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Simple Hacks to Increase Squat Mobility
Getting that squat form just right is NOT easy! Your hips, ankles, and knees will often interfere with your mobility, making it harder to keep your form tight and correct. You may not be able to do a full deep squat, thanks to the fact that your time spent sitting every day is reducing your mobility. But we've got a few simple hacks that will help to increase squat mobility, making it easier for you to drop into that squat the right way. Here's what you can do:
Hold Onto a Weight Rack
When you squat, your mobility is often limited by your need to push back up. Your joints can't allow you to drop too deep into the squat, as they will be unable to help you stand up afterward. But a good way to increase squat mobility is to do squats holding onto a weight rack. Stand in front of a weight rack, and drop into the squat. Hang onto the rack as you drop as low as possible into the squat, and stay in that position for up to 30 seconds. Keep going lower and lower, until you've hit that squat as deep as possible. When it comes time to pull back up, use your hands for leverage--taking the strain off your joints.
Squat in Front of a Bench
Instead of having the support in front of you (such as with the exercise above), try placing the support behind you. Drop into the squat, and go as deep as possible. Really open up those hips and keep your ankles solid, holding onto the bench to support your weight. You'll find that this will help to increase the flexibility and mobility in your hips, making it much easier for you to do a deep squat properly.
Squat with Bands for Support
If you're making progress with your squats but still need a bit of support to go deep, try using bands for support. Wrap a band around your right leg, run it around a weight rack, then wrap it around your left leg. Back away until you can lead on the bands for support, and use that to help you do your squats just right. You can hold the bands with your hand, and pull on them to help you get back up from the squat. Do both passive (just sitting there) and active (repeated squats) squats to help you develop that mobility and flexibility you're lacking.
Squat with a Barbell
If you want to make sure that you are balanced well while doing squats, it's a good idea to squat using a barbell. Place the barbell across your lap, and drop into the squat. Hold the barbell there, using your feet, knees, and hips to correct for the excess weight--which may try to drag you backward. By using the barbell, you increase your stability as well as your mobility. This is a good one to do with passive squats.
Squat with a Weight Plate
More often than not, a bit of weight will help to counter the imbalance of your squat. Grab a weight disc and hold it at shoulder level as you drop into the squat. The weight will try to pull you forward, but you will need to correct for the imbalance using the muscles of your hips, thighs, and core. This will help you to focus on your stability, and will increase mobility at the same time. You can develop a lot more hip flexibility thanks to this simple yet effective squat exercise!