Squat Depth Fix

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Movement Fix Monday | Week 9 | Squat Depth Fix

Let's take a look this week at a way to improve squat depth by working on the accessory motion of the hip joint during hip flexion (squatting). This is one of many squat depth fixes and has been something I've been playing around with for the last few months.

One of my favorite hip "stretches" (as you probably know from how often I use it) is the lateral lunge stretch. It has far and away been the squatting-type stretch people seem to get the biggest gains from in terms of squat depth. As good as it is by itself, there is a way we can make it even better!

Let's Talk About Accessory Joint Motion

During hip flexion, we need a certain amount of sliding and rolling at the hip joint itself in order to have the best movement quality and quantity at the joint that we can. This "rolling" and "sliding" is called accessory joint motion. Check out the picture below. We can see in the picture on the left, accessory motion motion is limited. which results in hip flexion being limited. In the picture on the right, you can see how using our hands to press down on the thigh helps improve those accessory motions, which can lead to better hip flexion and better squatting. The illustration is exaggerated of course to make a point.

mfmwk9illustration

Give it a Go

To do this mobilization, try 10 reps each side. You want to try and relax the side you are working on as much as possible when you are descending into the squat position. If you don't relax that leg, it is hard to get any motion at the joint from all the muscle tone, so go slow, breath deeply, and try to relax into it.

If you see improvement after doing this (especially if you get more improvement than you do from just normal "stretching" for your squat), you may benefit from doing a joint mobilization like this in a weight bearing and active position. If you do this before squatting, make sure you do some light sets so your brain can figure out how to handle this range of motion that you may not have used in a long time before you load it up super heavy.

I see clinically a number of people who have pinching in the front of their hips. I always look at this accessory motion in those people to see if it will improve their symptoms. That, along with many other things, are common reasons why someone has that pinching. It is always something you should be checking.

Let me know in the comments how this drill works out for you.

See you next week!

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