i've been lifting since i was 15 years old when i started doing basic lifts for football and i know my may around the gym pretty well. one problem i've always ignored has been the fact that i have super tight hip flexors and limited mobility in my shoulders. lately i've been doing stretch exercises to loosen up my hip flexors and they have been working well but i was wondering what exercises you guys have done to get to the point of ass-in-the-bucket squats?
as far as shoulder mobility/flexibility goes, i haven't really started working on that yet but it's something i want to start on asap.
i've already taken a gray cook functional movement screen a couple months back and it let me know what i already knew: i have fantastic strength and very good stability but my friggin flexibility sucks- particularly in my shoulders and hips. any tips would be greatly appreciated.
You might consider taking a yoga class or two with a good instructor. The movements are nice, but the real reason is that yoga teachers are good at helping people develop flexibility.
There is a certain way you work with your muscles and listen to them that is best taught in person. Summed up on the web all I can say is lean in, hold it gently, wait until it doesn't pull and then add just a little until to the movement until the pull happens again. Come out of it and repeat. Do it often and you will probably increase ROM. But you want to do this on something that isn't too weight bearing, the goal is to ease, not to force.
I use a PVC pipe wrapped in athletic tape as a foam roller- it's pretty intense! I've been reading "Enter the Kettlebell;" the book recommends kettlebell halos and getups for the shoulders, and there was a hip stretch that looked a lot like upward & downward-facing dog poses from yoga.
Less weight, feet closer (about shoulder width apart), pretend there is a belt loosely around your knees and you have to push them apart to keep it from falling...(I actually did put a belt there and kept it up when learning to squat deep). And practice, practice, practice. I love doing Starr's 5x5... which equates to 75 squats each week...some heavier, some lighter, some with a medium weight...and frequency allows getting better at the lift. I once did quarter squats, then parallel (rough on the knees)...now if my hamstrings don't touch my calves, I don't count it as a squat.
Yoga. I'm chronically tight and stiff in my hips, inner thigh adductors, and shoulders and I have very tight wiry muscles generally. Yoga helps so much. I can't believe how much more flexible I am - much more so than any time in my life (even as a kid I couldn't do things like sit cross-legged without pain). I've been doing it for about 4 years but only lifting for the past year or so. Every time I lift it tightens me up noticeably. I have to work very hard to stay flexible but the plus side is I can do many more things with good range of motion in my body, and I have less pain from muscle tension than I ever have.