T Nation

Squat Depth


I am writing to ask people how low they go in the squat and how they feel that affects the growth stimulation and the weight used. The reason I am asking is that I have been reading articles and posts on this sight for a year or so and am amazed by some of the lifts people claim. Currently, I am only using around 300lbs pounds for 5 sets of 5 but I go as low as possible. I weigh 240lbs at 6' and am 34 years old. My diet isn't bad but does consist of a lot of beer and cigars each week. My training is very sporadic since I have a young familly and parenting or an illness gets in the way of putting more than a 2-3 weeks of solid training together at a time. I am going to guess my legs are around 27" and have always been my strong body part. 10 years ago I remember squating 495lbs for 8 reps. They were not ass to the grass squats but still lower than I see people lifting in most gyms. What I can parallel squat currently I do not know, but I don't really care also. When people on this site are saying they are squating 300lbs for reps at a bodyweight of 150lbs I scream "BS!"
Is it because people are not going to parallel or below parallel that they can post pretty big numbers? More importantly, do people feel there is more benefit to going heavier and not too low or using less weight and going ass to the grass? Maybe I am just weak or can I honestly claim my squat is over 400lbs for reps?
Just wondering!


it depends what your objectives are.

if you're simply looking for quadricep hypertrophy, you definitely do not need to go super low. you don't even need to need to bring your hip bone in line with the top of your knee at the bottom of the motion.

but when you go low, you get much more glute, abdominal, calf, and lower back activation .

that being said, i generally always bounce out of the bottom of squats, but it isn'tm an exaggerrated bounce, and i stay tight throughout the entire movement.

also, remember that everyone online can bench double weight, squat 2.5 body weight, and deadlift triple body weight.

funny, i've been training for 7 years in tons of gyms, and i never saw so many people that strong until i came online. :slightly_smiling:


Ok. Put more simply...how low do you go and why?


I made a post about this last week, called sqautting oppinions,

I am an athlete so I do go ass to the grass, a term saying that I go much deeper than parallel, explosive flexible power.

I find to parallel its more raw power,

if you go to parallel and migrate to ATG be aware your weight max will drop because it is much harder and there is more balancing involved,

hope this helps you a bit,


I alternate wide stance to parallel and close stance ATG every few months.


The fact is that the lower you go the harder it is and the less weight you can use. Are people not going as low as they can for their egos sake or is there another reason? Also, when 150 pound toothpicks say they squat 300lbs for reps, how low are they going?


What is your reasoning? I am seriously curious.


I go all the way down, as far as I can go. Parallel is not low enough for me. My ATG squat has become so comfortabe with me that when I try a Powerlifting type squat (raw) I can't do as much.

I like ATG squats because they're good practice for catching cleans real low. In fact the last 6 months I have probably front squated to back squated in a 3:1 ratio. For every 3 front squat days I back squat once. It's mainly because I'm addicted to cleans.

As far as depth is concerned, I see lots of lifters in the gym squat above parallel. The better ones get close to parallel and maybe 1 in 10 decent weight squaters go ATG. Not like I care about them though.


I have weird knees, so I can't go ATG. I go as low as I can. I judge this by the point at which I feel my hammies engage. This is when it gets much harder to support the weight. I hang there for a second, and then reverse the movement.

Works for me!


it would be hard to say they are even beginning to lower their hips, it would be rare to find a tall 150lbs toothpick as you said that can squat 300lbs for reps, the fact is people lie about their results, and people at gyms everywhere compromise form for that extra 50lbs, but i sleep at night knowing that i may lift less but it wont be long until i pass them with perfect form while they make no gains in size or strength!


I remember a guy at my old gym who would squat 140kgs, that's 3 20kg plates a side + the bar. He was a pretty solid guy and that's a decent weight!

He went down all of 4". Then he'd just stand there in the power rack for about 5mins facing the rest of the gym like he was waiting for applause or something.

I'm sure he tells everyone he squats 140kgs but that's not how I tell the story.


"Friends don't let friends squat high".

I actually squat on a 12" box, which is well below parallel for me. I am of the belief that squatting high puts extra stress on your knees and that this is where the "squats are bad for your knees" myth comes from. When you go all the way down, the stress is transferred to your glutes, hams and hip flexors when coming out of the hole instead of your knees.

Yes, I think most people lie or perhaps they just don't know. I would say a good 90% of the people I see squat do not even get to parallel, much less break it.


I don't really understand where you are going with your post. So you used to be able to squat double your bodyweight for reps, but you doubt others who say they can.

I'm 220 pounds and I can squat double my bodyweight for reps, and that's with two previous herniated discs, and my legs aren't big compared to my upper body. Squatting weight can be increased easily in my experience.


So you have small legs and a bad back and can still squat 440lbs for reps?
How low are you going?
Squating weight can be increased easily up to a point if you are new to doing it. My experience is that the legs may be up to the task but the lower back may not be.


You kind of say it all in your post. Basically you drink and smoke more than a little and can't put together more than a few weeks of consistent lifting. Concentrate on your lifts, don't take to heart every lift that everyone posts on here.


In my experience I have to disagree with this, cause my legs have increased almost two inches over the last year from basically going with a lot lower weight and taking it ass to grass. I started with as low as 95 pounds for 10 x 10, now up to 265 for 5. The tops of my thighs have gotten a lot bigger, I would have to say if you want to gain size and strength you have to go as low as possible, parallel just does not cut it.


Good point Snipeout. Obviously Biotest doesn't have a beer and cigar supplement for a reason.


Everyone has a different build, so it requires different efforts to get the results you want. Being 6 feet tall and squatting 495 for reps is impressive. Do not let anyone tell you differently. I have short legs and a long back, so squats are definitely my most challenging lift. Going ATG on squats for me is ridiculously hard, but I do it anyways since I enjoy squatting. Some people simply cannot squat as low as is required. When an experienced lifter says he cannot complete the lift because it hurts somewhere, there needs to have some adjustments made. Remember that no one knows your body better than you do. To answer your question, I go down until the tops of my legs are parallel to the ground or lower if possible. I have an imbalance in my hips (genetic) which causes me to have to not be able to get the full ROM on some reps so those reps may not even reach parallel. Like I say, you have to listen to what your body tells you.



Thanks Chewie!
May the force be with you.


I mix it up. On max effort days, I box squat (18") PR - 335 2x2. On DE, ATG @ 225 3x10. Oh, and I weigh 217, 5'11". Sometimes I'll box squat 5x5 at 275. I've even 10x3 @315 box squat. The key is to keep 'em guessing. Nothing to brag about, but I'm proud of my strength gains since learning to squat properly last December.