Daily Groundwork for a Stronger Squat
Mobility is like going to the dentist. No one likes it, but dental health is essential for your wellbeing, as is making sure your hips, shoulders, or ankles have the appropriate range of motion for safe movement. The easiest way for a coach to elicit groans of protest is to direct a class to grab an ab mat and find a place on the wall for the couch stretch.
I am no mobility expert. In fact, at my CrossFit L1 certification years ago, I was the victim called out in front of the group for having an immature squat. I was warned that my poor position would take years to fix. They were right.
I’ve spent the past five years chasing a perfect squat. I have worked through every hip and ankle drill in the Supple Leopard. I’ve banded up, flossed, and smashed. Progress has been frustratingly slow at times, admittedly because I hate banded distractions, flossing, and smashing.
I know what you’re thinking. If I’m not doing what the experts tell me to do, then I can’t complain about my sub-par position. Well, yes and no. All of these mobility techniques work to free up restrictions, and I’ll suffer through them because smarter people than me say I should. But lately I’ve started to wonder, do I have to suffer to feel successful? There has to be a better way to reclaim and own the space in my body by doing something that makes me feel good.
The impetus for this shift came from integrating MovNat groundwork drills into my daily routine. Notice that I didn’t say daily “training.” With twin toddlers and multiple jobs, formal training isn’t a priority in my life right now, but feeling healthy is. Every day I’ll spend five minutes exploring different lower-body positions and joint configurations in my living room before my family wakes up, and I’ll do the same a few more times during the day.
These movement snacks make me feel like I’m taking care of myself, not like I’m trying to fix a part of my structure that’s wrong. And nothing has done more to improve my squat position.
If you enjoy banded distractions, flossing, and smashing, get after it. But if you don’t, that’s cool, too. Groundwork doesn’t have to replace your current routine, but it is a worthwhile addition to get more movement into your life. You might even notice that after a few weeks, your traditional mobility work is more effective.
Once I stopped trying to force myself into a position from a book, I found my perfect squat.