How to Improve Squat Depth

In this article, I will be giving you information on how to improve squat depth. Yes, that’s right, in this article you will receive information that may help you improve your squat depth!

We all know how beneficial reaching squat depth can be, we also know that this can be quite difficult. I will be giving you 3 of the main areas to asses and see if they may be a limiting factor in your ability to reach squat depth. Let’s get into the article!

A Lack of Mobility:

One of the primary causes that may affect one’s ability to reach proper squat depth would be a lack of mobility. There are 3 main areas where one may lack mobility. These would be at the ankles, hips and thoracic spine. Let’s dive into why these may be problematic areas!

Having sufficient ankle mobility allows your knees to travel past the toes, this allows you to descend into the squat and hit depth while maintaining proper positioning. A lack of ankle mobility can come from an impingement at the ankle joint, or a tightness from the calf and or achilees tendon. In short, banded ankle mobility drills can help impingements, while stretching and foam rolling can aid in loosening your calf and achilles tendon.

Let’s say you have sufficient ankle mobility, however, you still have difficulty reaching depth in the squat. This could mean you have hip mobility limitations. This may come from a restriction in the ball and socket joint within the hip structure, or a tightness in areas such as your hip flexers. Once again, at a basic level, banded mobility drills can help an impingement at the joint, while stretching tight areas of your hip musculature can be beneficial for loosening the muscle(s) that may benefit from this.

Lastly, we have thoracic spine mobility. If you cannot get your spine into extension, it may be difficult to maintain a neutral spine throughout a squat. Having a rounded lower back can limit your ability to reach squat depth as your body is trying to limit putting even more stress being applied to your spine. Obtaining the ability to get your spine into extension can help your lower back get into and maintain a neutral position. Squat University has some awesome posts showing how to test and improve your thoracic mobility, if needed.

Lack of Experience:

Next up, we have lack of training experience that can factor into a difficulty hitting squat depth. Let’s explore why this may be a limiting factor in one’s ability to achieve this.

When performing a squat, it can be an awkward movement if you are not experienced with the lift. We are used to squatting with our body weight, such as when we pick something up. However, when we load a barbell on our back, it can be an awkward movement pattern to learn and execute.

Simply using super light loads while working on getting your technique down can be quite beneficial to creating a foundation of technique to build from. Getting more comfortable with the movement pattern while having safety at the forefront can have an awesome benefit in improving your technique!

Ego Lifting:

One thing that many trainees and new lifters in particular can be sucked into is ego lifting. This refers to someone worrying too much about the weight they have on their back due to their own lack of confidence. What this results in is one of two things… or both!

Number one would be completing reps with poor form. Whether this means not hitting depth or compensations such as knee cave. The second result of this would be an increased risk for injury as you are placing a load on your body that it is likely not prepared for.

These two scenarios go hand in hand, having technique faults increases your risk for injury in the sense of placing loads on your body in ways it is not prepared for. If you don’t get injured, not hitting depth sets up a poor foundation and has a much higher likelihood of creating problems down the road.

Moral of the story, drop your ego at the door, use your head and do what you know will be much more beneficial both in the short run and long run.

Wrapping Up:

All in all, there are numerous scenarios that may contribute to one’s difficulty in hitting squat depth. I would say the most common of these possibilities would be restrictions in one’s mobility. However, specific scenarios such as ones lack of experience, or ego lifting can certainly contribute to a difficulty in achieving proper squat depth. If an indivudal has a combination of two or all 3, this can be cause for concern and should be addressed immediately!

Do you have difficulty hitting squat depth? If so, I would love to hear what you feel may a limitation of yours! Feel free to drop a comment below! I thank you for taking the time to read this article and as always, if you have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to leave them below and I will be sure to reply!


Until Next Time,

Kohl Johnson

Please refer to my liability disclaimer to ensure you know who is responsible for use of this information after reading.

Support is much appreciated if you benefited from this:

Kohl Johnson

I am a 16-year-old fitness fanatic! I have learned nothing but quality training and nutrition information from the utmost well-respected individuals in the field. Now, my only focus is to share this knowledge with you for your benefit, in the most honest way possible. We are all in this together! LET'S GO!

4 Responses

  1. I have picked some extra helpful information reading this post on how to improve squat depth and i am glad i came across this as i have just recently added squats to my work out routine.

    One problem i have had has been Ego lifting and i wasnt aware that was a ting, I have been finishing my squats in pooor form and trying to add more weights thinking that would aid my results.

    Now i know the problem with my squat routine, i intent to reach new depths and hold a better squat posture with these helpful tips.


    • Hi there, I am so glad you were able to benefit from this information! I wish you the best in working on your squat technique!

  2. Thanks Kohl for this information. I think my problem maybe twofold. I would definitely say that I have a lack of experience and need to expand in this area. Ego lifting would never be a problem with me. I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself and getting hurt is not an option.

    But seeing how I sit down driving a lot for my job, I get a bit of stiffness in my hips and I think I need to stretch out my hip flexors. This would seem to be the other problem I have in not reaching full squat depth. Can you recommend what a good stretching exercise for the hip flexor would be?

    • Hi Robert, sitting down a lot certainly can cause you to have tight hip flexors, along with a whole host of other problems in some cases. If you feel a tightness in your hip flexors is making achieving squat depth difficult, try stretching them and see if it helps to improve your squats.

      Squat University put out a great article explaining some awesome hip flexor stretches. You can check that out here.

      There are a lot of other issues that can arise from tight hip flexors, which can also make achieving squat depth difficult. Athlene-X put out a great video explaining some of these issues that you can check out by clicking here.

      Thanks for reading the article! Take care, Robert!

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