Best Stretches Prior to Squats/Deadlifts?

Does anybody have any go-to hamstring stretches prior to squatting and/or pulling? I work at a desk all day, and naturally, the hams are tight and pulled into a shortened position. This obviously leads to them pulling my pelvis way in and fucking things up.

I’d definitely go hamstring stretches and hip flexor stretches if you’re sitting down all day - they help each other. For hammies I like seated toe touches with a neutral back (don’t round your back as you try to reach further). For hip flexors I like the half-kneeling stretch from Agile 8.

Coming at the solution from the other side, is there any chance you can lift in the morning? Making that change has been great for me and I find I have to compensate a lot less for the effects of sitting.

I’m actually considering that. I commute into work 45 minutes M-F and my gym is literally 5 minutes around the corner from my work, so it would make sense from many perspectives. I hate the concept of having to wake up significantly earlier, but alas, we do not live in a perfect world.

I’ll check out those stretches - thank you!

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A cossack hamstring stretch is in a similar position to squatting and deadlifting so it should carry over to the movements if you do it right.

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Agreed. On the plus side, though, you’ll sleep better since the stimulus happens further from your bedtime.

Stretching hams plus warming up hips and practicing stability.


I remember getting this from Joe DeFranco’s ‘limber 11’ routine. I use to do his warm up religiously before training. I can only speculate whether my lower back would be in better nick today had I only maintained that habit!!

The cossack squat is one of the few moves I still do to this day.

I’m not a fan of static stretching before a workout/training session. I am a fan of moving through the range of motion I want to be mobile in as often as possible. While my current warmup is different from this, I did the following for a very long time and could easily go back to it (nothing wrong with it, I just made a warmup even more tailored to my needs)

I’d do it even before an upper body session, especially if you are sedentary. Then you want to undo the sedentary-ness as often as possible so in my mind then warming up the entire body as opposed to only your upper body is, from a long-term standpoint, the better option.

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Unloaded one leg split squat, but with the squatting foot out a little further than one would under load. Draws out that hip flexor of the leg you have elevated very nicely and warms up the hammies of the leg you’re pushing with.

Band leg curls and calf raises do it for me.

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I would go with none. There are no stretches that are good or helpful prior to Deadlifting. Maybe after, but not before.


Instead of spending time stretching, do more warm-up sets.

My number 1 prep drill for squats is the squat, and the number one prep drill for deadlifts is the RDL

I’m often biased towards extension patterns because I sit at a desk and procrastinate studying all day. I like to start off my warm up routine with the 90-90 hip lift to get everything back in neutral

Like @j4gga2 said best bang for your buck would be functional movements like the 90-90, RDLs, Split Squats, Cossack Squats etc. Not exactly stretches but each movement has a mobility component so u are warming up your muscles to work as well as stretching at the same time. 5 mins and you’re ready to go.


This. Light squats are the very best thing for preparing yourself for heavy squats. And so on.

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I thank you all for the replies. Definitely helping me. The issue I have, and I’m sure I share with quite a few others here, is that I have a desk job. So from 8-4:30, I’m sitting, with the frequent trips to the break room for more coffee and the bathroom. I try and get up as much as possible. But due to my hamstrings and hip flexors being constantly “on” during this time, in a shortened state, it ultimately pulls my pelvis waaaayyy under me. As a result, when I go to pull, getting into position is such a painful chore than I end up resembling a caterpillar.

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When I used to work construction, I’d be on my feet all day and getting into position was easy as cake.

There is Stretching, where take you a muscle from its normal length, stretch the shit out of it until it goes past its normal length, and hold that lengthened position for a minute or more. This kind of stretch is a workout itself, and it’s Proven to make you lift less if you do it before lifting.

Then the is the kind of stretching where you take a muscle you Know is “temporarily shortened” and get it back to it’s normal length. Like when you’ve been sitting for awhile and you touch your toes to loosen up. Or if you reach-reach-reach your arms overhead to get your back and shoulders unkinked so you can stand straight up.

It’s not the same as trying to increase the length of the muscle, past normal. It’s just taking a tight muscle back to normal. You know some motion or body part is restricted or limited by tightness/shortening, so you fix it before it messes up your big, compound moves. This type of stretching is Proven to increase lifts.

The other type of stretching is where you just put a little tension on a muscle you have poor Mind-Muscle Connection with, or a muscle you struggle to activate. You put just enough stretch on it to feel it, you become more aware and tuned in to the muscle, and it works better. You don’t really lengthen the tissue much, you just have a better workout.

Anyway, if you know your hams are going to mess up your workout, it would be silly not to get them straightened out before the workout. Just avoid the first type of deep, long stretches before lifting.

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You’re saying short duration strength increases strength? Do you remember the circumstances under which this was tested, by any chance?

They made some dudes stretch their (presumably tight) hip flexors before squatting. And they squatted more than if they didn’t stretch their hip flexors.

I never looked at it myself, my hero Matt Wenning mentioned it one time.

There is also something PNF Stretching that is supposed to help muscles work better.

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I’ve read there is no conclusive literature that prove “tight” or “shortened” hamstrings/hip flexors lead to squat/deadlift deficiencies. There have been arguments for and against. Hip socket depth, etc. can also cause issues that are not reversible regardless of stretching.

It’s an issue I explore a lot because I’m always studying my form and looking for breakdowns above 90%. Once I see those, I try and attack the muscle groups that are causing it.