T Nation

Squats and Flexibility


OK, I absolutely cannot squat past parallel without my heels coming off the ground. Is this a flexibility issue with ankles or knees? Or is it hips? Regardless, I've decided I'm going to stick with a moderate weight on squats for the next several weeks and slowly try to work my way further past parallel with each successive workout. 2 questions:
1)Is that a good way to go about it, or are there some specific stretches/assistance exercises I could do?

2)Is it even a problem? Is going parallel enough? (OK, that was two questions in one)

Thanks in advance for any advice.


1) Sure dropping the ego to work on form can always be good. Strecth well the calfs of course to get more flexibility and your hip felxors. Check out Eric Cressy's and Mike Roberst articles on this and a recent thread was on this very same subject.

2) Must you go below parallel NO, will it benefit you well sure any further ROM will aid in making one stronger in the limited ROM. Say you can squat 400klbs ass to grass, you would stomp that going parallel. But it depends on your goals, and be sure to go slow and PAIN free no need to injure yourself.


Hey Tizza,

I know where you're coming from. I use to be one of those guys putting a board under the heels just to squat. It can be fixed and it sounds like you have your mind in the right place to do it.

The thing that helped my flexibility in the squat was to hold at the bottom for a few seconds and 'chase the stretch'. I'll take a PVC pipe and do Overhead Squats both holding the bottom position and/or doing several sets for reps, like 3 x 15. By working the Overhead Squat, you work your flexibility issues in the legs of course but also get a hit on trunk stabalization and back and shoulder strength/flexibility at the same time.

Its been an awesome way to warmup in general regardless of what I'm actually training on any given day as well.

Good luck...


Overhead squats really helped me out. Backing off the weight is also a god idea. Good luck.


Thanks for the advice. Phill, I'm going to have to check out Cressey's article on this. As for the overheads, I'm going to have to work up to it. Last night I tried (without any weight whatsoever) to just get in a "ass to grass" squatted position. It was either squat on my tiptoes or fall on my ass. Actually, I find it easier to squat with at least some weight on the bar. That's why I think I'm going to have a go with my original plan. I'll have to incorporate some of what Cressey has to say as well.

I have had a lot of ankle damage over the years and I think there is probably a good deal of scar tissue built up there. Not sure if that is the cause, but it certainly isn't helping.


I'm in the exact same boat. Just starting to squat, but past a certain point it's heels up or fall on my ass. I look forward to hearing about your progress.


When I started to get back to squatying not too long ago, my flexibility was also an issue. However, I find that warming up with a set or two of light stiff-legged deadlifts before warming up with squats before doing my working sets allows me to do full squats without a problem. Don't worry about the weight you squat, just get your form down, the weight will follow.


C & Rs "get your butt in gear" series ... read and apply.


Exactly what I was looking for. From my last few lower body workouts I can definitely tell (from the varying degrees of soreness) that my glutes are doing very little, if any, of the work. Hip mobility is almost zero. Guess I will be checking the ego for a while and working on form.


Can't find this. Do you have the thread?


I just searched the site for them, but here you go:



I second this. Also, start doing front squats. Even though some say not to put the bar across your upper chest / collar bone area and then cross your arms, I like this more than the other way (supporting the bar with your hands under it, like the end of a power clean). Even though the former isn't much more comfortable, I feel I can concentrate on going ass to the grass more. But, overall, the overhead squats have helps with core strength and flexibility.


I'm in the exact same boat. I dropped barbell squats totally for now until I get some more strength/flexibility in my hips and ankles.

I started out doing Overhead sqauts with just a broomstick, and worked up to the ol bar. About 2-3 times a week I'll do 2 warm up sets of OH squats with the broomstick then 2-3 sets with the ol bar. After that I'll do 4-6 sets of Kettlebell front squats, and I've been getting really deep on them. I can feel my ankles aching just a tad from exceeding the limited range of motion that they've been used to for the last couple of years post injuries. But it's working for me, and maybe in another month or two I'll start doing some regular squats again.