You aren't alone. Check out this client case story and how we fixed her squat.
FIRST, A QUICK BACK STORY ON THIS CLIENT OF MINE...
A few months ago I had an online coaching member from Power Lab 2.0 that I noticed was still having trouble with hitting full depth in her squat (hip crease descends past knee with all other squat mechanics maintained.) Although this was something I was aware of at the start of our training together, we didn't make adjustments to her squat until about 5-6 months in of us working together. Why wait so long though, coach? Let me tell you, INTENTIONAL practice and mobility can go a very long way. In a lot of scenarios, just by practicing with more intention consistently (the intention of squatting to full depth in this scenario) can accomplish the goal. We already have mobility and squat drills built in to Power Lab, so at the time it was unnecessary to add anything additional since she was new to training.
SOOO, WHAT DO YOU DO NEXT?
First, we have to distinguish what is holding you back from accomplishing a full depth squat. Is it your anatomy and the way you're built? Is it your ankle or hip mobility? Is it your motor control? In my client's case, she had the mobility and anatomical ability to get into the squat. I knew this because we tested it. This means it came down to a motor control issue. In the simplest terms, you can think of this as the “brain/body connection.”
ADRESSING ANATOMICAL DEFICITS
Every b-o-d-y is built differently. This can affect how your squat looks. Your hip socket depth (does your femur sit shallow or deep?) can affect your squat. The angle of your femur can affect your squat. Your femur to thigh bone ratio length can effect your squat. So, what does this all mean?? You need to find YOUR ideal squat stance. You may not fit the standard as for “squat stance” goes. Maybe you need to widen your feet? Angle your toes more outward? Mess with it. Find a coach if you need that professional eye.
ADRESSING MOBILITY DEFICITS
Mobility deficits in the squat will come down to the range of motion in your ankles and hips. You can get these tested by a professional coach. Once you know what you're limited in you can create a squat mobility routine that you do 3 x per week (ideally falling on your squat days.)
ADRESSING MOTOR CONTROL DEFICITS
Once you have checked anatomical and mobility deficits off your list you've got one last step, motor control! Like I mentioned earlier, this is building that brain/body connection. Here are my top drills to strengthen motor control…
1.Tempo Squats. Tempo air squats, goblet, squats, back squats, front squats, all the squats! Adding the tempo forces you to settle down and get comfy in each segment of the squat. It is very common for trainees to rush the bottom of the squat. This will look like somewhat of a “bounce.” This means the bottom of the squat is getting neglected when in reality, it needs the most attention.
2. Squat to a box. Ideally, we want to set up the box about an inch below where you are currently squatting, WITH proper mechanics in tact. We need to ease our way to below parallel. If we make this gap to large, you may sacrifice crucial mechanics. This should feel difficult but doable with proper form. The box provides tactile feedback so you can begin to become familiar with WHAT below parallel feels like. Once the given box height gets too easy, lower the box until you are able to squat to the SAME depth (full depth.) without the box.
3. Bottom of the squat holds. Hold for 10-20 second intervals for 3-4 sets. Complete 2-3 x per week. This is going to build strength in that bottom position!
First you need to address WHY you aren't squatting below 90. Then, you need to address with fixing the set-up position, mobility, or motor control drills. Once you've got your game plan in place, it's time to put in the work! As I always say, consistency is KEY.
All the squat gain vibes to you,
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