T Nation

Squat Depth, How Deep?

I’m interested in hearing people’s thoughts regarding how deep one should go when squatting. Differing opinions make it hard to know whether it’s safest and most effective to squat to parallel or down to the ground.
Thanks for the feedback.

i like down to the ground… parallel leaves more room for rep ambiguity IMO

if ur worried about losing strength in the the top ur squat try bands or chains

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

If you’re doing close stance work like typical Olympic squats there’s no reason why you can’t be going all the way down, but if you’re using a wide stance I can understand some people may have flexibility issues. (even so with the close stance work, but placing small plates/blocks under the heals can help with this, and also getting used to be in the hole position - there have been numerous articles on here that offer assistance to better squatting.)

Again horses for courses, depending what muscles(groups/chains) you want to target/put the emphasis on and whether you’re training for outright strength or maximal growth.

If it’s maximal growth for the quads then close stance ass to grass(i.e. greatest ROM) is your best friend. Don’t forget the hammies though so also lots of SLDL’s and wide stance/sumo squats/deadlifts. Don’t get stuck in thinking that you are only allowed to do one variation of the squat - there are heaps, by changing the width of stance, loading parameters, rest intervals, frequency, and where you hold the bar whether it be behind or in front or overhead :wink:

If training for outright strength then head over to youtube and check out Dave Tate’s video journals, and also have a read of the numerous articles on EliteFTS in regards to westside training.

I love squats gleemy eyes (lol)

below parallel

Low enough that you touch your calves however not crushing them. Anything above parallel is wasted, there are situations that call for partial squats however the norm is stated above IMO.

Search YouTube for “Squat Rx”. Rx as in doctor. The guy is thorough in explaining everything.

I heard your knee is at it’s most unstable at 90 degrees(just above parallel). You don’t want to reverse direction there. So I think anything when your thighs are parallel to the ground or below is good.

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:
Search YouTube for “Squat Rx”. Rx as in doctor. The guy is thorough in explaining everything.[/quote]

Agreed. Those are good videos.



Lots of good feedback thus far, so why beat a dead horse? Because half-squat=half-ass! Always, go for complete ROM with good bone/joint alignment (proper form). Remember, the overall purpose is to improve upon what we were given at birth and take a look at a fetus in the womb; what position are the legs in?

Thanks to all for the feedback.
My concern regarding squat depth has to do with its impact on the spine. When squatting down to the floor, isn’t it harder to keep a neutral spine? Since you want to avoid spinal flexion at all costs when you squat, wouldn’t it be safer to squat to parallel (or just below) and spare the spine, rather that go all the say down and risk injury?
Thanks again for the feedback.

When I first started doing squats, I did back squats to parallel, and was very satisfied with myself. One day, I did front squats with a lot less weight, and I just naturally went all the way down. I was amazed with how much better this was (I was sore all over my lower body the next few days). I dropped the weight and started doing full back squats too, and never regretted it.

It is much easier to keep your back straight doing front squats, and I think I would recommend them over back squats, especially for beginners. Believe it or not, I think squatting to parallel will cause most bingers to loose form because they are able to handle more weight, which often causes your form suffering. When you do deep squats, you have to use a manageable weight, and this leads to better form in my experience.

Squatting to parallel really only works the quads effectivly, but you will feel full squats in you gluts, hams, and hip adductors at the top of the leg. Full squats are also the best way to develop the Vastus Medialis (the large tear shaped muscle on the inside side of the knee).