If you find yourself doing multiple mobility drills prior to variations of the squat, this post is for you! Using mobility bands and performing passive stretches have their place, but people tend to overlook the power of eccentrics. An eccentric muscle action is when a muscle is contracting, but the muscle fibers are lengthening rather than shortening (that would be concentric). More often than not, people do not actually have 'shortened' muscles that need to be lengthened. It is likely the nervous system that is limiting the movement, just like a car governor regulates the speed of it's engine. For any variation of the squat, hip and ankle mobility likely will improve when certain muscles are activated eccentrically to facilitate muscle lengthening.
Loaded eccentric movements demonstrated here are a must to include prior to your squat. Grab a kettlebell or dumbbell and perform both movements for a few minutes total on each side. The movement demonstrated on the left is a multidirectional lunge that is initiated by the knee traveling over the toes on the front foot. That’s right, knees over toes targets the ankle moving through it's full range! This movement targets eccentric work of the calfs, especially the soleus.
*NOTE* I am moving a bit too fast than we would recommend, but I wanted to make sure I got in a ton of variations in direction for everyone to see. Slower and more controlled would be better.
The movement demonstrated on the right is a way to target eccentric control of the adductors on the leg sliding out. If you don't have hardwood floor and only have rug available to you, you could try using a slider or a paper plate. You should feel this the most in your groin area on the leg that is sliding out. Be sure to push your hips back to facilitate hip flexion, similar to a squatting motion.