Increasing squat depth/general flexilibity

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I'm male - 64 - 5'10" - 210. I have been lifting weights for about 6 years.

I've never been very flexible, and I am becoming less flexible as I age. I would like to be able to squat to parallel every time. I can't get parallel now with any significant weight (over 135 lbs.) on the bar.

I have gone back to goblet squats to a box from time to time to improve form and depth.

I welcome any other suggestions for improving squat depth and general overall flexibility.

Replies

  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,485 Member
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    Have you ever taken a yoga/Pilates/aqua fit class?

    You could well benifit from doing one or 2 of the above a couple of times a week to improve your flexibility and mobility, as you age. Saying this as I am about to turn 65 and swear by them as a complement to my lifting.

    My SO is a runner and swimmer and started coming to Inyingar yoga with me. He couldn't believe how much work he had to do and how much it improved his flexibility. He could never even touch his toes, now fingers on the floor, just shy of palms.

    Cheers, h.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,785 Member
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    I agree with middlehaitch (as usual ;) ) about yoga, etc.

    That said, I found I got materially better/faster results from daily stretching/yoga - even just a few minutes for targeted areas - than I did from 2-3 times a week. I don't squat, though - knee issues - but this has been true for other body areas of importance to me. YMMV.

    Can you squat to parallel or lower with lighter weight? I'm sure you know best, but I'm wondering whether flexibility really is the problem vs. a bit of strength imbalance in particular ranges, or body geometry issues, or something like that.
  • aokoye
    aokoye Posts: 3,495 Member
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    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Can you squat to parallel or lower with lighter weight? I'm sure you know best, but I'm wondering whether flexibility really is the problem vs. a bit of strength imbalance in particular ranges, or body geometry issues, or something like that.

    This is exactly what I was thinking. If the OP can squat to parallel with a lower weight (and it appears that is the case from the first post) it sounds like it would be more of a strength issue than anything. I say this because squatting (with or without weight) is a big thing that I'm working on in PT right now while coming back from two major knee surgeries. The issue, for me, isn't flexibility (thankfully) rather it's not being strong enough.

    An educated guess on how to work on this would be to slowly go up in weight from the 130lbs that the OP is able to squat parallel. That said, I am neither a physical therapist nor a personal trainer and I don't play one on the internet.
  • ecjim
    ecjim Posts: 1,001 Member
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    When I squat I start warm ups with an empty bar & go ATG at first, I will pause at the bottom hold it and let my joints get working. ( I'm 67 y/o ) I go to parallel when I put weight on it. If you can go deep until you put weight on it you may have to check your ego & lower the weight as the previous poster said
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,485 Member
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    How about running a non linear progression?

    I l run AllPro which is a heavy, medium, light day, progressing from 2x8 to 2x12 over a 5 week period.

    By the time you are ready to up the weight the deload is already accounted for.

    It is not the most popular programme on this site, but worth checking out to get some progression.

    Another one that may help is the Hepburn method.

    You didn't state your programme, so I am suggesting blind so to speak.

    Cheers, h.
  • alteredsteve175
    alteredsteve175 Posts: 2,718 Member
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    Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions.
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I agree with middlehaitch (as usual ;) ) about yoga, etc.

    That said, I found I got materially better/faster results from daily stretching/yoga - even just a few minutes for targeted areas - than I did from 2-3 times a week.

    I have been attending yoga classes a couple of times a week for about two months. Hasn't seemed to help flexibility so far, but I will continue a while longer. The meditative and balance aspects have been enjoyable. I will add some daily stretching as well. Worth a try.
    Can you squat to parallel or lower with lighter weight? I'm sure you know best, but I'm wondering whether flexibility really is the problem vs. a bit of strength imbalance in particular ranges, or body geometry issues, or something like that.

    I can go parallel doing goblet squats with kettlebells and lighter weight on the bar. I can deadlift 225+ for reps, so I think I should be strong enough to squat more. I'm a little frustrated with by the lack of progress on the squats.

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,785 Member
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    aokoye wrote: »
    Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions.
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I agree with middlehaitch (as usual ;) ) about yoga, etc.

    That said, I found I got materially better/faster results from daily stretching/yoga - even just a few minutes for targeted areas - than I did from 2-3 times a week.

    I have been attending yoga classes a couple of times a week for about two months. Hasn't seemed to help flexibility so far, but I will continue a while longer. The meditative and balance aspects have been enjoyable. I will add some daily stretching as well. Worth a try.
    Can you squat to parallel or lower with lighter weight? I'm sure you know best, but I'm wondering whether flexibility really is the problem vs. a bit of strength imbalance in particular ranges, or body geometry issues, or something like that.

    I can go parallel doing goblet squats with kettlebells and lighter weight on the bar. I can deadlift 225+ for reps, so I think I should be strong enough to squat more. I'm a little frustrated with by the lack of progress on the squats.
    You think you should be strong enough to squat more but you clearly aren't if you're able to physically get to that parallel position at a lower weight. That's not some sort of slight or mental weakness, it just is. One of the things that my physical therapist said to me last week was that if we're not doing X strength exercise(s) in Y position then we're not strengthening Y position. By continuing to do squats at a higher weight but not going to parallel you're not building the strength to get to that position in whatever squat you're trying to do.

    I'd been planning to post something like this, but you said it better.

    I've had a similar experience: My legs are stronger than the average woman's my age from 15+ years of rowing. When I was taking a group circuits class, I maxed out the leg press machine in the circuits area, and had to switch to one in the weight training area to keep progressing. Its settings allowed a wider range of movement (deeper bend than the other machine, and deeper bend than rowing). I had to back the weight off and train up the "new" range for a while before proceeding.

    Steve, if you've been working on flexibility and slowly improving, you perhaps haven't spent a lot of daily-life time working the squat range you're shooting for now. I think it's plausible that it could be a little weaker, if only in neuromuscular terms. (I'm not sure I buy it totally, but my very science-oriented and well-credentialed massage therapist argues that flexibility is typically more a matter of neuro adaptation than muscular/connective tissue adaptation. Oh, and: Even if neuro, it's still not a mental weakness, it just is. ;) ).
  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,841 Member
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    Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions.
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I agree with middlehaitch (as usual ;) ) about yoga, etc.

    That said, I found I got materially better/faster results from daily stretching/yoga - even just a few minutes for targeted areas - than I did from 2-3 times a week.

    I have been attending yoga classes a couple of times a week for about two months. Hasn't seemed to help flexibility so far, but I will continue a while longer. The meditative and balance aspects have been enjoyable. I will add some daily stretching as well. Worth a try.
    Can you squat to parallel or lower with lighter weight? I'm sure you know best, but I'm wondering whether flexibility really is the problem vs. a bit of strength imbalance in particular ranges, or body geometry issues, or something like that.

    I can go parallel doing goblet squats with kettlebells and lighter weight on the bar. I can deadlift 225+ for reps, so I think I should be strong enough to squat more. I'm a little frustrated with by the lack of progress on the squats.

    stretch and warm up. I use the trx to squat deep and get my knees limbered and warmed up before i go to the bar. You gotta have good form and all the muscles engaged properly to get to depth with weight. Post a video .
  • mbaker566
    mbaker566 Posts: 11,233 Member
    edited July 2018
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    i might work from mountain pose to garland pose.
    frog pose might help too.
    goddess pose too

    since you are already doing yoga.
  • Chieflrg
    Chieflrg Posts: 9,097 Member
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    Vid of your barbell back squat please.
  • alteredsteve175
    alteredsteve175 Posts: 2,718 Member
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    Thanks again, all, for your suggestions.

    @aokoye - Got it. I went back to goblet squats on a plyo box this morning. Was able to touch the box every time. It makes sense that I need to keep working on form and depth before adding lots of weight.

    @AnnPT77 - I am going to start some bodyweight squats every day. We will find out if neuro adaptation works for me.

    @SonyaCele - I do a five minute full body warmup routine at the beginning of every workout. Then some empty bar squats and 95 lb. squats before the work sets. I could add some TRX squats to the warmup to be able to go deeper without toppling over. HAHA! Good suggestion.

    @mbaker566 - thanks for pose suggestions. I have done some of those poses in classes. Now to do them at home every day. The links were great - bookmarked already to go back and read more.

    @Chieflrg - will record a video in the next couple of days.

  • mbaker566
    mbaker566 Posts: 11,233 Member
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    trx is great. i modify trx moves for some of my aerial yoga classes.

    i teach this.
    d2ilxh6bqizo.png

    and you can do pistol squats, squats to y, squat jumps, warrior three squat thru to pistol squat. it can also balance you to do warrior 3 leg lifts.
  • debrakgoogins
    debrakgoogins Posts: 2,033 Member
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    Have you ever taken a yoga/Pilates/aqua fit class?

    You could well benifit from doing one or 2 of the above a couple of times a week to improve your flexibility and mobility, as you age. Saying this as I am about to turn 65 and swear by them as a complement to my lifting.

    My SO is a runner and swimmer and started coming to Inyingar yoga with me. He couldn't believe how much work he had to do and how much it improved his flexibility. He could never even touch his toes, now fingers on the floor, just shy of palms.

    Cheers, h.

    This^^^ My 6'3", 320 pound powerlifting son does yoga to stay flexible.
  • TrishSeren
    TrishSeren Posts: 587 Member
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    Have you tried plates under your heels or weightlifting shoes?

    I have restricted dorsi flexion (probably not spelt right) and can't squat properly unless my heels are elevated.
  • alteredsteve175
    alteredsteve175 Posts: 2,718 Member
    edited August 2018
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    Let's see if this works.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vvw8mlbz6esASLuNTPrSNJr9_EBzS_Vo/view?usp=sharing

    Did this after a HIIT workout this morning - just to get some video. Should have limbered up more. Not getting parallel on any of those squats.
  • SonyaCele
    SonyaCele Posts: 2,841 Member
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    just glanced at the video, but you will get lots more depth if you widen your stance. Lower the bar weight to a weight you can reach depth
  • alteredsteve175
    alteredsteve175 Posts: 2,718 Member
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    SonyaCele wrote: »
    just glanced at the video, but you will get lots more depth if you widen your stance. Lower the bar weight to a weight you can reach depth

    Thanks, Sonya. I will try that.
  • IILikeToMoveItMoveIt
    IILikeToMoveItMoveIt Posts: 1,172 Member
    edited August 2018
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    I have horrible mobility and this Alan Thrall video has helped. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvGr7wXQfwE
    The second link is an article on Zercher squats. They're good for long limbed people.
    https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/zercher-squat-basics