T Nation

How Low Can You Squat???


I have competed in numerous federations and have realized that the “break parallel” has many different interpertations.
Last weekend at a USAPL meet they made us squat ass to grass, NO, I mean all the way down, which took about 60lbs off my squat.(still won best overall)

I watch videos on others squatting and red light almost all of them.
I now train much lighter and lower.
I realize that flexibility has a lot to do with completing the movement effectively.
Does anyone have any “secret” training for adjusting down the squat??

I don’t know what your training looks like, but you might consider revamping it completely. I squat twice a week, once fairly wide and just breaking parallel (heavy). I also go much lighter and much deeper (narrow stance oly squat) on the other day. I haven’t done anything to work on flexibility, but just working on squatting deep has made me more flexible. I’m able to go much deeper now than I could a few months ago, before I started squatting twice a week.

You’ve gotta go so low your balls touch the floor in the USAPL.

I find it’s mostly flexibily, of which I lost almost all with my several month layoff from lifting.

That and just spending time deep in the hole. Practice makes permanent.

Depth is not rocket surgery, but some judges make it out to be. The top of the thigh where it inserts at the hip has to get below the top of the knee. This is an objective way to determine depth. A “full squat” would not be, as fatter guys would not have to go as low, leverages would limit depth, etc. This is why powerlifting chose the rule it did. All that remains to be determined by the judges is whether point A gets below point B. Since the rulebook does not specify by how much, any value greater than zero is legal by nearly any powerlifting federation’s rules (including the APF, IPF, etc.).

So there should be no difference in interpretation, however some judges execute the rules differently. Sitting back and saying “he was close enough; I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt” when the dude is an inch high is poor judging. What others don’t realize is that sitting back and saying “he did not convince me enough that he got below parallel” when the lifter is an inch below is also poor judging. It is not strict judging at all - because strict judging is following the rulebook exactly and not making up your own standards. If you need a lifter to go 6 inches below parallel to let you know that he got below, then you are a horrible judge and need to be taken out of the judge’s chair (and most likely have your driver’s license revoked for your vision defect as well). This is no different than a football referee saying, “Well, since he didn’t get the football 3 yard into the endzone, I can’t guarantee that he broke the plane, so we’ll spot the ball on the 1 yard line.” That is reprehensible judging.

That being said, getting depth is a problem for some people. My suggestion is to find a stance that is comfortable and powerful that puts you convincingly deep for even a prick judge. Train with that stance most of the time. For most people this will be more of a moderate stance and not that wide. It becomes a lot easier to get depth as you bring your stance in (just don’t shoot your knees forward too much to compensate).

Thanks Brett, the fact that you did OLYMPIC lifts tells me that you have flexibility and can squat close. Thanks for the input.

[quote]Brett Tucek wrote:
I don’t know what your training looks like, but you might consider revamping it completely. I squat twice a week, once fairly wide and just breaking parallel (heavy). I also go much lighter and much deeper (narrow stance oly squat) on the other day. I haven’t done anything to work on flexibility, but just working on squatting deep has made me more flexible. I’m able to go much deeper now than I could a few months ago, before I started squatting twice a week.[/quote]

Ass to grass is not even in the usapl rulebooks. I say if they won’t even follow their own rules from their book then how is that different than an organization that is allowing their lifters to squat 3" high.

Shouldn’t you be able to study a rule book practice it that way and then when you come to a meet their is no surprises. What they did at your meet is unfair to the lifter.

It goes for all the organizations. Follow the rules in the goddamn book then everyone is judged to the same standards. Just my opinion.

[quote]moonjumper wrote:
Thanks Brett, the fact that you did OLYMPIC lifts tells me that you have flexibility and can squat close. Thanks for the input.

Brett Tucek wrote:
I don’t know what your training looks like, but you might consider revamping it completely. I squat twice a week, once fairly wide and just breaking parallel (heavy). I also go much lighter and much deeper (narrow stance oly squat) on the other day. I haven’t done anything to work on flexibility, but just working on squatting deep has made me more flexible. I’m able to go much deeper now than I could a few months ago, before I started squatting twice a week.

[/quote]

You’re welcome. Just so there isn’t any confusion, I’m not an olympic lifter - I train for strongman. When I say olympic squats, I mean that the bar is high on my back, my stance is narrow, and I go as deep as possible.

you are correct!!! except you are from LA, so you are bred strong. good points though.

[quote]Ghost22 wrote:
You’ve gotta go so low your balls touch the floor in the USAPL.

I find it’s mostly flexibily, of which I lost almost all with my several month layoff from lifting.

That and just spending time deep in the hole. Practice makes permanent.[/quote]

I’ll stick to the APF, but cheers to ATG nonetheless. I incorporate ATG in my training every once in a while. I have squatted 415 (no belt, wraps, nothing) ATG. I normally squat in the 500’s in gear.
Sometimes I think the USAPL is like the little brother that is trying to compensate for having never dated the prom queen like the APF. ATG in a competition is ludicrous.

[quote]moonjumper wrote:
I have competed in numerous federations and have realized that the “break parallel” has many different interpertations.
Last weekend at a USAPL meet they made us squat ass to grass, NO, I mean all the way down, which took about 60lbs off my squat.(still won best overall)

I watch videos on others squatting and red light almost all of them.
I now train much lighter and lower.
I realize that flexibility has a lot to do with completing the movement effectively.
Does anyone have any “secret” training for adjusting down the squat??

[/quote]

Who were your ref’s. I think this was a Robert Keller meet and he does think you need to go decisively below parallel. Nice guy but tough on depth.

APF also has a monolift, so you dont need to walk out, so you can squat with your feet wide, dont know if you could do that then recover and walk in with a wide-stance.
ATG is very humbling though.
Do you really deadlift 5000???Im suprised I have never heard about you only bendick and bolton(haha).

[quote]dead_lifter5000 wrote:
I’ll stick to the APF, but cheers to ATG nonetheless. I incorporate ATG in my training every once in a while. I have squatted 415 (no belt, wraps, nothing) ATG. I normally squat in the 500’s in gear.
Sometimes I think the USAPL is like the little brother that is trying to compensate for having never dated the prom queen like the APF. ATG in a competition is ludicrous.[/quote]

[quote]rniel wrote:
Ass to grass is not even in the usapl rulebooks. I say if they won’t even follow their own rules from their book then how is that different than an organization that is allowing their lifters to squat 3" high.

[/quote]

Yeah, that’s more what I meant.

It’s just that a lot of judges in the USAPL get on their high horse about depth.

Been doing a LOT of low low box work on DE day of late really helping my flexibility. a 12" box which for me is VERY damn low take about 4-5 sets beforeI can even sit on it right but in just the few weeks its getting better and helping with starting strength.

You just made me crack the fuck up. I dont like to drop names, but YES you are dead on accurate. I know Rob very well and he is a total purest which I totally respect. I will be in TX soon as a observer for the collegiate national helping a good buddy crush the competition.

[quote]firebug9 wrote:
moonjumper wrote:
I have competed in numerous federations and have realized that the “break parallel” has many different interpertations.
Last weekend at a USAPL meet they made us squat ass to grass, NO, I mean all the way down, which took about 60lbs off my squat.(still won best overall)

I watch videos on others squatting and red light almost all of them.
I now train much lighter and lower.
I realize that flexibility has a lot to do with completing the movement effectively.
Does anyone have any “secret” training for adjusting down the squat??

Who were your ref’s. I think this was a Robert Keller meet and he does think you need to go decisively below parallel. Nice guy but tough on depth.[/quote]

Good call, that is what has helped me the most, crazy as it seems but weight assisted movements allow greater ROM which in turn should increase weightload through shorter ROM. Just like you it takes me few set before i start “falling” on to the box.

[quote]Phill wrote:
Been doing a LOT of low low box work on DE day of late really helping my flexibility. a 12" box which for me is VERY damn low take about 4-5 sets beforeI can even sit on it right but in just the few weeks its getting better and helping with starting strength.[/quote]

[quote]moonjumper wrote:
APF also has a monolift, so you dont need to walk out, so you can squat with your feet wide, dont know if you could do that then recover and walk in with a wide-stance.

[/quote]

When I squat in the APF, I squat narrower than the person pictured in your first post. That is plenty wide, even for a monolift.

It doesn’t matter if you could recover and walk the squat back in, because the spotters are allowed to carry you back to the rack in the USAPL. I never understood the hard-on for the “walk-out being part of the squat”, but you can have 5 guys drag you back to the squat rack. WTF? Anyway.

I just think it’s a dumb rule to allow help racking the bar if you’re going to allow no help in unracking it.

Oh big time when squating with no box etc it seems I have to get to 3 plates before things get tight feel right and am able to nail the right depth and feel good about it. The right form etc.

[quote]moonjumper wrote:
Good call, that is what has helped me the most, crazy as it seems but weight assisted movements allow greater ROM which in turn should increase weightload through shorter ROM. Just like you it takes me few set before i start “falling” on to the box.

Phill wrote:
Been doing a LOT of low low box work on DE day of late really helping my flexibility. a 12" box which for me is VERY damn low take about 4-5 sets beforeI can even sit on it right but in just the few weeks its getting better and helping with starting strength.

[/quote]

I squat the same stance in meets as I do in the gym and I don’t walk out in the comps. I could, but would rather save my energy. I don’t deadlift 5000, but I do have a Tx record and will have a national one by the time I leave the 242s, God willing. Good luck with your lifting.

[quote]RickJames wrote:

It doesn’t matter if you could recover and walk the squat back in, because the spotters are allowed to carry you back to the rack in the USAPL. I never understood the hard-on for the “walk-out being part of the squat”, but you can have 5 guys drag you back to the squat rack. WTF? Anyway.

I just think it’s a dumb rule to allow help racking the bar if you’re going to allow no help in unracking it. [/quote]

Great point!

You make sense, good luck with training.

[quote]dead_lifter5000 wrote:
I squat the same stance in meets as I do in the gym and I don’t walk out in the comps. I could, but would rather save my energy. I don’t deadlift 5000, but I do have a Tx record and will have a national one by the time I leave the 242s, God willing. Good luck with your lifting.[/quote]