Squats can absolutely be tricky to get down. Focusing on the appropriate mobility and stability drills prior to training can improve your likelihood at performing well coordinated squats. 

Check out this video for a sample Warm-up for Squats:

When we are designing an effective warm-up for squats we want to pay attention to the Hips and Spine. Both in our ability to move them freely but also to stabilize them. 

First we want to focus on creating the appropriate passive range in the hips and spine to allow for efficient squat mechanics.

Because we want to be able to effectively retract the shoulder blades during the squat we want to make sure we have the enough thoracic extension to be able to facilitate this. Some great moves to address this are Barbell Pull Overs, Cat-Camels, T-Spine Extension on Foam Roller.

Now when we look at the ranges of motion required at the hip we want to look at Internal and External Rotation of the Hip as well as Hip Flexion. Things that could help us get into these positions are exercises like Frog Stretch, Modified Pigeon Stretch, 90-90 Shin Box, Lateral Lunges.

Actively there are a lot of areas where the squat could breakdown however many of them we are loading into passively. We want to make sure the Hips don’t rotate, shift to one side, or overly tilt forward or backward. To address the lateral shift and rotation we would use exercises like Split Squats, Single Leg Deadlift, and Hip Airplanes to help improve our perception of how we are moving through these planes. 

Lastly to address the stability through our trunk we would utilize exercises like Bird-Dogs, Planks, Ab-wheel Rollouts, Hollow Holds, and other similar exercises.

Lots of people like to stretch the calves before training squats. However often the calves are restricted due to a perceived instability up or downstream. Often picking an exercise that better matches your skill level. Like moving from a Barbell Back Squat to a Front Squat, or a Front Squat to a Goblet Squat. 

That being said there is a lot of nuance in deciding which exact exercise is right for you. However this should narrow down your options so you don’t have to test everything the internet has to offer.

If you feel like you could use a little more help, feel free to reach out to us to go through an initial consultation to start you on your path to reaching your goals.

-Stay Dope

Steven Davis (Owner of Davis Fitness Method)