How to Improve Hip Flexibility and Mobility for Squatting
Lack of hip flexibility might be the main reason people are prevented from squatting properly. This is caused by hip flexion. What’s is hip flexion?
Hip flexion is basically the technical term for a decrease in the angle between the thigh and pelvis. As your knee rises, hip flexion occurs:
There are multiple muscles involved in this action, and if do not have enough flexibility, you probably will not be able to squat correctly.
Luckily, there are some simple stretching exercises that you can do to improve hip flexibility and mobility and thus minimize and eventually eliminate the problem. Here are some recommended stretches:
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
This is one of the best stretches for improving hip flexibility:
Work on this for 2-3 minutes per leg, and then move on to the next stretch below.
Psoas Quad Stretch
The psoas major is a pelvic muscle that plays a key role in hip flexion.
When this muscle is too tight, squatting properly is almost impossible.
One of the stretches that can help is a simple psoas quad stretch. Here is a video showing you how to do it:
This stretch can be rather uncomfortable if you are lacking flexibility.
You perform this stretch by assuming the position shown, and then driving your knee into the ground and leaning forward, getting a good stretch, followed by a release.
Perform this drive and release pattern for 2-3 minutes for each leg.
Your Weekly Hip Flexibility and Mobility Routine
Do the above stretches as described 3-4 times per week.
How to Improve Ankle Flexibility and Mobility for Squatting
Ankle tightness can prevent you from being able to properly drop into the bottom of a squat. A proper squat consists of: a. the weight solidly on your heels, b. your chest up, and c. your spine in a neutral position.
If your heels want to lift off the ground when squatting, or if you find yourself shifting the weight forward onto your toes and have trouble getting your butt down to the parallel position or lower, then ankle tightness is likely the reason.
One way to increase ankle flexibility and mobility, is to mash up and stretch the tissues of your feet, ankles, and calves. Here’s a great video from MobilityWOD showing how to do it properly:
A lacrosse ball is needed for this (size 1 or 2), which can be used to perform quite a few great mobility exercises.
Your Weekly Ankle Flexibility and Mobility Routine
Do the above routine 3-4 times per week, either before or after your hip work.