Yes, this is the title of a rap song, but it is also our aim when we squat. We want to create the most stable, comfortable and functionally sound bottom position in our squat. It’s healthy, it is how we are designed and it will keep us independent and capable for the rest of our lives.
At a minimum the crease of our hip is going to pass below the top of our knee but working on a comfortable rock bottom squat is where we really want to get. Let’s face it, many of us are far away from feeling comfortable in the bottom of a squat: keeping our back tight, our knees pressed out, our chest up and our feet flat on the floor and just sitting. Years and years of sitting in chairs and not working our joints in a full range of motion can really do a doozie on ankle and hip mobility as well as the strength in our back extensors.
We often work on squats with a pause in the bottom so that we can create awareness of our bottom position and also work on loosening up that position by creating more time under tension. Think about it…if you are always forcing your body into the right position under load, your body will eventually have to give in and change. It may take months or years, but it can be done.
So you struggle in the bottom position of the squat? What can you do?
A lot of time problems with positioning is just a lack of mobility in a certain joint. Ask one of the coaches to show you a few mobility drills for your problem areas or go to mobilitywod.com and check out a few drills you can put into practice on a daily basis to start addressing those areas.
Work on keeping your chest upright and forcing yourself into a good position by practicing wall squats every day. Face a wall about a foot away and perform an air squat with your hands above your head. If you didn’t touch the wall and you maintained all the points of performance, scoot a little closer to the wall. When you find a place you get stuck at, back up just a little and drill your squat in that spot until you can scoot closer eventually.
Squat with a Pole or bands
Work from the bottom up! Get into a rock bottom position and then work on driving your knees out, keeping your chest up and sitting up a little higher to tighten your back. Use the pole or bands to hold you in that bottom position that you struggle to maintain without assistance.
Goblet squat holds
Hold a kettlebell in front of you as a counterbalance and work on keeping your chest up in the bottom. Work on staying tight in the bottom and rocking back and forth to loosen up your hips and ankles.
Elevate your heels
A lot of time problems in the bottom occur because of lack of dorsiflexion in the ankle joint (read: tight ankles) We can elevate our heels and give ourselves a little more range of motion in that joint. Heel elevated squats allow you to load your body in a better position and over time develop the ankle mobility you are missing.
When we program tempo with 2 second holds in the bottom for example, we are doing “pause squats” essentially. We are working time under tension. The pause in the bottom is done in an effort to develop strength and flexibility in the bottom. Elevating your heels in a pause squat will allow you to actually pause and sit in more of a correct position. Since tempo is more important than load, we suggest going lighter, elevating your heels or a combination of both to actually work a more solid bottom position.
As always, we are here to help! If you have questions about any of these, don’t hesitate to ask a coach!