How to Improve Your Squat Mobility
On the face of it, the squat is a relatively simple lift. So why do so many of us struggle with it? If you've ever watched a toddler squat, you'll know this is a natural ability we're all born with. We lose this as we move through the modern world, spending the vast majority of our days sitting down.
If you're serious about improving your squat, there's probably some mobility work you should be doing. Here's a rundown of some of the key problem areas - and what you can do to fix them.
Mobilise Your Ankles
If dropping into your squat doesn’t come easily, ankle mobility might be whats holding you up. Without enough dorsiflexion at the bottom of the squat, you’ll find your heels lifting off the floor. Sound familiar?
There are many causes of this - from tight calves to wearing the wrong shoes. If it's a big issue for you, its always worth working with a professional to determine the exact cause of your problems.
Foam rolling the calves and feet can help loosen things up, as well as working the ankles to really get things moving. Check out this video for some tips on getting those ankles working well:
Stretch Your Calves
Did we already mention tight calves? This is a common problem, particularly as most of us spend a great deal of our lives sitting behind a desk - or in a car. This means our legs and feet are continually in positions that will, over time, shorten the calf muscles and inhibit the range of movement in our ankles.
If this is you, aim to get some daily stretching in (it doesn’t have to be in the gym). This will get those muscles working again - and perhaps even ease off any pain that you might feel day-to-day.
Warm Your Knees Up
The knee is a complex joint. A combination of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones & cartilage are all working together to enable you to move. It’s a delicate process - don't abuse your knees, unless you want to end up with injuries and niggles.
It goes without saying a proper warm up is essential to ensure your knees move as they should, keeping you stable and safe. Before you hit a load of lunges or dynamic movements, ease yourself into the session with something light and easy - a short jog or hopping on a bike for 5 to 10 minutes. Start things off nice and gently.
Wearing a set of knee sleeves can also help keep those knee joints warm, as well as offering some additional support while squatting. If you don't have any yet, check out the range on our website.
Open Your Hips
If sitting at a desk all day is going to impact your calves, you can almost guarantee it's going to tighten your hips too. There are a wide range of exercises you can do to get your hips are working optimally, before you squat. Take a look at this video from ClarkFloyd CrossFit for a few drills you can use as part of your warm up routine:
Fire Up Your Glutes
Inactive glutes are one of the biggest squatting challenges - so it's time to move up that posterior chain and get your glutes working before you start to lift.
Introducing some glute activation exercises before you squat won't take long, but it could be one of the easiest ways to get more from your squat.
Breaking Muscle have a great video running through a decent warm up for your glutes. Give it a try, and see how it impacts your lifting session.