moving on to the calves, stand facing a wall and place the toes of one foot up on the wall while getting the heel as close to the base of the wall as possible.  This is a great calf stretch that doesn't require much time.  Rather than leaning over into the stretch, simply push the hips back and you'll hit the entire back of the leg as well.  Take 5-10 deep breaths and switch sides.

The last pure stretch is for the hip flexors.  Get into a one leg kneeling position (the "will you marry me" pose) on a soft, padded surface.  Get tall through the crown of the head, breathe deep into the belly, and squeeze the glutes.  This will drive the hips slightly forward, no need to lean back.  Feel the pull from the knee up through the lower abdominals for 5-10 seconds before releasing the tension.  Relax for the same amount of time before repeating for 5 repetitions then stretch the other side.

Finally, foam rolling the IT band is important for anyone who sits for long periods of time.  Place the roller perpendicular to the upper leg on the ground.  Adopt a side plank position and slowly roll from the hip to the knee.