3 tips for deeper squats

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Is it difficult for you to keep your back straight during the squat, especially as you go deeper (parallel or lower)? There is a good chance that your flexibility and (ergo) your mobility are the limiting factors. Some ways to improve it.

1. INCREASE YOUR ANKLE FLEXIBILITY

A deep squat is often limited by poor flexibility and mobility of the ankle joint. Weightlifting shoes with a raised heel or elevating your heels are ways to get around this problem, but not a solution.

One of the easiest ways to increase the flexibility of your ankle joint is to squat with a light weight and spend some time in the bottom position.

You can also place one leg in front of the other, as in a split squat, and then push the knee of your front leg forward, keeping the heel of your back foot on the floor, stretching your achilles tendon.

2. INCREASE YOUR HIP FLEXIBILITY

Another limiting factor in the depth of your squat is limited hip mobility, caused by limited flexibility of your hip flexors and abductors.

Perhaps the best stretching exercise for your hips is the so-called Spiderman stretch. To do this, assume the starting position of the push-up and place (for example) your right leg next to your extended right arm. Now grab your foot with your right hand and push your leg out with your elbow. It is better to perform this stretch dynamically than statically.

For a second (isometric) exercise, sit in the squat position. With your palms together, push your knees out with your elbows, opening your hips. Perform this exercise statically and hold the position for about 20 s.

You can also sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together, and press your knees down with your hands. You can also sit in a chair with your legs crossed (the “masculine” way of crossing your legs) and by placing your forearm on your lower leg and leaning forward, press your knee toward the floor.

The Bulgarian squat is also a great (assistant) exercise to increase your hip mobility. This generally applies to all one-legged exercises (lunges, split squats).

3. SQUAT LIKE A WEIGHTLIFTER

Powerlifters have only one goal: to squat as high a weight as possible. The rules dictate that you should at least squat in parallel, so why would a powerlifter squat deeper?

For weightlifters, on the other hand, the squat is not a competition item and ‘just’ an exercise for stronger quads. You should therefore squat like a weightlifter, with the bar high on your traps and your feet relatively close together. This way of squatting provides greater freedom of movement, distributes the weight more or less evenly over the hip and knee joints and protects your lower back.

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