The fitness athlete must be able to perform a full depth squat.
The squat is the single most important training tool for developing hip power in athletes and having proper mobility and technique is crucial to performing the squat in the safest and most efficient way possible.
Performing a proper squat requires both MOBILITY and STABILITY / MOTOR CONTROL.
- Mobility refers to the ability to move a joint through its range of motion
- Motor control refers to an individual’s ability to coordinate muscle activity to actively move through his or her available mobility to perform movement
For an in-depth analysis of how to assess the mobility and motor control needs of the squat, download my FREE e-book “Squat Principles & Assessment“.
As a CrossFit coach and Doctor of Physical Therapy, I work daily with athlete’s trying to improve their squat mobility on a daily basis. The following are my five most frequent used drills to improve the squat.
1. Ankle Mobility
For me, ankle mobility is the basis of the squat. Lack of ankle mobility can cause compensations throughout the entire body and is associated with several lower body injuries. Using a band to mobilize the ankle joint while rocking in and out of dorsiflexion makes a great exercise to improve ankle mobility.
2. 90/90 Breathing
This exercise uses breathing to position the lumbar spine and pelvis in a more neutral position. This positions the hips in a better position to reach full squat depth. Learn more about assessing your hips and how this exercise in this recent post where I discuss how this exercise helped me add TWENTY pounds to my clean in just TWO MONTHS!
3. Hip Flexion / External Rotation Stretch
The pigeon stretch is great for mobilizing the hips before squatting.
4. Goblet Squats
For those who have just improved their mobility, or who have motor control problems with their squat, Goblet Squats make a great tool for improving squat technique. The weight provides a counterbalance that allows athletes to learn how to sit back into the squat and better load their hip musculature. As we discussed earlier, the squat is the best exercise for developing hip power, and learning to squat by loading the hips ensures athlete’s get the most out of their training. (VIDEO HERE)
5. Squat Sits
Owning the bottom position of the squat is crucial to proper performance of the entire lift. I’ve never met an athlete who can sit in the bottom of a squat with a neutral spine who doesn’t have a great squat. Spend some time in the bottom of the squat fighting to keep and upright chest and neutral spine. Use assistance as needed, but try to reduce this over time as you get more comfortable.
If you’re ready to take you mobility and performance to the next level, you need to check out “BulletProof Mobility“. This program is designed to radically improve your mobility in the shortest amount of time possible.