How To: Improve Squat Depth
In order to get into a deep squat and feel comfortable, it requires you to have good hip mobility. Improve your Squat depth with hip mobility and stability to reduce your risk of injury, keep you in the gym more often, and allow you to lift more weight.
A stack of muscles pull on your hips and allow you to generate loads of power. The fact you have a lot of muscle around your hips means you can easily accommodate a tight muscle here or thereby putting some extra stress on a surrounding muscle. Sitting at a desk all day then going home and sitting on your couch robs your body of hip mobility. Lack of use of your hip muscles will also rob you of stability which will only make your poor hip feel tighter and tighter.
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Why You Need To Improve Your Squat Depth
When you lead a sedentary lifestyle and sit on your glutes (muscles at the back of our hips) all day they give less sensory feedback to your brain. This means the muscles at the front of you hip give your brain more sensory feedback as a result. The brain then thinks the muscles at the front of your hips are stronger and makes them pick up the slack. Tight hamstrings, tight adductors (groin muscles), tight gluteals, tight hip flexors, and tight quads become the result. The muscles in the back feel tight because they aren’t being used to their full potential. The muscles at the front of your hips become tight because they are doing more than their fair share.
By the time you notice something wrong (pain) and you’ve had to stop training due to injury, it is too late. There are already layers of faulty movement patterns and compensations going on.
The reason why a squat is such a great exercise is its versatility, and the fact that we use these movement patterns numerous times each and every day. It requires a fine balance of strength, stability and coordination of a large number of muscles to perform this movement pattern correctly.
The Prayer Stretch To Improve Squat Depth:
This is a versatile stretch as it will not only help you open up your adductors and hips, but will help open up the chest as well.
- Start in 4 points kneeling with knees under hips and resting on your forearms/elbows.
- Walk your knees out to the side until you feel a stretch.
- Sit hip back towards your heels
- If you would like more of a stretch through the lats/upper back place your hands on a foam roller
- Hold for 1 min.
*make sure the abdominals are engaged and no arching occurs through the lower back.
The Toe Touch Progression To Improve Squat Depth:
After you have mobilised the hips, it is time to stabilise them to make sure you hold on to your new found range of motion.
- Place feet under hips, or wherever you feel confident squatting from.
- Push the hips back and bend forwards until you can touch your toes (keep knees as straight as possible but yo can bend them if you need to)
- Place hands under toes and pull your butt down until you are in a deep squat
- Raise hands out in front of you squeezing your fist as hard as you can
- Stand up
Repeat exercise 10x and then repeat a second set.
*If you have trouble touching your toes you can do this exercise with your heels up on weight or 2-5cm platform and a 20-30cm high box in front. Instead of bending forward and touching toes, reach forward and lean on the box. The ultimate goal however should be to work on hamstring mobility to take the stress off your lower back. Loving the Stretches? why not Stretch yourself happy here.