Learn to Squat Better by Practicing the Backward Movement
Traditionally, you learn to squat from top to bottom, but as we mentioned in our squat tutorial , many variables can limit your ability to squat well or deeply. For some, poor flexibility in the upper back, ankles, hips and calves is to blame, but this is also insufficient practice. These exercises will help you work on both.
Reverse Pattern is the idea of learning to move in the opposite direction. In the bottom half of squats, 99 percent of people have problems with poor technique, form, or flexibility. These reverse pattern exercises will help you get a nicer, safer bottom squat shape. Obviously, these exercises are done without a barbell, and they can also be a great way to warm up:
You’ll need to be able to touch your toes first , and for most it’s a matter of teaching yourself to flex your hips rather than flexing your (possibly tight) hamstrings. The toe-touch squat exercise teaches you not to round your back (which is likely to happen in the beginning), lower your hips, and feel comfortable in the lower squat position.
The dude in the video does a “heel lift” by placing 5 lb. plates under his heels. The lift compensates for your poor ankle and calf flexibility by helping you take a deeper squat.
Toe-touch squat with heel lift
Once you can comfortably relax in the bottom squat position, it’s time to practice standing. Concentrate on pushing off your heels and keeping your torso firm at all times. You can also try this without lifting your heel, but that means you’ll need a fairly agile and strong upper back.
Learn to squat better by practicing the backward movement. Do these exercises in multiple sets of 5-6 reps. You can check out the rest of the T-Nation article for a few other options and tips on what to do next.