Blog / Squats with Tom Bliss

Squats with Tom Bliss

The squat is arguably the cornerstone of athletic ability.

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The squat is arguably the cornerstone of athletic ability. Perform correctly and you have the keys to unleashing your athletic prowess. Harnessing your true squat depth potential is not going to guarantee you legs like Chris Hoy... it is however going to enable you push harder, be stronger & develop you into a much more rounded athlete. I use the term athlete in the broadest sense - we're all athletes, we were born to move, jump & run. Whether you choose to maximise these tools is up to you.

The hips play an unequivocal role in enabling you to squat to depth. Tight hips/hip flexors? You'll struggle to get down at all let alone hit 90 degrees. Warming up your hips will only get you so far. If you want to really harness your squat depth potential you'll need to invest sufficient time in your mobility & active end range. Why mobility & active end range as opposed to flexibility you may ask? As Hunter Cook (@hunterfitess), one of my favourite movement guru's, aptly puts "having flexibility allows me to use an outside force to push my joint(s) into position. This might make a pretty yoga photo but it does't translate into movement". He then goes on to say "mobility or having active control of the joints in said positions translates much more into movement. Having neurological control means I can produce/absorb force there. It means I can create the movement. I can actively bring my joint into and out of the position". 

More mobility - a greater degree of freedom.

More mobility - more movement variability.

How does this relate to our squat? Well if more mobility equals a greater degree of freedom then more freedom equates to a greater depth of squat. I wasn't blessed with the loosest of hips, I always struggled in rugby to get into the low positions required to pass the ball off the floor, however over time as I've applied myself more and more to my mobility & active end range work ons I can safely say my hips are now the loosest they've ever been. Still far perfect, here are my 3 top drills to get you going. 

#1 Hip 'CAR's' (controlled articular rotations)

#2 Cook Squat & Rotation 

#3 Hip Internal Rotations 

Hope this has been an insightful & informative post. Get cracking with the exercises mentioned and please don't hesitate to shout if you have any queries or questions. Stay tune for part #2 - 5 cues to a better squat.