I frequently hear people in gyms claim that they aren’t “mobile” enough to squat all the way down. They quit squatting as a result, and miss out on all the potential benefits squatting and squat-related exercises can offer.
Due to the added difficulty getting into or holding the proper position, mobility limits in the wrists, shoulders, hip mobility and hip flexion, and ankles can limit the advantages a lifter can obtain from squats.
Squat mobility issues can also make it less enjoyable for a lifter to practise these squat depth techniques, which can lead to frustration, discomfort, or even pain and injury.
Below we’ll go through the best exercises to improve your squat mobility and overall strength training, and feel free to follow along with me in the video! With these squat mobility exercises, you’ll have improved your deep squat position in no time!
How to improve your squat depth?
Adjust squat position
Athletes are frequently instructed to squat with a precise set-up, such as constantly maintaining a shoulder-width stance or keeping their toes pointed forward.
However, each person has a unique range of possible mobility as well as unique hip joint architecture. This will have a big impact on how each athlete should position themselves.
Therefore, I always spend a few minutes experimenting with different set-up positions as my initial step in increasing squat depth. We can change the athlete’s toe-out angle, stance width, or how far they push their knees forward.
As was previously noted, when attempting to increase squat depth, many athletes strive to increase their mobility but aren’t concentrating on the right places.
We must evaluate the ankle dorsiflexion, knee flexion, hip flexion, and hip rotation during the squat. You can cut down on wasted time and hasten the improvement of your squat depth by recognising the areas that require improvement.
Use mobility drills
I’ve had the good fortune to work with hundreds of athletes to increase squat depth and mobility. The following are my preferred drills to recommend based on my assessment of that athlete’s capabilities.
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4 Squat Mobility Drills & Exercises To Try
You can become a stronger, more supple lifter by doing hip-opening exercises and stretches! However, the benefits don’t end there. Hip openers have additional advantages, such as:
- Enhancing your posture and balance
- Increasing your blood flow
- Lowering the possibility of injury
- Making you more mobile.
How to do it:
- Get into your squat position with both feet flat on the ground. If this is difficult, you can lean against a box or wall to prevent falling over backwards.
- Turn your knees and feet outwards at about 45 degrees.
- Place your elbows on the insides of your knees and use them to push your knees outwards. You can hold a weight to increase the pressure.
- Hold for a minute.
We use the ankle rocker as a re-education exercise to improve ankle mobility, particularly in dorsiflexion. Usually, we perform this prior to a workout so that we can put the athlete through the full range of motion throughout the activity.
How to do it:
- Begin in a kneeling lunge position with your left leg forward. Keeping your left heel on the floor, push the left knee forwards over the left foot.
- Pause in this position for a few seconds and take care not to let the heel lift off the floor.
- Repeat this movement back and forth for 10 reps.
- Change to the other side and repeat.
The flexibility of the neck, shoulder blades, and spine is improved by the cat-cow stance. The motion extends the muscles in the chest, back, abdomen, and hips as well. Your spine is strengthened with this classic back stretch. The tailbone is engaged during this stretch, which also helps to relax the upper back and neck.
How to do it:
- Starting in table pose with a neutral spine, get down on your hands and knees. Lift your sit bones up, thrust your chest forward, and allow your belly to sink as you inhale and strike the cow stance.
- Lean forward, lift your head, and relax your shoulders away from your ears.
- Bring your spine into a cat stance by rounding it out, tucking your tailbone, and pulling your pubic bone forward as you exhale.
- Don’t press your chin towards your chest; instead, let your head fall toward the floor. The most crucial thing is to unwind.
Foam Roller Back Extension
One of the five parts of the spinal column, the thoracic spine includes the shoulder and chest region.
To avoid bad posture and ugly rounded shoulders, which can eventually cause back pain or an injury, it is crucial to preserve thoracic mobility.
Thankfully, the thoracic spine extension exercise and a foam roller can be used to maintain and enhance thoracic mobility.
How to do it:
- Place the foam roller underneath your back, in line with the bottom of the ribcage. Keep your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.
- Put your hands behind your head to support its weight and minimise discomfort.
- Try to wrap yourself over the foam roller by leaning back and extending your thoracic spine over the roller.
- Roll the vertebrae slowly up and down, stopping at any uncomfortable areas (do not roll the neck or lower back, focussing solely on the thoracic spine).
- Keep your chin tucked and head supported so that it doesn’t fall backwards. This would extend the neck instead of the upper back.
Will mobility exercises improve my squat?
Being able to squat properly is harder than it seems.
Above average lower body flexibility, sound balance, and some tactile awareness are prerequisites. In many ways, it is a learned skill.
Tight muscles and restricted joint movement are one of the largest barriers to learning that technique, and they don’t always get better just with more squatting. However, if the body is properly prepared for squatting deeper with mobilisations and movement drills, the chance of improving your squat in the training session is much greater.
That’s why a lot of folks ought to practise exercises like those described in this article.
Therefore, start practising this mobility routine and you should see a noticeable improvement in your squatting and overhead squat mobility, if you’re having trouble with the fundamentals of the squat, such as reaching the correct depth, maintaining the weight on your heels, or preventing your knees from buckling in.
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Squat mobility FAQs
How long does it take to improve squat mobility?
Within a few weeks, if you perform those stretches as instructed 2-3 times per week, you ought to see noticeable benefits.
How do you squat with tight hip flexors?
Tight hip flexors can result in a few issues in the squat, including lower back rounding and knees caving in. It can help to perform squats with a wider stance and slightly turned-out legs if you have trouble with hip tightness.
What are mobility drills?
Working on the joints to achieve free motion within the ideal range is referred to as a mobility drill. Due to the muscle’s innate elasticity, which is susceptible to shortening if it is not stretched or used to its fullest extent, flexibility drills focus on increasing the muscle’s length.
Is squatting good for mobility?
To increase mobility in the hips, ankles and lower back, learn to practise deep squats. Getting stronger in a deep squat position will improve your ability to perform daily activities such as getting up easily from the floor, lifting objects safely and participating in sports.