First off I just want to congratulate all the individuals and teams that have made it to the next phase of competition and give a massive shout out to my teammates from TEAM ALIVE for their awesome showing a couple weekends ago at the Australia/New Zealand Regionals! We ended up finishing 8th in a very tough teams competition, with our best place in the final event (4th!).
It was a great weekend and there were a few surprises along with way. From a spectator point of view, I was still observing athletes struggling to attain full depth squats (particularly on the 1RM hang snatch event). Some were getting no-repped, others were not. Unfair, yes but I suppose it shows that 1. judges are only human (and they are volunteers, who do a damn great job for the most part and 2. even athletes at the regional level have some mobility issues.
If you are having trouble hitting depth on your squats, it may be because you are lacking full hip flexion range. If you have a job that mainly involves sitting in a chair all day long, you may be…shaped like a chair. This means that when you test hip flexion ROM (knee to chest), passively you are limited to 90 of hip flexion. Is this a problem? Uh, yes! Squatting to full depth (hip crease below parallel) requires at least 95-100 degrees of passive hip flexion. As a physio, I really would prefer you to have 110 degrees plus. This means that you can get your hip crease BELOW parallel without extra force (aka weight/gravity) assisting you. All those people getting called out for “power snatching then overhead squatting” I can only assume, have restricted hip flexion ROM (and possibly poor ankle ROM also, but I digress).
So what happens when you are chair-shaped? Your hip flexors, hamstrings and hip external rotators all become shortened. Chronic shortening of these muscles can lead to trigger points causing lower back and hip pain. What’s worse, is that your gluteus maximus (the most important muscle for SQUATTING!) becomes lengthened and inhibited.
What do you need to do to avoid this phenomenon?
1. Spend less time in your chair! Get up, walk around regularly. Do the couch/samson stretch at your desk (yeah you might get a few strange looks, so what?)
2.Take your handy dandy lacrosse ball/spikey ball to work with you. Sit on that sucker and attack your glutes and hammies while you sit. Multi-tasking at it’s finest!
3. Sit in the bottom of a deep squat. Butt to your heels (preferably with your feet close together). If you struggle with this, hang onto a pole or your desk and then gradually wean yourself off the support.
4. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV, lie on your stomach with a couple pillows under your thighs to gain some passive hip extension ROM. You can even do some contract-relax stuff while you’re there.
5. Download the MOBILIZEME app and make those no reps on squat depth a thing of the PAST!!