Where there is a will there’s a way is how the old saying goes. Unfortunately willpower can’t make muscle tissue supple or increase range of motion - Two of the biggest factors that come into play when looking to achieve the perfect squat, which of course transfers to maximum strength.
Luckily, by keeping an eye on these three areas of the body, we can quickly set ourselves up for a great squat session, and consistent improvement.
Without proper flexion, extension, and internal/external rotation of the hips - achieving proper depth and creating torque throughout the lift will be an issue.
Here’s a couple quick things you can do with a strength band to open those bad boys up!
Much like the hips, range of motion in the ankles can be a key factor in whether or not you make a lift, and again like the hips, a great way to mobilize the ankle joint is with a strength band.
- Attach a medium weight strength band to a rig, kip cage, or something else that isn't going to move, and then place your ankle inside the band.
- Take a few step out and away from where the band is attached. The band should be resting below the shin, and covering the entire ankle joint.
- Plant your foot facing ahead of you and create torque by trying to screw your feet into the ground - do not let your feet actually turn out.
- Now that your foot is in an ideal position, use your hands to shove your knee over and away from your foot. Think about the most extreme “knees out” you can muster, while still keeping the ideal foot position.
- Do this on each foot for a minimum of two minutes and then retest your bottom position and see how it feels!
3: Thoracic Extension
Important especially for front squats! Especially for those of us working at a desk all day with hunched shoulders and a rounded spine, we often get very stiff in the upper areas of our back. Without properly opening up the thoracic, our shoulders will continue to hunch forward, leading us to a weak front rack and rounded spine in the bottom of the hole.
Thoracic Spine Mob:
- If you have an Atlas stone of 125lbs, use it! Lay a 45lb bumper plate on the ground and place a medicine ball on top of it, the heavier/denses the ball the better.
- Grab a second medicine ball that is much lighter. Probably 10-14 for women and 14-20 for men.
- Lay down on the raised medicine ball with your upper back falling over the top of it. Feet should stay flat on the ground.
- Bring the second medicine ball overhead and hold it slightly above the ground. You should feel a stretching sensation between your shoulder blades and around your upper spine.
- Take deep breaths in and as you release your breath try to sink lower into the med ball. You can also try to drop your hips to bend even more of your back!
- Set a clock and do for 2-4 minutes. When your done test your overhead position as well as your front rack and see if it’s improved!