Clearly based on the title of this post I'm not a huge fan of athletes stretching their hips to improve their squat (think lunge stretch or couch stretch) does that mean it doesn’t work? Absolutely not, I am sure it’s helped a number of people achieve a better squat. Do I think this is where athletes should be starting in their quest for a better squat? Nope.
Poor hip mobility is without a doubt a cause for not being able to achieve a biomechanically sound squat. Where do we start then? I always start by addressing athletes hip INTERNAL rotation.
WHY INTERNAL ROTATION?
External rotation and flexion of the hip are easy and hip internal rotation is a better predictor of overall hip health.
It is common for an athlete’s knees to cave in when they squat. An immediate fix is to cue hip external rotation, which is the correct thing to do. But why are the hips collapsing into internal rotation? The answer is likely that they already lack motion in that direction.
Hip internal rotation should be viewed the same as spinal flexion. You need a good amount of spinal flexion (touch your toes) to correctly perform a deadlift, but you don’t want to actually flex your spine when deadlifting.
Lack of internal rotation can be a main cause for the common hip pinching in the front of the hip when squatting
HOW DO I TEST MY INTERNAL ROTATION?
With the test you should be able to easily have your knees touch the floor while keeping your torso facing forward, as well as barely letting your hips lift up. If you are limited in internal rotation give the second stretch in the video up top a try.
If you’re experiencing hip pinching with this test, stretch or when squatting, I encourage you to get your hips looked at by a professional to make sure there isn’t anything intrinsically wrong. Unfortunately lacrosse balls/bands + YouTube aren’t the new doctor!