T Nation

Want to Achieve a Deep Squat


Hey guys :wink:

I'm a student from Heidelberg and my dream is being able to squat pretty deep.

in my case it's a lack of flexibility.
so I started a stretch routine (every leg and hip muscles are stretched 3 times for 20 seconds), that i do 5 times per week.

I read through some articles from TMuscle and box squats with an empty bar shall be a good flexibility exercise.

but how often in a week and how many sets and repetitions per set should i do at this exercise to become a deep-squatting athlete quickly?

I know it's just the empty bar and I can it do it more often than real heavy squats, but how often and which volume is ok?

I hope someone can help me :slight_smile:

thank you in anticipation,
sincerely yours, tommy :wink:


There are likely several issues that prevent you from squatting deep.

  1. Ankle mobility - if your weight ever drifts forward and you squat on your toes, your ankle mobility probably isn’t up to par. Doing some dorsiflexion drills should help.

2&3. Hip mobility and lumbar stability - these two go hand in hand. If you don’t have enough hip mobility, you will often compensate for this by rounding your lower back.

Think of it as a “stiffness imbalance” between your hips and lumbar area - you want to squat deep but your overly tight hips force movement at the lumbar spine in order for you to actually be able to achieve this depth. Lumbar rounding is a sure way to take lots of pounds off the bar and leave you at risk of injury.

You can fix these by doing hip mobility drills and lots of core work - I especially like core work that involves stabilization of the lumbar area - including rollouts and side planks.

There are a lot of other factors such as thoracic mobility, glute recruitment, etc. but the ones I listed were probably the biggest issues for people who can’t squat deep.

Do an author search for Mike Robertson and read all of his articles - you will be well on your way to squatting with perfect mechanics.


benway, thanks for your tips, but i read through the articels and i still don’t know what i have to do exactly:

"I read through some articles from TMuscle and box squats with an empty bar shall be a good flexibility exercise.

but how often in a week and how many sets and repetitions per set should i do at this exercise to become a deep-squatting athlete quickly?"

regards, tommy


can’t somebody give me a benchmark how many bodyweight(plus empty bar) squats i should do?

and how often should i do them?

please give me an advice, I’m about to despair of this :frowning:


I remember reading in an article on T-Nation something about the third world squat being a good way to develop the flexibility for deep squats.

The third world squat is the way all the people from shit hole third world countries can ‘sit’ or squat almost to the ground but their feet are flat on the ground.

If somebody more experienced than me could remember this it’d be helpful.


squat 2x a week. some reps being in the 8-12 range, others in 3-5 (heavier) squat with your heels elevated on 10 lb plates. This will allow you to get very very deep, which you must do. Do this for a month, then begin squatting without them, and point your toes outward as you squat without the plates under your heels. This will do great things.


Look on youtube for Dan John vids


[quote]plateau wrote:
Look on youtube for Dan John vids[/quote]

And Squat Rx videos. Good stuff


I knew the squat Rx videos and I know, that boxsquats with a broomstick or an empty bar may be good

the athlete in the video shows me good exercises, but he never tells how often peer week i should work with these exercises and how many sets and repitions I should do.

that’s the hole question !

I think I can do daily:
10 sets of boxsquats with 5 repititions per set ( I USE JUST THE EMPTY BAR/BROOMSTICK)

5 sets overheadsquats , also 5 reps per set ( I USE JUST THE EMPTY BAR/BROOMSTICK)

some stretches (static and dynamic)

(I do not use extra weight just the bar o a broomstick, so i think i can handle it, nevertheless I’m not sure.

so I’m asking you:

DO YOU THINK THE ROUTINE ABOVE IS OK and I can try it ? or do you thin it’s a kind of overtraining?

thanks for your help guys, I really know to appreciate that!

greetings, tommy :wink:


This isn’t a race. It took a long time before squats became second nature to me.

5 sets of 10 BW squats twice a week isn’t going to wear you out (or 10 sets of 5). The routine looks fine, you’re just trying to get used to the exercise and increase your mobility.

How many times do you get out of a chair a day? Do you worry about overtraining from that?


If you’re just doing those exercises with a bar or broomstick, then that’s fine to do daily. Mobility work should be done often, especially when trying to improve it. It’s not overtraining at all unless your max squat is 85lbs or something like that.


Hi, I feel I can give a good answer on this.

I’ve been a bit worried that my squat has been too high lately, so I did a couple of things to correct it:

  1. Squats from the pins (at parallel or slightly higher), this will help you get used to being in the correct posture ‘in the hole’ (sat back, chest up). Sometimes when you are fatigued, you will find yourself doing a ‘good morning’ to complete the rep. But with this you can make sure each rep you are in the perfect position to use leg drive.

  2. Deep lunge stretches before my sets, these help loosen up the hip flexors, which pull your torso forward slightly. IF you are leaning forward too much, you’ll find yourself folding your upper body in half to get depth - NOT GOOD!

So overall, you just need to make sure your hip flexors/hamstrings are nicely warmed up and loose, so you can sit back and down. This will take pressure off your lower back and allow you to use more leg drive (more weight, more depth, BIGGER LEGS!)


Do the Brian D squat warmup daily


Get those hips loose.

Check out DeFranco’s sample lower body warm-up: http://www.defrancostraining.com/ask_joe/archives/ask_joe_08-10-03.html


People have given a lot of great suggestions. Something that I really believe can help with deep squatting form is to practice goblet squats.

This is thought of as a sissy exercise, but performed correctly, they will really teach you how to achieve good depth in your squats without falling forward. I do them with a very controlled pace and pause in the hole just to ingrain the feeling and loosten up my hips. You could do these with light dumbells as a warmup to your squat routine or do them with heavier dumbells if you wish.


Don’t forget the obvious. Squats with just bodyweight. If you want to go very deep , do olympic style squats where you break at the knee and go straight down knees over toes.
Do this a lot along with hip flexor stretches, probably the lunge position type.

Everyone should be able to do this . Look up the squat where hold a plate or kettlebell or whatever if you want resistance. You will get much more out of doing dynamic style exercises for flexibility.
Progress to the back style powerlifting , half squat.

Und errine Uebung macht den Meister. Du sollst viele Tiefkniebeugungen taeglich machen.
Du wirst viel mehr mit dynamischen Uebungen erreichen.


Man just do it daily, if you get muscle soreness have a day off.


thanks for the support guys, I do the drills daily with no fear of muscle soreness :slight_smile:

but I got one more question about static stretching:

is it ok to stretch the adductor magnus (antagonist of the hip flexors) with 10-15 sets of static stretching per day?

I want to hit him more than the other muscles, because he is shortened in relation to the other muscles.

I’m asking because I read a trainee should stretch 2-5 sets per day to get the maximum range that is possible for the day (at least the usual range of motion or beyond that usual range).

could doing more sets of stretching than needed to get to this maximum range of motion for a day harm my progress in becoming more flexible?

because I’m not really sure when the “adductor magnus” has his maximum for the day, and I think it’s better to stretch this muscle a little bit more)

or will it harm nothing to stretch many many sets for one muscles?

thanks for your help guys, it’s really great what you do

greetings, tommy :wink:


i will echo constant bodyweight squats and third world squat. i do bw squats in the elevator at work (if i have the thing to myself).

also, pistols (single leg squats). in doing those i realized my right leg is stronger than my right. single-leg movements can get everything firing equally, equalizing strength, etc.