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.
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.
- 1 What Counts as a Flexibility Exercise? 🤔
- 2 Do Squats Increase Your Flexibility? 🤸♂️
- 3 Deep Squats: Achieving More Flexibility With Squats 🧎♀️
- 4 Additional Benefits Of Deep Squats 🧐
- 5 Deep Squat Variations 🤓
- 6 Precautions When Doing Squats 😯
- 7 Bottom Line 🤗
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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 🧎♀️
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.
Here’s how to do it:
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:
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.
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
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
Also, watch the video below. It shows you how to master pistol squat step by step:
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.
Watch this video to know how to form the movement properly:
Precautions When Doing Squats 😯
Bottom Line 🤗
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