T Nation

Flexibility training for squats

Hello Joe,

I’ve read all of your articles on T-Mag and they’re great. Please, keep on writing them!

My question has to do with flexibility for the squat. I saw the picture of Rachel Bello on your site, which basically puts paid to my theory that tall people can’t squat. I’m a 6’2" guy and I cannot go that deep.

My question is this: If it’s a matter of hamstring flexibility, how come I don’t feel the hamstrings tighten up when I do squat down. If I keep the arch tight in my back I just stop above parallel; I can’t go any lower with releasing the arch or falling back on my ass.

Any tips? BTW, I tried the overhead press squat test for flexibility and I’m absolutely dire in that. But it’s the same problem, I don’t feel where it’s tight, I just can’t pull myself down any further.

Thanks, and keep up the good work.

First question: how big are your hamstrings and calves? If they’re touching, that’s it for depth.

I doubt that’s the problem, so you’ll have to be more specific in what’s happening when you get deep. Is the lower back rounding or arching? Are your knees buckling in? Feet pronating? Do your toes point dramatically outward?

There are way too many factors involved in squat depth for me to give you a clear-cut answer without ever having seen you squat.
As far as flexibility is concerned, the hamstrings usually aren’t the biggest problem. Static stretching your HIP FLEXORS, EXTERNAL ROTATORS OF THE HIP and your GASTROC/SOLEUS/ACHILLES will definately get you squatting deeper than your current depth. Now, I didn’t say that this is your only problem, but my recommendation will definately help.
Give it a shot.

try this stretch next time before you squat. i used to get just above parallel when i would squat. when i do this stretch and others i get below parallel easly. try it out hope it helps

Thanks all for the answers. Nope, my hamstrings ain’t that big and there’s plenty of depth left. I stretch the hip flexors a lot these days and it helps but I never thought to hit the external rotators or achilles, dumbass that I am. I’ll get that into the routine and see how it goes.

Regarding what happens, my knees try to move inwards. When I stop that, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere else I can “give” to get further down. My natural inclination is to round my back out to finish the squat.

Thanks again for the answers. I appreciate it’s really hard to answer a generic question like this.