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As I've gotten older and become more sedentary due to remote work, I do not feel as stable/comfortable in a deep squat as I used to be. Looking in the mirror I can tell that it is both an ankle and hip mobility issue. I also noticed the hip mobility issue as I run and no longer have as smooth of a gait. Can I address both at the same time effectively and efficiently or should I address one before the other?

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    I have the same problem. I use squat shoes. Have tried fancy elastic band physiotherapy techniques for ankles. Honestly I think the simplest and best solution is to bodyweight squat every day.
    – Andy
    Oct 25, 2022 at 10:39

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Mobility is a concern for so many of us, including myself. We watch many videos, read lots of articles, and get advice from trainers and training partners. However, mobility is a tough thing to change and harder to maintain that change.

Addressing Mobility

I would suggest that the best way to try to get better and handle the depth of the squat is to do more squatting. Don't go just doing more squats with heavier load, but instead do more variations that help produce the desired outcomes in the measures you're wanting to see improved. The goal should be to take your movement as is, and slightly modify it as time goes on. Then, continual practice of these movements will allow you to keep your mobility.

Suggestions

  1. Lighten your weight - Being good at squatting isn't about lifting 600lbs, but is more about moving in the way your body wants to (for now).
  2. Squat with small 2.5lb-5lb plates under your heels - This is great for both mobility issues because it allows the ankles to be less involved in the movement. The 5lbs plate might be right for now, but as time goes on, you can lower that to the 2.5 plate, and finally a squat shoe that might even be slightly lower. In the end, this will help your ankle dorsiflexion.
  3. Try to squat between your legs - Fanning your feet out to 45 degrees and taking a slightly shoulder-width stance and squat. This allows your hips to flex further out and usually people find this slightly easier if they have hip mobility issues. As time goes on, you can try to rotate your feet back towards the front of your body.
  4. Pause squats - One of the best ways to feel better about squatting when it feels bad in the hole is to spend more time there. Use lighter weight, something that's relatively easy for a set of 10. Do 3-5s pauses at the bottom of the squat. This is both giving your hips the ability to get used to that tension, but also trigger your central nervous system to queue the needed muscles to push out better.
  5. Tempo squats - Same as above with the pause squats, but this allows the CNS to really trigger all of the needed motor units to trigger properly during the entire movement. And doing it slower creates the stressors on the mobility areas that are problematic so they can get used to this movement pattern.
  6. Kettle bell squats - These are a great hip mobility routine because they ask the squat to occur between our legs. Fan out your feet some, about 45 degress and squat the bell between your legs. You can even use the plates under your ankles to work more on their mobility as well.

Stretching, etc.

I don't want to rehash such a topic as this since it isn't "factual". I would suggest watching some videos from other creators that have some good scientific advice on this topic. Omar Isuf has a good video on this as well as Alan Thrall.

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