T Nation

Squatting.... How Low Do You Go

how low should you go when squatting?

I have always figured till your quads are parallel with the ground. is this right or no?

“Correctly is deep, with hips dropping below level with the top of patella. Correctly is full range of motion”

Ripptoe
starting strength p.17

the limit on depth is usually due to limited flexibility in the hamstrings. i thought i was pretty damn flexible, but it took me some extra exercises to learn how to not tuck the tail in, or, as they say, round the (lower) back.

front squats with dumbells worked for me. i think others have suggested wall squats as being helpful?

if you have a qualified trainer in your gym (something that is probably hard to find) i would recommend having he or she check you out for depth. it is safer for the knee and gives great hip development for all sports.

I just look in the mirror and practice form and when I see my tailbone about to tuck that is the depth I avoid passing. I mean you don’t want to have have 200+ lbs and squat to a depth where your lowerback is at its weakest. It takes a toll especially with heavier weights.

I think right at a true parallel (crease in hip at knee level) or slightly below not quit ATG is perfect for me, but that’s cause of my bodytype (long torso, long legs).

Just cause someone says you have to go ATG doesn’t mean it will work for you. Plenty of people build huge legs hitting true paralell or slight below. Just my 2 cents.

I go to just about parallel, a little deeper, I really just watch myself in the mirror like carlito said. I mean, I can’t tell you shit about benching, but for a long legged 6’2" guy, I’m pretty proud of my 27" legs. Depends on what you’re doing the squats for though I guess.

I’ve always heard lower is better, assuming you have the mobility to do so without rounding your lower back.

[quote]Breakzilla wrote:
I’ve always heard lower is better, assuming you have the mobility to do so without rounding your lower back.[/quote]

That is true. The big thing is having that mobility. It’s something you have to work to get with many people. Some people have it, some people need to work to get it. The only instance where lower does not equal better assuming you DO have the mobility is when you’re a) squatting wide stance, as this can put undue stress on the hips when they’re out extremely wide and b) when your only concern is the maximum amount of weight you can move by being just under parallel (eg–competitive powerlifter). Not going low is a rationalization for most people.

After you’ve mastered the squat with perfect form, you shouldn’t need to monitor every rep. You should just know when you’re hittin it.

But, like everyone has said, hips below your knees and be sure to push off your heals.

One way to practice perfect form is to stand with your toes touching the wall and doing a squat. If you can go down and up without falling backwards, you’re good to go. If you can’t do it on your first try (many can’t) back up a little and gradually work your way in.

below parallel with ass touching calves

Usually 1-2 inches below parallel. Then I start going parallel around 85% of my max.

As a powerlifter in highschool, proper form was crucial to us.

I never really thought much about this though until yesterday when me and a caching friend of mine got into a conversation about it. Honestly, I hear so many different opinions on this i told him that in my opinion, there is a specific point in the range of motion that allows for a clean, proper transfer from the down motion to the upward motion…expereince is the only real way to find it.

-G

usually 3-4 inches below parallel

i do go atg from time to time as well though

i go atg but i dont see a problem with any range that is parallel or lower

i’m pretty sure that parallel is femur parallel to the ground (not hamstring), someone correct me if this is wrong

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
Breakzilla wrote:
I’ve always heard lower is better, assuming you have the mobility to do so without rounding your lower back.

That is true. The big thing is having that mobility. It’s something you have to work to get with many people. Some people have it, some people need to work to get it. The only instance where lower does not equal better assuming you DO have the mobility is when you’re a) squatting wide stance, as this can put undue stress on the hips when they’re out extremely wide and b) when your only concern is the maximum amount of weight you can move by being just under parallel (eg–competitive powerlifter). Not going low is a rationalization for most people.[/quote]

Cool. I use a wide stance alot, and I’ve noticed it makes your ass super strong haha! Also makes sitting down painful the next day or two!

Also I could be imagining this, but (to original poster) if you have trouble going low it seems to me that widening my grip helps me take heavier loads lower. This is probably dependent on the person, but it really helps me! Takes some getting used to though.

EDIT:
Also it seems like going deeper with less weight has more benefit than going shallower with less weight, pretty much everytime. Sound right?

[quote]Breakzilla wrote:
if you have trouble going low it seems to me that widening my grip helps me take heavier loads lower. This is probably dependent on the person, but it really helps me! Takes some getting used to though.
[/quote]

just don’t go too wide

keeping your grip in allows for better chest expansion and tightening (stabilizing) of your upper back

As deep as I can body weight squat; which is a bit below parallel for me.

[quote]sandeld wrote:

One way to practice perfect form is to stand with your toes touching the wall and doing a squat. If you can go down and up without falling backwards, you’re good to go. If you can’t do it on your first try (many can’t) back up a little and gradually work your way in.[/quote]

I’m going to respectfully disagree. Not letting the knee’s travel over the toes shifts more weight than ncessary onto the injury prone lower back and(depending on individual physical dimensions and flexibility) stops the hamstrings exerting enough pull on the tibia.(All described by Rippetoe in SS)

I go atg and try not to round my back.

I would say that it depends on the muscle group you are trying to work. If you want to have the quads do most of the work then you will want to have the knees travel over the toes to some degree while keeping a narrow stance.

If you want to hit the hamstrings, low back and glutes more then I would suggest going with a wider stance. With the wider stance you need to sit back and not down. This will allow your posterior chain to do the work and keep the load off of the quads to some degree.

As for the depth question, keep the weights light to moderate and go as deep as possible while keeping good form with either style squat (head up, chest up, lower back arched). Video your squats, evaluate the form and depth, then make adjustments as necessary.

Like others have said, as low as you can while still maintaining form. If your form starts to go then you’re too deep.

[quote]Jereth127 wrote:
sandeld wrote:

One way to practice perfect form is to stand with your toes touching the wall and doing a squat. If you can go down and up without falling backwards, you’re good to go. If you can’t do it on your first try (many can’t) back up a little and gradually work your way in.

I’m going to respectfully disagree. Not letting the knee’s travel over the toes shifts more weight than ncessary onto the injury prone lower back and(depending on individual physical dimensions and flexibility) stops the hamstrings exerting enough pull on the tibia.(All described by Rippetoe in SS)[/quote]

I completely agree, but by practicing in that manner you will develop the balance and flexibility required to do proper squats. It would be very close to impossible to not allow your shins to come forward when doing a proper squat. I should have explained more thoroughly.

Those that squat atg. I can’t find it now, but there was an article on one of the MANY sites I visit that said atg repeatedly could be harmful. They said they only recommended atg for O-lifters on the catch. Any of you heard that?