There are about a hundred reasons why a good squat is beneficial. From a mother picking up her small child, to an Olympic Weight Lifter catching heavy cleans, to a gymnast trying to absorb a landing, good squat mobility is essential. Many times people are doing only soft tissue work in hopes of magically loosening their hips up, and if that were all it took we’d be moving like babies. I’m a fan of soft tissue work followed by some good active hip mobility prep. Here are 3 of my favorites
1. Frog Rocks
This one is usually my go to, as it helps to build hip mobility into core control. Also, it is easily varied to the persons natural squat stance. For this, assume a hands and knees position. Then move your knees and hips into wherever your squat stance may be. Everyone is different based on their anatomy, previous injury, goals, and so on. From here, brace the core and also engage the glutes as opposed to simply jamming your hips back. Rock back until a good stretch is felt, then inhale and exhale fully to help use breathing as a way to reduce tone in the body. Be sure to maintain a good spine position at the end range.
2. Any Ankle Dorsiflexion Drill Paired with Goblet Squats
This is a bit of a curve ball to what readers might expect, but I honestly find many times ankle dorsiflexion is the rate limiter for squatting abilities. Half of it is the calf muscle and ankle joints ability to move, the other half is the person being able to control these end ranges of motion without tipping over. Do any drill your a fan of for ankle mobility (foam rolling, wall stretches, ankle rocks, etc) and then try to get into some paused goblet squats to help engrain that new motion.
3. Prone Reptile Slides
This is one of the most deceivingly hard hip drills to do. It required that your core and hips work really well together to prime the hip motion. For this one, lie on your stomach with hands under the forehead and a good neutral spine position. Without touching the floor, bring one knee up and out to the side in an effort to touch the same sided elbow.
If this is too much, try using a towel / furniture slider to reduce friction, try going on your side to start, or try hanging your leg down off a table for a regression. Even the most advanced athletes I work with who have lots of hip mobility often struggle with this, as it demands lots of control.
Of course there are hundreds of great drills for the squat, these are just some of my favorites. If you want to learn a ton of great information for hip mobility, squatting and Olympic Lifting movements, check out our recently released “Monkey Method: Movement Essentials” . The drills above are inside peaks to Dr. Dan Pope and I’s 200 page and video educational product. We cover assessments, mobility drills, strength, and technique progressions for handstands, muscle ups, cleans, jerks, snatching, and more.