Improving your mobility can often be the answer you need if you struggle with your squat depth or with pain during squats. This article will cover the best exercises to improve hip mobility for squats.
The first step in any mobility routine is to identify the areas you need to focus your mobility work. For that, access our free ULTIMATE MOBILITY CHECKLIST.
Best Exercises to Improve Hip Mobility for Squats
90/90 Hip PAILs
9090 Hip External Rotation PAILs and RAILs may be the best stretch to open your hips up. This stretch will not only improve your hip external rotation, but for many athletes it will increase their hip flexion range of motion, allowing for improved squat depth.
90/90 rotations might be my second favorite hip mobility exercise to improve squat depth. Try to keep your knees as far apart from each other as you can as you rotate to each side.
Band Hip IR MWM
This mobilization with movement can create some really rapid changes in your hip internal rotation. Very commonly, athletes lacking hip internal rotation will see great improvements in squat depth and comfort by increasing internal rotation of the hip joint.
Band Posterior Capsule w/ Inferior Mob
Many athletes that are trying to increase their hip mobility focus on the pigeon stretch. While it is a good stretch, I often find that this posterior capsule mobilization does a better job of tying the hip joint up for a deeper stretch of the hip muscles. Give this one a shot if you like the pigeon stretch but feel like it isn’t intense enough to fix your poor hip mobility.
Hip IR PAILs and RAILs
Hip Internal Rotation PAILs and RAILs work crazy well at unlocking the internal rotation of the hip. This video shows an abbreviated version with shorter stretch and contraction cycles
Russian Baby Makers
I love this exercise to work on an athlete opening their hips up and driving their knees out as they squat. Ensure your knees go outside your arms to help improve your squat mobility.
Squat Hip Pry
Like the Russian Baby Makers, this exercise works on our ability to drive our knees out as we squat. I love this exercise after doing any of the earlier stretches to help translate that unlocked mobility to better squat depth.
Finally, we can’t forget that the adductors are an important component of hip mobility for barbell squats. Here’s my favorite movement for when individuals need adductor mobility to squat deeper.
Are the Hip Flexors an Important Component of Hip Mobility for Squats?
You might have noticed that I did not include any hip flexor stretches. That is because as we squat, the hips flex which shortens the hip flexors. Meaning their mobility won’t limit your squat position. Hip joint mobility and ankle mobility play far greater roles in the squat than the psoas does.
Tightness on the front of your hip does not mean the hip flexors should be addressed. Read this article on hip impingement for more.