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Is Squat a Flexibility Exercise? (Important Things to Know)

    Squats are the central part of every lower-body workout program. Also, they’re part of our daily activities, like when you’re squatting down to pick something off the ground or standing up or sitting on a chair. But is squat a flexibility exercise? 

    Squatting isn’t an exclusive flexibility exercise, but it will make you more flexible as the exercise involves bending and stretching lower-body muscles, including your calves, hips, and ankles. The deep squat is the type of squat that stretches these muscles the most.

    Is Squat a Flexibility Exercise

    Read on as we explore how squats improve flexibility and the benefits of deep squats.

    We also introduce eight deep squat variations and some precautions to avoid injuries when doing a squat. 

    See the table below if you are in a hurry to see our top products to help with your squats and flexibility exercises.

     

    What Counts as a Flexibility Exercise? 🤔

    Flexibility exercises are those movements designed to improve the range of motion in joints and elasticity in muscles. They’re also called stretching or range of motion exercises.

    What Counts as a Flexibility Exercise

    Flexibility exercises involve extending body parts pushing their limits a little at a time until the joints can move more freely. 

    When you’re flexible, you can move your joints in different directions and the longest distances possible without hurting yourself or feeling any pain or discomfort.

    Yoga, pilates, and normal stretches are one of the best ways to improve flexibility.   

    When starting, you’ll need the right mat to ensure you have a good grip and yoga straps to help you get deeper into stretches.

    Here are our top three recommended yoga mats.

    Preview
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    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat – Premium 6mm Thick Mat, High Performance Grip, Support and Stability in Yoga, Pilates, Gym, Fitness, Extra Long, 85 Inches, Black Color
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    UMINEUX Yoga Mat Extra Thick 1/3'' Non Slip Yoga Mats for Women with Alignment Marks Eco Friendly TPE Fitness Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap & Storage Bag
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    UMINEUX Yoga Mat Extra Thick
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    Preview
    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat – Premium 6mm Thick Mat, High Performance Grip, Support and Stability in Yoga, Pilates, Gym, Fitness, Extra Long, 85 Inches, Black Color
    Product Name
    Manduka PRO Yoga Mat
    Thickness
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    Dimensions
    85 x 26 x 0.24 inches
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    Preview
    IUGA Pro Non Slip Yoga Mat, Unbeatable Non Slip Performance, Eco Friendly and SGS Certified Material for Hot Yoga, Odorless Lightweight and Extra Large Size, Free Carry Strap
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    UMINEUX Yoga Mat Extra Thick 1/3'' Non Slip Yoga Mats for Women with Alignment Marks Eco Friendly TPE Fitness Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap & Storage Bag
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    Do Squats Increase Your Flexibility? 🤸‍♂️

    Do Squats Increase Your Flexibility

    Squats don’t fall strictly under the definition of flexibility exercises because they also improve your strength and resistance. However, it doesn’t mean that they don’t make you more flexible. 

    Squats can improve your flexibility. When you’re new to squats, you have a limited range of motion, but as you challenge yourself to squat deeper, you’ll improve your mobility which is the combination of flexibility and strength.

    If you have a greater range of motion, you can build more flexibility.

    Here are some stretches that can help you squat deeper and get more flexibility when doing squats:

     

    Couch Stretch

    Stand up and bend your left knee behind you.

    Then put your shin on the back cushion of a couch and point your toes upward.

    Your left thigh should align with your body. Bring your right foot in front and keep your knee in line with your ankle.

    Keep your spine straight and engage your core and glutes.

    Stay in the position for 15 seconds. Then switch sides. 

     

    Frog Stretch 

    Start with your hand beneath your shoulders and your knee beneath your hips.

    Inhale as you push your knees to the sides.

    Turn your feet sideways and lower down onto your forearms.

    Keep your palms flat on the ground.

    Hold there for 10 to 15 seconds to feel the stretch in your thighs. 

    Then raise back up onto your hands and bring your knees closer to each other. 

     

    Standing Calf Stretch

    Standing Calf Stretch

    Stand up straight and place your hand palms on the wall.

    Bring one leg to the front and slightly bend your knee.

    Keep your heels on the ground and your back leg straight.

    Move your chest toward the wall, bending your arms.

    Stay there for 10 to 15 seconds to feel the stretch and then switch legs

     

    Deep Squats: Achieving More Flexibility With Squats 🧎‍♀️

    Deep Squats Achieving More Flexibility With Squats

    The deep squat is a squat variation with greater knee, hips, and ankle flexion.

    As you should bring your hips below the height of your knee, at the lowest depth, it’ll have a higher impact on your flexibility.

    Deep Squats will strengthen your lower-body muscles, which will increase the range of motion in your hips, knees, and ankles.  

    Here’s how to do it:

    • Stand up with your toes facing forward and bend your knees slightly. 
    • Keep your chest lifted and upright. Shift your weight toward your back and squat down. 
    • Go down deeper while squeezing your legs and keeping the spine neutral. 
    • Go down as much as you can, hold there for a few seconds, and slowly return to the starting position.

     

    You can lean back to the wall if you feel you’re going to fall.

    This video introduces three ways to squat deeper:   

     

    Additional Benefits Of Deep Squats 🧐

    Other than enhanced flexibility and mobility, here are some benefits of full, deep squats:

    Additional Benefits Of Deep Squats

     

    Back Pain Relief

    Excessive pain in the lower back is often due to a forwardly rotated pelvis caused by hip tightness and core muscles weakness.

    In deep squats, your pelvis rotates backward, thus stretching the shortened muscles in the back and producing a traction effect that reduces pressure from the spine.

     

    Stronger Hips and Glutes

    Buttock muscles are among the largest muscles in our body and play an essential role in doing everyday tasks such as walking, running, and lifting things.

    Deep squats target your glutes when you push your hips down.

    Having a stronger buttock means more control of your trunk and leg, reducing the risk of injury.

     

    Less Knee Pain and Better Posture 

    Knee pain may be due to the ankle’s lack of mobility and flexibility.

    Modern shoes with elevated heels put the calf muscles in a shortened position; thus, the ankle may feel stiff.

    Deep squats restore the ankle’s range of motion and stretch the tight muscles in the leg. 

    Improved mobility and stronger lower-body muscles help the musculoskeletal system get natural and better alignment. 

     

    Deep Squat Variations 🤓

    Below, we’ve got some deep squat variations to incorporate into your workout routine to improve flexibility.

    Try to perform each squat slowly and with resistance. 

     

    Figure 4 Single-Leg Squat

    Figure 4 Single-Leg Squat

    Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart and arms slightly out to the sides for balance (you can also place one hand on the wall or a chair).

    Put your foot across the other, pulling your toes towards your shins to protect your knee.

    Open up your hips so that your legs make a figure 4. 

    Keep the back straight and shoulders back while pushing your hips down and squatting. 

    Stay there for a few seconds; feel the stretch in your hamstring and quads.

    Then raise to the starting position and switch sides. Do 15 reps on each side. 

     

    The Curtsy Squat

    The Curtsy Squat

    Stand hip-width apart and cross one leg behind you, push your hips down, and rotate your hips forward.

    Make sure your butt is in line with your back.

    Stay there for a few seconds, feel the stretch in your inner thigh and hamstring, then move back to the starting position.

    Do the movement 10 to 15 times, then switch sides. 

     

    The Split Squat

    Start with your front foot on the ground and your rear foot on a bench behind you.

    Keep your core tight and your back straight.

    With hands behind your head, lower into a squat, keeping your knee behind or in line with your toes as it bends.

    Press back to stand up. Do 10 to 15 reps for each side. 

    This YouTube video from Scott Herman shows you how to do the split squat correctly: 

     

    Pistol Squat

    Stand with your feet hip-width apart, shifting your weight onto your left leg and extending your right leg straight out in front.

    Slowly push your hips back and bend your left knee to squat down.

    Keep your heel grounded and get down as low as possible. 

    Pistol squatting is difficult for even the most highly-trained athlete. You can do its assisted version with a strap if you’re a beginner. 

    Set a TRX strap, hold the handles in front of you, and then perform the movement. 

    If you don’t have a strap, you should get one as they are very useful for certain exercises like this one.

    Check out our top three recommended yoga straps below.

    Preview
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    Tumaz Yoga Strap/Stretch Bands [15+ Colors, 6/8/8 Feet Options] with Extra Safe Adjustable D-Ring Buckle, Durable and Comfy Delicate Texture - Best for Daily Stretching, Physical Therapy, Fitness
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    SANKUU Yoga Strap, Multi-Loop Strap, 12 Loops Yoga Stretch Strap, Nonelastic Stretch Strap for Physical Therapy, Pilates, Dance and Gymnastics with Carry Bag(Green)
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    Preview
    Tumaz Yoga Strap/Stretch Bands [15+ Colors, 6/8/8 Feet Options] with Extra Safe Adjustable D-Ring Buckle, Durable and Comfy Delicate Texture - Best for Daily Stretching, Physical Therapy, Fitness
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    SANKUU Yoga Strap, Multi-Loop Strap, 12 Loops Yoga Stretch Strap, Nonelastic Stretch Strap for Physical Therapy, Pilates, Dance and Gymnastics with Carry Bag(Green)
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    Scotamalone Yoga Strap Stretching Strap Physical Therapy Equipment Stretch Band Rehab Multi-Loop Strap Nonelastic Exercise Strap with Exercise Book for Pilates, Dance and Gymnastics
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    Also, watch the video below. It shows you how to master pistol squat step by step:

     

    Surfing Squat

    Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

    Keep your arms straight in front of your body at shoulder level.

    Push your hips back and lower into a squat.

    Stretch your arms out and across your body to the right (as you would when balancing on a surfboard).

    Stay in your squat position, hold for seconds, then shift your hips and arms to the opposite side. Do 15 to 20 reps.

    You can place a resistance band above your kneecaps to increase intensity.

    Here are our top three recommended resistance bands. These high-quality bands will remain in place and won’t curl while performing the squat. 

    Preview
    Best Quality
    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands with Instruction Guide and Carry Bag, Set of 5
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    3.9ft Resistance Bands Set - Exercise Bands for Physical Therapy, Yoga, Pilates, Rehab and Home Workout, Non-Latex Elastic Bands Set of 3
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    Hoocan Resistance Bands Set, Long Exercise Bands for Arms, Shoulders, Legs and Butt, Workout Stretch Bands for Physical Therapy, Gym, Yoga
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    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop
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    Hoocan Resistance Bands
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    Portable travel carry bag and exercise instruction guide.
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    Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands with Instruction Guide and Carry Bag, Set of 5
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    Portable travel carry bag and exercise instruction guide.
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    3.9ft Resistance Bands Set - Exercise Bands for Physical Therapy, Yoga, Pilates, Rehab and Home Workout, Non-Latex Elastic Bands Set of 3
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    Hoocan Resistance Bands Set, Long Exercise Bands for Arms, Shoulders, Legs and Butt, Workout Stretch Bands for Physical Therapy, Gym, Yoga
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    Watch this video to know how to form the movement properly:

     

    Precautions When Doing Squats 😯

    Precautions When Doing Squats

    • Warming up before any exercise is essential to activate key muscle groups and raise your heart rate. Warm-up for five to ten minutes; it can involve light cardio activities or running. 
    • Remember to start your squat by pushing down your hips, not bending the knees. It may cause injury and put more pressure on quads instead of glutes. 
    • When squatting down, make sure your knees don’t extend over your toes.
    • Make sure your heels are on the ground during the movement. It will improve your balance and stability and make your squat more productive.
    • Your spine should be straight and aligned with your pelvis. 
    • During the movement, keep your core muscles tight to work your abdominals

     

    Bottom Line 🤗

    Squat for flexibility

    Squatting deep down helps increase flexibility and strength in your lower-body muscles, including thigh, hips, hamstrings, and calves.

    Deep squats have many health benefits and come with many different variations.

    You improve your deep squat mobility by doing a few variations, including the couch stretch, frog stretch, and standing calf stretch. 

    Last update on 2022-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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