Written by Nichole DeHart
Are you looking to improve your squat? Well, there may be a few more things needed to add into your training then just putting you on a Smolov program (even though this program works wonders for adding kilos to your squat, just ask our coach Bryan Miller). For most of the gym going population, you’re coming into the gym with a few hours under your belt of sitting at a desk. Your hip flexors are painfully tight, so you get on a foam roller for .3 seconds, do a little band assisted work for .8 seconds then start working on loading that bar up with your squat weight. You probably know what I am about to say…you must spend more time opening up the hips to get yourself in a good position to squat! I know, I know…mobilizing takes time and sometimes you just want to be in and out of the gym. So, I am here to give you three exercises that will give you a big bang for your buck and they won’t take a million years to do! Start incorporating these three drills into your squat warm-up routine and see how much your positioning improves!
Russian Baby Makers
This is just one of many names given to this drill. This is a great drill to warm up your hamstrings and hips. As you reach your hips up high, drive your chest to your thighs, keeping your hands on your toes. Then actively pull your hips down to the bottom of the squat, lifting your chest up high and driving your knees out with your elbows. As you progress in your reps you should be able get lower and lower.
A big thank you to Games Athlete Jenny LaBaw for introducing me to this drill! Post yourself up by a rack. Get into a figure four position and pull yourself down as low as possible, without rounding the back. You should feel a stretch through your piriformis. Keep your chest up while you lower, focusing on proper squat mechanics. As you progress in your reps you should be able to get lower and lower.
Rack Assisted Squat Therapy
This is a great drill to work on good positioning in your squat. Position yourself as close to a rack as possible. Your arms should be overhead and, with a tight midline, pull yourself to the bottom of your squat. You can hold onto the rack as you descend, keeping your hands in one place. If you have the stability to do so, remove your hands from the rack, keeping as vertical a torso as possible. Soon, you’ll be able to squat with a vertical torso like this young Chinese weightlifter front squatting 330lbs with ease.
Start incorporating these drills in your warm up routine and you’ll feel so much stronger with your squat position! Happy squatting to you!