How to Squat DEEPER (Eliminate Squat Mobility Issues)
A common problem for many beginner lifters is the inability to hit proper depth in the squat. This doesn’t come from a lack of trying, or even a lack of knowledge as to how far they need to squat. Many times an individual physically can’t reach depth.
Now we could spend a lot of time overanalyzing the issue, figuring out which muscle is holding you back, saying that you’re broke, etc., etc. Or we could just go right to fixing things…
Bottom line…regardless of what your “issue” is the fix is almost always going to look the same.
1. Squat MORE!!
This might seem too obvious but squatting a lot well…surprise surprise…makes you squat better.
I think a lot of newer lifters fail to realize that they could be squatting outside of their dedicated “squat days”. If you’re only squatting on the days you train the squat you could be looking at a grand total of 25 to 30 reps, if you’re doing strength training, maybe 40-50 if you’re doing hypertrophy over the course of a week if you’re running a beginner program.
That’s a lot less practice than you could be getting in.
You can do bodyweight squats daily without any additional fatigue to the system as the movement simply isn’t that taxing without load involve. What it will do however is let you little by little increase your ROM in the exact movement pattern you are struggling with.
Work bodyweight squats into your warm-ups, do a few squats when you get up in the morning to wake yourself up, hit a few before you go to bed, it doesn’t matter.
Just doing the basics and actually practicing your squat will take you much farther than any specific mobility exercises a “fitness guru” may offer you online.
Again, your stretching routine does not need to be complicated to get a deeper squat. In fact, it can be as simple as one movement…you guessed it…a squat.
Instead of just repping out endless squats, you can add some extra intention to what you are doing. Setup a barbell in a rack to just above your waits how. Using that for gentle support lower yourself down into the deepest squat you can and hold the position for 30 seconds. Rest and repeat for 4 to 5 sets and you now have a squat stretching routine, with the goal of squatting a little lower every time you try.
Could you do very specific stretches for very specific “problem areas” of yours. Sure. I just find that the more complicated a routine becomes the less likely an individual is to do it.
Stretching with the exact movement you want to improve keeps things simple, and it’s incredibly fast and easy to complete.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Rock Heels
There’s a camp of people that see wearing an elevated heel lifting shoe as “cheating” the squat. Don’t listen to those people.
A shoe with an elevated heel decreases the overall demand for ankle mobility to squat to depth. For most lifters this will lead to an almost instant improvement in their depth.
That tiny gain in ROM can be just enough to motivate a person to continue on with their training, and over time their squat depth will of course improve.