Fix Your Squat Form – Fast!

Article by Lucas Rockwood

Do you have trouble with a deep butt-to-heels squat? Maybe your heels pop up or you roll backwards? Or maybe you get stuck halfway down? If so, this article is for you.

Squatting is one of the most basic human movements, but because of chairs, seated toilets, and modern shoes, most of us have lost the ability to do a full squat. The good news is that you can get it back with some simple targeted stretches.

Most people who have trouble with their squat need to work on either their hip flexion or the dorsiflexion of their ankles, or both. We’ll show you some simple self-tests to work out which you need to focus on improving, followed by simple but powerful stretches to do just that. But first, let’s take a look at the anatomy of the squat position.

Anatomy of a Squat

Your hip joint is the primary mover of the body, designed to take massive amounts of force, torque, and load. Your hip joint is supported by at least two dozen muscles and some of the strongest connective tissues in the body. However, to perform a full squat, there are two primary ranges we need to look at – full hip flexion (knees to chest) and full ankle dorsiflexion (toes towards your knees).

The first pose in this routine works on stretching your posterior chain muscles, to improve mobility in your hips. These include your glutes, biceps femoris and hamstrings. The second and third pose are variations of the same stretch and tackle your calf muscles (specifically your gastrocnemius and soleus) to help improve mobility in your ankles.

Some of the key muscles involved in a squat movement

3 Poses to Help You Squat

If you’re a weightlifter or a professional athlete, these poses probably aren’t for you. They focus on helping people who have lost range of motion, so they can move in a more functional way.

Download PDF pose chart

Blaster Pose
This stretch is designed specifically to improve hip flexion.

  • Start off on your hands and knees, with a cushion under your left knee.
  • Lunge your right foot forward, outside of your crawling hand and rest your forearms on a stool in front of you.
  • As you feel comfortable, you can load your hip more and more by wiggling your foot forwards to go deeper into the stretch.
  • Drop your head, relax your muscles as much as possible.
  • Hold for two minutes, inhaling through your nose to the count of four, exhaling through your mouth for eight.
  • Relax, move your stool out of the way and bounce in Child’s Pose for a few seconds before repeating the pose on the other side.

Runner’s Lunge
This pose is designed specifically to improve ankle dorsiflexion by stretching key calf muscles.

Minute 1- Straight

  • From a standing lunge position, with the stool in front of you, bend your front leg and keep your back leg straight, your heel firmly planted.
  • Place your hands on the stool, keeping your arms straight and driving all the weight into your back heel.
  • Hold for a minute, inhaling through your nose for four, exhaling through your mouth for eight.

Minute 2 – Bent Leg

  • For the second minute of the Runner’s Lunge, bend your back knee, so both knees are bent past your big toes, but continue to drive the weight through your back heel.
  • Hold for a minute, inhaling through your nose for four, exhaling through your mouth for eight.

Best Practices

These poses should always be done after a workout, never before. This is stretching with a capital S, meaning it’s very intense and is designed to affect change in your soft tissues.

Please do not use this article or video to diagnose or treat a severe injury. If you’re suffering from pain when you squat, you should see a doctor.

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