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