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  • Writer's pictureKeep It Moving PT & Wellness

Week 8: Deep Squat Isotonic Holds with Hip Shift and Heels Elevated

Purpose: To use the power of the Adductor muscles and Hip Internal Rotators to open up the hip joints and pelvic outlet to allow for increased depth of squatting range of motion

What It Targets: Stretching through activation of the Adductors: Adductor Longus, Adductor Brevis, Adductor Magnus, Gracilis. Hip Internal Rotators: Gluteus Medius (Anterior fibers), Gluteus Minimis, Piriformis (when flexed past 90 degrees), Tensor Fascia Latae


  1. Grab a weight (preferably a Kettlebell) and hold it with both hands at chest level close to your body

  2. Press your elbows forward to create a slight stretch in your mid back/between your shoulder blades. Do not slouch or lose height in your spine when you do this

  3. Elevate your heels on a foam pad, towel or heel ramp with feet directly underneath hips and knees

  4. Squat down as low as your hips will allow comfortably, and without your tailbone tucking underneath and forward (“butt wink”), while keeping your gaze straight ahead

  5. Press your elbows into your knees and match that resistance by pressing your knees back into your elbows, building tension in your groin without moving

  6. Slowly shift your hips to left so that your right knee is slightly in front of your left knee. Pause at end range maintaining tension the entire time

  7. Shift back towards neutral and then to the right so that your left knee is slightly in front of your right knee. Pause at end range maintaining tension the entire time

  8. Repeat as prescribed, 5-10 repetitions on each side

Main Cues:

  • Squat down as low as possible without any pain or pinching, or without your tailbone tucking underneath and forward (“butt wink”)

  • Slowly layer on the level of the resistance to without moving your knees

  • Rotate slowly as far as you can without feet losing contact with ground

  • Stretch should be felt in the groin area without pain

Common Compensations/Adverse Effects:

  • Pinching in the groin/hip

Correction: Decrease degree of squat depth; Increase height of heel platform; Don’t press into your elbows/knees as hard

  • A portion of your foot is coming off of the floor while you hip shift

Correction: Don’t shift as far; Think about driving your heels and arches into the ground

  • You are experiencing “butt winking” - when your tailbone tucks underneath and forward

Correction: Don’t squat down as low; elevate your heels higher to remove any influence from ankle range of motion limitations

Why We Love It:

  • Uses the power of the Adductor and Hip Internal Rotation muscles to abduct the pelvic outlet/innominates, allowing more room for the femur to flex, and thus, squat deeper and more smoothly

  • Elevating the heels removes any limitation from ankle dorsiflexion from the equation and allows the focus to be primarily on hip and lumbopelvic mechanics

  • Quickly and effectively increases squat depth, with more likelihood that the effects will stick since it is ACTIVE instead of PASSIVE

*Disclaimer: Not all exercises are suitable for everyone, and participation in novel activities may increase the risk of adverse effects such as pain, soreness, or injury. Please consult with your Physician or a local Physical Therapist prior to attempting any exercise you feel uncomfortable performing. If adverse reactions occur, discontinue performance of the exercise and consult your physician or trusted clinician for evaluation.


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