Here’s a few of the best mobility drills that you can use for a better squat. More often than not, guys will come into the gym, quickly hit a few stretches and get right into their workout. I like to point out that since most people spend a lot of their day sitting, there’s a series of muscles which tend to become really tight.
Releasing these tight areas will allow you to have a greater range of motion through the hips and hamstrings to help improve squat form.
Squat Mobility Drills
While research has shown that static stretching before a lift can cause a slight decrease in power, in my opinion there’s no reason to even train for power if your pattern is off. In other words, use the mobility drills to correct your squat form so you can develop the most efficient squat possible and life with more power later on.
To begin, go ahead a grab a massage ball, lacrosse ball, or something similar to go through the following series of mobility drills for a better squat. Bonus, these drills are also great for posture and injury prevention. I’ve also made an entire warm-up series which includes a couple other great drills for squat. I suggest using these as well before a lower body session – check them out here.
The first drill focuses on the gluteus medius which can be located just at the top, “side” of your ass. To start this drill, come down to a seated position, placing the massage ball just at the top of the glute medius. Keep in mind that any time you’re putting weight down on this muscle, it’s going to feel extremely tight at first. Your goal is to essentially “deaden” the nervous system so the tension dissipates with time as you relax into the mobility drills.
By continuing to add weight over top the massage ball and relaxing into the stretch, you’re working to passively release the glute medius muscle. I suggest staying on each of the mobility drills until you don’t feel any tension, but feel completely relaxed over the massage ball. Eventually this may even get you to a point where you’re able to roll around a bit, covering more ground with the massage ball almost in the way you use a foam roller.
The TFL muscle or tensor fascia latae is oftentimes tense and overworked from sitting and especially if you do a lot of driving. This muscle runs along the front of your hip flexor. Think of it this way – while sitting and driving, the TFL is already shortened, then every time you go to step from the brakes to the accelerator, that TFL is constantly flaring. Here’s a mobility drill I like to provide for the TFL:
Begin lying on the ground on one side. On your opposite side, bring the massage ball to the area over your TFL or resting on your pants pocket. Next you’ll roll onto that side, maintaining the location of the massage ball so that you bring all your weight over top to add pressure to the TFL. Again, it’s going to be difficult to relax into these mobility drills as they can feel very intense in the beginning, so continue to breathe through and relax into it.
The IT or iliotibial band is a run of fascia or connective tissue which runs on the outside of the leg, all the way from the hip down to the knee. To work out the entire IT band you can also use a foam roller, but since the massage ball is a little more aggressive, here’s how to get some work done:
Come down to the floor so you’re lying on your side and position the massage ball under the hip. From here I recommend working through this mobility drill in small sections where you might just move the ball down a few inches at a time. Slowly apply pressure to the entire length of your IT band working from the hip down to the knee.
The piriformis muscle runs laterally, about midway through the glute and can be another area of great tension especially when trying to nail your squat. This is another drill that you could start with the foam roller, but after working your way up the massage ball, this mobility drill really helps to get a little deeper into the stretch.
To start make your way into a seated position on the floor with your hands back behind you. For your first side, bring the left heel close to your butt and then cross the right ankle over the left knee. Lift your bodyweight to hover, placing the massage ball underneath the right glute and then sitting over it. Once you find the area of tension, release your weight so you can relax into the mobility drill and even move around a bit, rolling over the ball laterally to find more tight areas to work through.
MORE RESOURCES FOR MOBILITY DRILLS
You and I both know that as much as we want to talk about your training and strength exercises… recovery plays a huge role in improving your game. To be the ultimate athlete, you need to optimize your body like one.
I’ve taken 7 Areas of an Athlete’s lifestyle and created guides that optimize each area.
- Sleep Optimization
- Active Recovery
- Nutrient and Hydration Optimization
- Supplement Optimization
- Biomechanics Optimization
- Work Capacity Optimization
Check out Athletic Performance Optimization
We’ll dive into my tried and tested recovery and training methods that you can apply to the off-season to put on mass or just get stronger.