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Mobility for Squats

Newbie here. I’m 38, 5 foot 9, and have cut down from 205 to 175 over the past 5 months with calorie counting, high protein, and moderate cardio.

I’ve started weight training over the past 3 weeks, and am really enjoying it. My issue is that I am having issues with the body motion for squats. I have a short Achilles tendon from birth, and a minor hip impingement from years of sitting. When I try to do bodyweight squats, I either fall over/backwards, or have to raise off my heels onto the toes/balls of my feet. At the gym, I’ve used the Smith machine which is helping with balance, but I can barely hit parallel, let alone go deeper. Plus, I get the feeling I’m leaning back into the bar as I can’t really hinge at the hip.

I’d like to work on mobility, as I want to start lifting with good form. Any suggestions to help me get right?

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Ditch the barbell for a couple week, grab a dumbbell and do some Goblet Squats.

Once a week do some Goblet Squats with a very slow descent. Like a slow 6-8 count on the way down, for 5 to 8 reps. Focus on feeling the tension in your glutes and quads and abs, not in your hip joints. If you want you can put a little band around your knees to help focus on using your glutes to control your knees and take pressure off your hips.

This can be a little warm up before other squats. Or you can do 4-5 sets of this and make it your squat workout for the day.

A second time during the week do Goblet Squats with pauses during the descent. Like go down a few inches, then stop for 3-5 seconds. Focus on tension in your legs, glutes and abs and keeping tension off your front hip joint area. Then go down a few more inches and stop for. 3-5 count again. Focus on tension/tightness in the right place. Do this 3 or 4 times in the squat motion. Once near the top, once near the bottom and once or twice in the middle. This can be part of your warm up, or you could do this for 4 or 6 sets as your whole squat workout.

If you’re conscientious with these moves for a month or 6 weeks they Can(maybe) help clear up your hip impingement. And they can help you improve your hip and glute strength to help with your mobility and squat depth.

Elevate your heels by with plates so your not restricted by your ankle flexibility.

Here’s a lady doing slow eccentrics with her heels on some dumbbells.

Here’s one pause with a band around the knees

This one is a dude with a barbell doing 3 pauses.

Doing a few sets of hamstring curls or 45 Degree Back raises before squatting can help loosen you up and get you ready to squat smoother with less pain.

You can also think about doing some specific work for your hip flexors and lower abs. And doing some calf raises to stretch out your ankles a little.


Thank you for the information. I’ve tried with plates under my heels before, but honestly thought it was cheating myself.

I’ll try really hitting the hip flexors and ankles with some stretching, get a good warm up in, and then try some light goblet squats. Once I’m able to go through the motion properly, I have no issues really focusing on form and doing high reps until my body is comfortable with it.

Will give an update in a month.