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Fix Your Squat: Ultimate Mobility Guide



Written by Coach Rob (Rob's Blog)
 
Which one do you relate to when squatting?
 
  • You can't get to the bottom without your heels coming up off the ground or feet spinning out like a duck.
 
  • You hit a point where your hips just will not go any lower. It's like a roadblock that stops you dead in your tracks.
 
  • You feel a sharp pinch or pain in the front part of your ankle.
 
  • You feel tremendous tension in the front part of hip in the bottom position.
 
  • You are the supplest of leopards and can sit ass-to-grass with no problem. If so, Bravo! Everyone else, this article is for you...
 
In my personal experience, the single best mobility exercises to improve your squat is to simply squat more. Revolutionary, I know, but it's the truth. If you can commit to siting in the deep squat as part of your daily routine (for 2 min, 5 min, 10 min...) you will see a huge return on your investment.
 
But what do you do if squatting more just isn't enough? Or, if you want to improve your squat faster?
 
Sometimes we have deeper issues that need addressing. For instance, if you have an ankle impingement, squatting more won't help improve your range of motion. In a case like this, we need specific mobility exercises to address the problem.
 
So, I've compiled a guide addressing the two biggest areas of restriction (in my opinion), the hips and ankles. And I'll provide specific mobility exercises you can use today to fix your squat.
 
Fix Your Squat - Hips
 
First things first, if you can't move your hips well, you sure as hell aren't going to squat well.
 
In order to address the problem of limited hip mobility, we need to talk about the difference between hip impingement and tightness. Depending on what your problem is, we need to use different tools to solve it. Let's start with tightness in our tissues.
 
If the issue is tight muscles, fascia, and connective tissue, we can attack the problem with stretching/smashing/rolling.
 
The video below is my favorite sequence for mobilizing the hips and surrounding tissues. Start including this before squatting and as part of the daily routine for fast improvements.

 

Impingement occurs when bone meets bone, which prevents the joint from any more range of motion. When the femur runs into the pelvis when squatting, you will feel a pinch in the front part of the hip. This requires a different approach beyond stretching and foam rolling.
 
In this video I demonstrate a banded distraction, which creates space in the joint and clears the impingement.

Fix Your Squat - Ankles
 
The same concept of differentiating between impingement and tightness applies to the ankles, too.
 
If impingement is your issue, as in you feel a pinch in the front part of your ankle when driving your knee forward, this banded distraction will help.
 

If tightness is your issue and you struggle to keep your heels on the ground when squatting, here are a few lower leg stretches and tests you can use to improve your ankle mobility.

There are plenty of other mobility exercises that will help your squat. But these are the ones I've found to produce the best results for myself and my clients.
 
Happy Squatting!
 
For more info and tips like these, follow me on Instagram @robschlicker!
 
Cover photo taken from Starting Strength.

Group Class Programming for Monday, March 13th, 2017:

Life:

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
15 unbroken Thrusters (15/10#)
5 Ring Rows
5 Parallette Dips

Fitness:
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
15 unbroken dumbbell Thrusters (25/15#)
5 False Grip Ring Rows
5 Strict Ring Dips
*no band assisted, or feet assisted Ring Dips.
*Parallette Dips with a 3 second "Tuck Sit" at the end of every rep is a good progression if athletes are "stuck" in between Parallette dips and Strict Ring Dips.

Performance:
Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 10 minutes of:
15 unbroken Thrusters (95/65#)
3 Muscle-ups
*increase the Muscle-up reps by 3 every round (3,6,9,12...)

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