Following on from the article on The Overhead Squat Test this video shows you how to improve you squat very quickly with 3 simples exercises. Give it a go, Scroll below for the article if cannot watch the video.
1) Stretch Your Big Toe –
Your ability to squat is mostly related to the ability of your ankles to move forward in a compressed position. The main restriction for this will come from your big toe muscle.
To stretch the big toe, ensure your big toe is pushed backwards up the side of a wall/corner’s edge and then bend your knee forwards. This should localise the stretch to the big toe muscle.
Please note stretching the calf muscle (straight leg stretch in this same position) has very little if any effect on your squatting ability.
2) Mobilise Your Sacrum –
The base of your spine usually gets locked up from life as it becomes jammed form both sitting for prolonged periods and also moving the body! If the sacrum is jammed it will restrict movement in squatting.
To mobilise the sacrum take a tennis ball or similar and put it against a wall and then lean on it against your buttocks. When you find pain (usually much worse on one side than the other) simply hold it there for 20-30 seconds. When this pain subsides move to next point of pain. This process (can take 5-10 minutes to do thoroughly) but it should release the sacrum.
3) Stretch the front line of the body –
Tightness in the front line will inhibit your ability to squat as it distorts posture. Front line tightness refers to anywhere from the top of the foot to your jaw. But for most people their focus should be on the thighs, stomach or front of the neck. To release the front line look to stretch these areas
Perhaps the most influencing of these is the front of the neck. To release this pin the skin behind your collar bone with you fingers, then slowly tilt your head backwards and you should feel a gentle stretch. Return to the start position and repeat.
Bringing It All Together
The Easiest way forward is to simply do a squat, note depth/feeling. Do step 1, then retest, do step 2 and retest and so forth. This should give you insight into which has the greatest influence. In my experience it will be the big toe.
Other Factors may be affecting the knee if you are getting pains. Read more about knee pain here.
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