We all KNOW how to squat properly, so why don’t we? Do you ever feel ‘stuck’ while trying to go deeper? Or have you tried to push through it and found yourself injured. Taking a closer look at your hip flexibility could reveal the answer.
Good squatting technique requires not only the physical strength to cope with the weight on your shoulders but also the flexibility to ‘get to parallel’.
In reality most people lack the flexibility to perform a single bodyweight squat.
A well executed squat requires 130 degrees of PURE hip flexion to get to parallel during a typical back squat and 110 degrees for a front squat. The majority of people we see struggle to get 100 degrees! A lack of hip flexibility generates an enormous injury risk to the lower back and hips as well as a reduction in overall power output as a neutral spine position provides the best foundation to generate force.
Unfortunately the usual foam roller and stretches is not specific enough to target all aspects of hip flexibility. Deficits in hip flexibility can come from muscle tightness of tone of the lateral thigh, adductors, deep gluts and hip flexors (yes, hip flexors) to name a few. Deeper and less obvious impairments such as fine control of the movements of the hip joint itself can lead to impingement or a ‘jamming’ sensation which has been linked to structural hip joint injury if left untreated.
If you want to go deeper you’ll need to earn your way into that range, taking shortcuts will lead to injury.
Next time you’re about to squat, before you even step into the squat rack, stand beside a mirror and perform a bodyweight squat. Take note of where you begin to feel any tightness or when you notice a loss of form. Perhaps the lower back, which has been giving you a large amount of grief? Or did you notice a small butt wink?
Fig 1 – Good hip flexibility Fig 2 – Classic “butt wink” pattern
That’s your body saying you’re at the limit and any more depth into the squat is likely to generate movement elsewhere
At Excell Rehab we specialise in finding the movement issues specific to you. We utilise assessment and screening tools used for elite level athletes to identify exactly what can be done and develop a plan to help you achieve your physical goals.
If you feel you lack the flexibility to train at your full potential come chat with us to see what we can do.
Now get squatting …