Squatting is the most functional movement we do in CrossFit. The ultimate test is to be able to go for dinner in the far east or Africa and squat for its total duration – which could be hours!
So what’s stopping us from getting comfortable in this bottom position – kids can do it no problem, just watch an 18 month to 3 or 4 year old pick something up from the floor. Rather than bend over they will squat down (usually in perfect form) and pick it up. The answer is that we spend most of our lives sitting behind a desk or in cars and we allow ourselves to stiffen up. To reverse the process takes time and lots of mobbing and stretching!!
Firstly lets look at the main points of restriction, these being hips, knees and ankles. I have already looked at certain mobs in a previous post here and this week we covered a few different ones starting with a good ‘Super Friend’ mob of the groin area.
By using a band to pull the hip into the correct position whilst applying the stretch we can mobilise in a good position. Firstly we apply band distraction to the hip by stepping into a medium band suspended directly above you and lie on your back with your knees bent in a butterfly position. It is really important to engage your butt (squeeze your buttocks together) to protect your lower back throughout this mob. Now get your partner to gently apply a 20kg plate to the inside of one thigh to pin to the leg to the floor. Now your partner gently pushes your other leg towards the floor until you reach your point of restriction (can’t go any further without something snapping!). Remain here for 10 seconds and then push back hard against your partners hand for 5 seconds. After releasing you will find that you can go that little bit further towards the floor. Repeat this for 5 cycles and then swap legs. Check out the full video here.
Now that we have opened up the hips, we want to ensure that we drive the knees out in the squat. There are a number of ways to practice this, however today we covered the front lunge mob. To do this we drop into a deep lunge position with right foot forward and place our right hand onto our right foot to lock it in place, we then drive our right elbow into the inside of our knee to block the knee from coming in. Then working in cycles we drive the knee inwards as hard as possible whilst blocking with our elbow for 5 seconds and then release and we should be able to push the knee out a little bit further increasing our range of motion. Go out for 10 secs and then repeat the cycle. The full video is here.
At the bottom of the squat tight Achilles tendons can restrict the range of motion that we can achieve. A very simple mob is to use a barbell as a roller to loosen up those tight places. Grab a bar and put 1 x 1.25 kg plates on each end. Sitting down place your Achilles tendon of one foot on the bar and gently roll the foot up and down and left and right – to apply more pressure cross your legs and place you other foot on top to press down. Do this for 2-3 mins each foot.
Always remember to test and re-test between each mob to find what works for you. Have you made improvement, increased range or motion, become more efficient?
Remember these mobs are not just for Sundays, do them as often as you can especially pre WOD to reduce the chance of injury and make you more efficient in your movement.