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How To Increase Squat Depth: My 3 Methods For A Deeper Squat

How To Increase Squat Depth & Mobility
arnold squats

Regardless of your genetics, height, weight or experience you CAN increase squat depth

Many gym-goers continue to practice poor range of motion on their squat, expecting the ongoing act of squatting to allow them to progress from a half rep (which is as far as they can go due to flexibility) to a full ATG squat.

Unfortunately that isn’t enough. If your mobility is poor we need to address that with movements other than the squat to increase your mobility, which in turn will allow you to squat deeper.

Below we’ll delve into the key areas we need to work on including your quads, calves, hamstrings, glutes, ankles and hips to improve your range of motion.

Firstly, What Does Poor Squat Depth & Mobility Look Like?

  • Well above parallel
  • Hunching forwards
  • Heels off ground

Below are the 3 areas we need to work in on in order to increase your squat depth… 

1 – Foam Rolling

Glutes


Begin seated on your foam roller with one side of your glutes.

Bend and crossover the knee of the side you’re sitting on so that your ankle is touching your other knee.

Shift as much weight as possible onto your glutes as you begin to roll up and down the muscle.

Pause for 10~ seconds on any particularly sore spots as a means of trigger point therapy.

Repeat utilizing the same technique for the other side.

ITB


Begin laying on one side with your bottom leg positioned on top of your foam roller.

Transfer as much weight as you can tolerate onto the roller as you begin to roll between your knee and hip.

Proceed to hold any particularly sore spots for 10~ seconds (trigger point therapy).

Repeat utilizing the same technique on the opposite leg.

Hamstrings


Sit down on the floor with both legs extended in front of you.

Position a foam roller under the hamstring of one of your legs.

Use your hands to lift yourself up as you begin to roll up and down the hamstring from the back of the knee to the hip.

Pause on any outstanding sore spots for 10~ seconds as a means of trigger point therapy.

Repeat utilizing the same technique for the other leg.

Quads


Lay on the floor torso down with your body supported by your forearms/hands.

Position the foam roller under one of your quads, ensure your leg is extended and relaxed.

Transfer as much weight as you can tolerate from your forearms/hands to your quad as you begin to roll from below the hip to just above the knee (don’t roll over your knee!).

Once you’ve rolled out one quad for a minute or two switch to the other leg utilizing the same technique.

Calves


Sit down on the floor with both legs extended in front of you.

Position a foam roller under the calves of one of your legs.

Use your hands to lift yourself up as you begin to roll up and down the calves from above the ankle to below the back of your knee.

Pause on any outstanding sore spots for 10~ seconds as a means of trigger point therapy.

Repeat utilizing the same technique for the other leg.

2 – Increasing Hip Flexor Mobility

Humans were made to move. We weren’t designed to sit down with poor posture for hours on end each day.

One of the biggest by products of constantly sitting are our tight hip flexors…

What effect does this have on the average gym-goer?

The inability to get down into a squat position, increased risk of injury and minimal range of motion on our exercises in the gym…

It sucks.

Here’s the good news.

By sparing 10 minutes each morning performing these 4 hip flexor stretches you’ll be able to counteract this negative effect of prolonged sitting.

What’re you waiting for? Time to get mobile!

The Pigeon


Begin by crossing your front leg over in front of your torso.

Allow the leg positioned behind you to stretch out completely.

Lower your torso to the ground and creep your arms forward if you wish to further accentuate the pigeon stretch (hold this position momentarily).

Switch legs and repeat.

The Kneeling Stretch

Begin by pushing your hips forward as your rear knee touches the ground.

Hold this position for 20~ seconds before switching legs.

Knee To Chest

Begin laying on your back with your legs extended.

Lift one knee up towards your chest and hold at the top of the motion for 20~ seconds as you feel this stretch out your hip flexor.

Repeat for the opposite knee.

3 – Increasing Ankle Dorsiflexion 

Without getting too technical let’s talk about what we’re actually trying to achieve here and how the ankle works.

The ankle is a hinge joint and moves through one plane of motion (called the sagittal plane).

In this plane of movement there are two movements…

Plantarflexion

Plantarflexion is the movement we make when we point our toes downwards, away from our legs.
This movement isn’t as important to us gym-goers as dorsiflexion is (when you think plantarflexion think ballerinas).

Dorsiflexion

Dorsiflexion is the opposite of plantarflexion, this movement is pointing our toes upwards towards our shin. Think about it – when you’re performing a squat your shin moves forward over the foot and if your mobility is poor here you won’t be able to get particularly low without your heels coming off the ground.

Ankle Wall Stretch

Ankle Mobility Drills3
Begin with your foot several inches away from a wall.

Lean in towards the wall and bend your knee until it is touching the wall.

Hold for 30~ seconds.

Slowly begin to inch your foot back away from the wall, resulting in a deeper stretch until your knee is no longer able to touch the wall.

Hold An ATG Squat

Ankle Mobility Drills
If you are able, sit at the bottom of a squat. Keep both heels planted on the ground as you shift your weight from side to side forcing the ankle into deeper dorsiflexion.

If you are not comfortable in the bottom of a squat, try lunging your weight forward to accomplish the same goal of creating good flexion in the ankle.

Your Lower Body Mobility Routine (Perform This Before Squatting)

Foam Roll

  • Roll over glutes (2 minutes)
  • Roll over hamstrings (2 minutes)
  • Roll over calves (2 minutes)
  • Roll over quads (2 minutes)
  • Roll over ITB (2 minutes)

Hip Flexor Stretches

  • Hold the pigeon stretch (3x)
  • Hold the kneeling stretch (3x)
  • Hold the knee to chest stretch (3x)

Ankle Dorsiflexion Stretches

  • Perform the ankle wall stretch (3x)
  • Hold an ATG squat (1 minute)

What’s Your Take On Squat Mobility? Let Me Know In The Comments Below!

Scott J.
Scott J.https://ignorelimits.com
I’m SJ. I’m a fitness enthusiast and published author. I transformed my body from a skinny fat 135lbs with 18% body fat to a solid 192lbs at 8% body fat. I became qualified in a field I was passionate about. I founded several online businesses that allow me to pursue ideas and projects in my life that I am passionate about without having to constantly worry about money. I published several eBooks explaining the training and dieting techniques I used to achieve the body I have today. I learnt a plethora of new information on dieting and fitness by reading and applying what I read, to find out what does work and what doesn’t work, because as I’m sure you’ve noticed the health and fitness industry is full of non-sense claims and BS. I found out what was true and what worked for me and applied that knowledge. And you bet I had fun during the whole process.

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