The last two weeks we have focussed on our ankles and how they affect your squat pattern. Over the next few weeks we will turn our attention to the hip; how it can be affected by a sedentary lifestyle, how it can negatively impact your squat and then how we can improve mobility in the area.
Sitting Down and The Hip
A sedentary lifestyle and excessive sitting are a couple reasons why we develop poor hip mobility.
If you think back to a few blog articles ago we discussed posture at work and how a lot of sitting down can alter our hip mobility in a negative way – tightening our hip flexors, and hamstrings and lower back. (If you missed this article here is the link…)
Limited range-of-motion at the hips can limit our ability to squat to full depth. Most of us could benefit from working on our hip mobility.
With a lack of hip mobility, a number of things can happen, our knees lose stability, our lower back will lose stability and can start to round – known as a butt wink. These issues can not only affect your squat but many lower body exercises such as lunge patterns, single led RDL’s and step ups. All of these issues in the long run, can cause further and more serious injury risks down the line – especially with increasing loads.
With sufficient hip mobility we should be able to squat to correct depth – hips below knee parallel.
An easy way to test this, is to perform a squat with toes pointing relatively straight forward. If you are unable to perform the movement to full depth then hip mobility should be something to look at improving. A great example is shown in the images below.
A more clinical test is to ask a Coach to perform the Thomas Test on you.
Checkout the image below to see a pass and fail checklist:
This test is performed while lying on your back. The Thomas test’s main purpose is to look for either Iliopsoas (hip flexor muscle), Rectus Femoris (quad muscle) or Iliotibial band tightness. All of these soft tissue structure can contribute to hip mobility issues.
If you have noticed in classes or your own workouts that squatting to depth is difficult, you feel as though you have tight hips or you find that your chest keeps falling forwards towards the ground when you squat, or you have a butt wink, then hip mobility is definitely something you need to be working on consistently!
Next week we will be going through hip mobility drills and exercises to get you up and running on the way to a better squat!