Getting proper depth in your squats is something which truly makes or breaks a good squat, and it effects the quality and transfer of benefits that a squat offers.
Achieving a deep squat is often easier said than done for most. The weakest point of a squat will likely be that point where you “bottom out” and are ass-to-grass (while avoiding that butt-wink or rounded bottom end of your spine). A controlled descent followed by a powerful ascent, after reaching that deep bottom position, is a sign of someone who has a strong squat.
A common fault among many athletes is not only not breaking parallel (i.e. where your hip crease passes your knees), but also not going as deep as they can before coming back up. A great feature we covered was about pause back squats, which in effect forces you to reach that deep squat position and to lose any elasticity, forcing you not to rely on any bounciness or rebound to help get out the hole.
The most common problems with getting deep squats comes from various mobility issues. These can include ankle, hip and thoracic mobility, and a lack of stability in your core. In all these instances, they can weaken your squat and limit you from achieving that essential deep squat.
The key to unlocking your squat potential therefore is to start dominating those deep squats and to attack any problems areas you might have with mobility or other contributing factors limiting your squat.
Try out these mobility exercises before squatting to help you get there!
Mobilise your ankles with wall ankle mobilisation. “Floss” by holding the stretch for five seconds, releasing, holding for ten seconds, release again and repeat for a two to three minutes on each ankle.
Mobilise your hips through any of the following techniques, remembering to work on both flexion and extension, to open up your hips properly.
Mobilise your thoracic through any of the following techniques, also using a foam roller to achieve the intended results.
Engage your core! To ensure you maintain a tight core and therefor mid-line stability, take a deep breath before your squat, pull in your rib cage by tightening your mid-line and stomach, and then squat, only releasing that breath once you’re back up to standing. The tension and stability you create will not just tighten your mid-line in the front, but will also maintain the integrity of your thoracic, back and upright position of your chest.
It’s also a good idea to read this article which gives you 10 essential tips to get your overall squat positioning right for stronger squats.
In conclusion, work on the tips mentioned in this article and soon enough you’ll start seeing a huge improvement in your squat depth and therefore squat strength and performance.