There’s a whole lot of confusion amongst weightlifters about how deep to squat.

Some argue deep squats are dangerous to your knees and pointless from a muscle and energy achieve standpoint.

Others have the other stance, insisting deeper squats are completely wholesome on your joints and important to maximise muscle progress, energy achieve, and athletic efficiency. 

On this article, you’ll uncover who’s proper.

You’ll study what “squat depth“ is, what deep squats appear to be, the advantages of deep squats, correct deep squat kind, how deep to squat on your targets and physique kind, and extra.

What Is “Squat Depth?”

Squat depth” refers to how low you go throughout a squat.

It’s measured by the angle your knees make on the backside of the motion. 

A “parallel” squat is a squat that entails decreasing your physique till your thighs are parallel to the ground, which happens when the crease of your hip is similar top as the highest of your knees.

A “deep” or “full” squat usually entails decreasing your physique till your hips are beneath your knees (a knee angle of lower than 90 levels). Very deep squats, usually referred to as “ass-to-grass” squats, are the place you decrease your butt as near the ground as doable (usually bending your knees greater than 120 levels).

A “quarter” squat entails decreasing your butt simply 6-to-8 inches (till your knees are bent to about 45 levels), whereas a “half” squat is whenever you decrease your butt round 8-to-12 inches (till your knees are bent to about 90 levels).

Correct squat depth can range primarily based on particular person components reminiscent of flexibility, mobility, physique proportions, and energy targets.

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What Do Deep Squats Look Like?

Right here’s a squat depth diagram illustrating totally different squat depths:


Deep Squat Advantages

There are a number of advantages of deep squats over shallow squats. 

As an illustration, research shows the deeper you squat, the extra muscle and energy you achieve.

A key motive for that is that deeper squats prepare your muscle groups by way of an extended vary of movement and cause a deep squat stretch in your lower-body muscle groups, which is generally beneficial for muscle progress. 

Studies also present that deeper squats activate the glutes to a larger extent, a boon for these in search of to emphasise glute progress. Likewise, your decrease again profits from deep squats as a result of it has to work more durable to take care of an upright posture, which implies it will get stronger than when doing shallow squats.

Lastly, the deeper you squat, the extra power your lower-body muscle groups must generate, which implies deep squats are doubtless higher than shallow squats for athletes trying to improve their efficiency on the sphere, observe, or courtroom.  

Deep Squat: Kind

how to squat

  1. Place a barbell in a squat rack at concerning the top of the highest of your breastbone.
  2. Step beneath the bar, pinch your shoulder blades collectively, and relaxation the bar instantly above the bony ridges on the underside of your shoulder blades.
  3. Raise the bar out of the rack, take one or two steps backward, and place your ft slightly wider than shoulder-width aside, together with your toes pointing barely outward.
  4. Sit down and bear in mind to maintain your again straight and push your knees out in the identical route as your toes all through every rep. Hold sitting down till your hips are 1-to-2 inches beneath your knees.
  5. Arise and return to the beginning place.

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How Deep Ought to You Squat?

There are clear advantages of deep squats, which is why it is best to all the time squat as deeply as you comfortably can.

Nonetheless, in the event you discover deep squats trigger discomfort however shallow squats are snug, don’t really feel too responsible about slicing your squatting depth brief. 

Whereas shallow squats aren’t fairly as efficient as deep squats, they nonetheless assist you gain leg energy (although solely within the vary of movement you prepare), which implies you’ll be able to nonetheless construct muscle and enhance athletic efficiency performing shallow squats. 

Additionally, don’t thoughts “motion gurus” who declare everybody can carry out deep squats in the event that they’re diligent about stretching and mobility workout routines. This isn’t all the time the case.

The depth of your squat is largely delimited by the angle and depth of your hip joint. 

Usually, of us with deeper hip sockets (typically known as “Celtic” or “Scottish” hip, as that is extra frequent in folks of Northern European descent) have bother doing very deep squats.

Conversely, these with shallow hip sockets (typically known as “Dalmatian hip,” as that is extra frequent amongst folks of Japanese European descent) usually have a neater time squatting deep. 

Thus, it is best to squat as deep as your anatomy permits or as deep as you’ll be able to with out discomfort.

Ideally, this might be parallel or barely deeper, however don’t power it if, for you, it’s not doable. 

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FAQ #1: Are deep squats unhealthy on your knees?

All squats—whether or not deep, parallel, or shallow—place the same stress in your knees.

Subsequently, deep squats are not any worse on your knees than different sorts of squats.

In reality, many weightlifters imagine squatting to parallel or decrease is safer than shallower squats as a result of it lets your hamstrings contribute extra, relieving a few of the stress in your knees and stopping you from utilizing weights too heavy on your joints to deal with safely.

Whereas that is an attention-grabbing and believable stance, I’m unaware of any analysis supporting it. 

FAQ #2: What’s powerlifting squat depth?

Powerlifting squat depth requirements can range from one federation to a different, however the benchmark for a lot of, together with the Worldwide Powerlifting Federation (IPF), is “beneath parallel.”

This implies you’re solely within the clear in case your hip crease goes decrease than the highest of your knee.

Most often, this occurs when your knee bends to round 120 levels or extra, though it may range relying in your squatting method. For instance:

  • A large-stance, low-bar squat the place your knees don’t lengthen a lot over your toes means that you can attain parallel with much less knee bend.
  • A narrow-stance, high-bar squat, the place your knees lengthen effectively over your toes, requires extra knee bend to hit parallel.

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FAQ #3: Can I study easy methods to enhance squat depth?

You may study easy methods to squat deeper in case your solely subject is you lack flexibility.

But when your physique isn’t constructed for deep squatting, you may by no means get to a full squat.

If flexibility is the problem, engaged on hip and ankle mobility may help most people squat deeper.

To discover ways to enhance your hip and ankle mobility, take a look at this text:

Methods to Enhance Flexibility and Mobility for Squatting

+ Scientific References