T Nation

Help with Hitting Depth


Recently I've been struggling to hit depth. If it was just on the heavy sets, I'd simply back off and go lighter. However, it is on all of my sets, even down to the simple air squat.

I have been gaining weight, up to around 315 to 320 now, and it's not all good weight for sure (not bad weight either, a mix of both).

I've been able to hit depth before, and I thought I had decent mobility, but now I'm wondering otherwise.

Look at this vid of my squat session done today. I cant' even get depth on my 225 warm up sets. I really don't see any reps at all tha thit depth. And, for example, on my warm up sets, I was going down as far as I could physically go / belt / body allowed.

I don't think my belt is stopping me, but maybe with the extra belly, it is limiting my depth, I don't know.

I'm open to doing / trying anything. And, maybe I'm hitting depth, if so, sweet, but I doubt it. If I need to lose weight, then I will. If I need to change form, then I will. Any and all help is appreciated. Side note, this was 525, it felt super light, I contemplated about trying a PR of 575, but opted not to due to 525 looked so high.


Def high after your 365 sets. I think for one your wraps might be throwing you off. You seem to be just at until you add them and then shit starts to mess up. Try bringing your feet in just a smidge and really sit on those wraps. Other than that lots of mobility your a big man so your going to need big man mobility lots of hip flexor works and ankles, hams, and even lower back.


Start adding in some goblet squats on various days of the week. Focus on depth and hip mobility with those, should notice a difference that way.


Goblet squats are a good idea to stretch my body for mobility, i'll definitely do those as part of mobility work.

I'll do a general google search for some mobility exercises. I do have plantar fascilitis that could even be a further aspect to limiting mobility in my right foot, fairly new, about 2-3 months old. I need to do mobility exercises to fix that anyway, two birds one stone.

And, one thing to note today, I had a crazy lower back pump going on, I think it stemmed from my sumo deadlift session on Tuesday where I was working on form, still a little sore. That could also be a cause for some of the issues for today, but doesn't really work as a solution to my depth problem as a whole, just one factor in it maybe. I'll probably switch my squats back to Monday to get more rest instead of Thursday.

From what I'm gathering, I just need to do some work to get lower. I found today that it wasn't necessary the weight causing me to not get to depth, it was my body in general, as proven by me missing depth on the lighter weights. 525 was pretty damn high though, that was just a bad squat.


I'm a big boy too, currently sitting at 289 lbs, 6'00". Here's my theory...

I used to be a much bigger boy when I first tried to squat, and struggled with depth even more than you are here. I can now hit depth no problem on my heavy sets (385x5 - 405x3). Two things have changed since I first attempted a squat.

1) Gut reduction (I was about 310-ish and pathetically weak when I started barbell work).

2) I've just been squatting longer and working on getting better at it. This has almost certainly helped my mobility.

So why can I hit depth now? I'm not sure, but I think it is some combination of those two factors.

Another thing that may have factored in for me was front squats. I did those every week for about 9 months. I was able to hit depth on those from day 1, and I think they really helped my mobility after 13 years of life as a fat bastard moving from one chair to another. I think your idea of goblet squats might do the same for you.

Again, just a theory.

Best of luck to you!

Edit: I also squat beltless (for now). I have no idea what, if anything, a belt will do to my depth.


For mobility, try Agile 8. I had a pinched nerve that was a nightmare for almost 5 months. I now do it twice a day and the pain is gone and my mobility is much better.

Just an idea, but have you tried lifting in a heeled shoe. I'm not one of those guys that thinks Olympic shoes will cure cancer, but they may help you find depth just a bit easier. Again, just a thought. Good luck


As the weight goes up the tension perceived is greater at shallower squats and you may think you are at depth. Try placing a box slightly below parallel. When your butt touches, you are at depth. Learn how this feels at various weights. I'm not saying do a box squat ok, I'm saying use a box/ bucket / whatever as a depth checker, to keep things honest.
Ditch the higher weights for now. Get your form down and stop wasting energy. Work on arching the bar out, taking as few of steps as possible then break at the hips and squat. You kind of go down first then back a bit. It's obvious you are working HARD, we have to get you working SMART. THEN will your lifts start taking off.


I'm way weaker than the TS but had a similar issue. I think it was partly caused by an injury to a hip flexor, but what has helped me is squatting to a box (I'm not talking a proper BOX SQUAT here, just squatting TO a box).
Primarily it makes you honest about where the correct depth is, but also it gives you a second or so down there to feel where the problem might be stemming from.

The moment between where I would stop if not using the box, everything feels tight and instinct is to go up so as to not fail. However because I was going through that point by a couple of inches and not failing (as was touching the box), I was able to feel that I wasn't able to properly open my hips any further and that my knees were pulling inwards.
I adjusted my stance slightly in a way I thought could resolve this and voila, it worked out ok.
I guess I could have just gone in for a load of experimentation but I find it much better to get this real time feedback.


I have a healed shoe I switched from to my flat ones. I moved because I kept feeling as if I were falling forward, but that was when I high bar squatted, it makes sense to give them a try now and see what happens.

I'll check out the Agile 8, I've heard of that before.

Front squats are good too, I always hit depth on those, I can go atg on those for whatever reason.

Placing a bucket or something to touch is ideal, I've thougth of that before, but for whatever reason haven't done it. I think it is because you can hit the same depth with your butt, but still not hit depth. Aka, if you move your knees forward to hit the bucket, you aren't at depth. But, if your knees are straight and you touch, then you are at depth. However, I feel my form is pretty good, and it is the same every time now, so placing a device to touch may be a good idea now.


I think you can hit depth on front squats because you are more upright. My suggestion is to really push your knees out and keep your chest up ("proud chest") just a little better. You don't look awful in either of those regards, but you're not missing depth by a mile either. I think relatively small changes with "proud chest" and "knees out!" may make the difference for you.


Proud chest is one I forget about. I try to remember the knees out, not for depth, but because I can push more weight when I do so. Chest out will definitely help, thanks!


So do it properly and learn the movement. That idea is a tool. Use it wisely and you will succeed, or you can let some ego in there and no progress. How bad do you want this?

Your form needs some work man based off what I saw in that video. Since I'm some random internet guy, I'd recommend you submit that video or another, to the folks at EliteFTS for review.I did this once and they helped me fix my stuff. I still have things to fix, we all do. But knowing what to fix is critical. It's a case of "you don't know, what you don't know".

Watch the efs "so you think you can squat" video series. LOTs of great squatting tips and I'm sure you can use some of the info there to help yourself.


How is depth on these? If I'm hitting depth just about right, then i'll continue to use that blue tote. If I'm high, i'll go lower. I'm I'm really low, then I'll go higher :slightly_smiling:


Still looking a good bit high on the earlier sets, the blue tote is close maybe right there, but another inch or two wouldn't hurt depending on your fed. Looking at your first video, I would try keeping your feet a bit straighter and concentrate on screwing your feet into the ground to get your knees a bit wider. Sounds weird, but often if you decrease the angle your toes point out the more you can push your knees out, giving your hams/glutes a better ability to drop into the hole and avoid the gut a bit more.


Pick the right fed and those squats will pass.....especially if you are going for a record or something.


Pretty high. I think you may have to just bite the bullet and bring your stance in until you can get deep enough.


I'll jump in here. OP, pause your videos at the lowest point in the hole. Is your leg at the crease of the hip lower than the leg at the knee? To paraphrase Tim Henriques "If you were to place a marble on the top of your leg in the hole, would it roll off to the front, or would it roll to your body?"


[quote]dzirkelb wrote:

How is depth on these? If I’m hitting depth just about right, then i’ll continue to use that blue tote. If I’m high, i’ll go lower. I’m I’m really low, then I’ll go higher :)[/quote]

after 315 you look pretty good too me man


I had the same problem, I switched to Olympic shoes and narrowed my stance like other people on here have said. It helped alot and now I actually squat below parallel.


I had my first meet last weekend, first squat (505), high. Brought in my feet slightly, 2nd squat (505), good. However, I was off center by like 4 inches! I unracked the bar and I thougth they messed up the weights cause the left side felt so much hevier, but I got it up with ease. Third squat, 529, good and good depth.

What I was slipping back into the habit of when I started my drive, my knees caved in instead of out, causing my hips to rise up, instead of sink down, and causing me to miss that last inch or two of depth.

1333 on my first meet after training for about a year, I’m very happy with my results, and set a PR on dead at 485, and I switched to sumo like 2 weeks prior, and it felt natural on meet day, so going to run with it and I expect to see the dead numbers rise fast.