6 Ways To Improve Your Squat Depth
If you are having problems hitting depth in squats or getting depth this post will help you.
When I started competing again in PowerLifting my squat depth was an issue, even now at 41 it’s something I have to work at all the time.
My first Nationals I went 1/3 on squats, at Worlds I went 1/3 on squats. I realized after this I had some work to do.
After spending a lot of time working on my squat depth I went 2/3 at the 2014 Nationals here in St. John’s (and broke the Canadian Record in my 2nd lift), and 3/3 at Worlds in Finland hitting a PR of 215 kg / 475 lbs at a bodyweight of 83kg/183 lbs.
A quick note before we move forward, squat depth is somewhat genetic. Your hip anatomy is what you are born with from your family and genetics so you can’t change that. There is a great article on T-Nation.com HERE and also a great video by Stu McGill HERE.
However, there are many ways to maximize what you are born with to improve your squat and improve your squat depth.
Below are my competition squats to show you that I have had to work hard on hitting my depth and improving my squat technique.
2014 Worlds South Africa – I went 1/3 on squats (got my opener)
2015 Worlds Salo Finland – I went 3/3 on squats
6 Ways To Improve Your Squat Depth
1. Take a Video To Assess Your Depth
Sometimes when you think your depth is good it’s not. Using video is a great tool to assess your squat and depth and to improve mind/body connection.
2. Elevate Your Heels
One of the most simple ways to improve squat depth is to elevate your heels. You can use a board under your heels, a 5 lb plate, or invest in a good pair of squat shoes.
I consider good squat shoes an investment in your training. If you are serious about training you own a pair of squat shoes. For the best prices and variety on Squat Shoes check out Rogue Fitness or Amazon.com for the best prices and variety.
3. Use Pause Squats
Pause squats are a great way to hit the hole in squats and work on improving your depth. A stretch under weight is a great way to improve your mobility and flexibility which are big areas that need to improve when trying to work on squat depth. You can read more about Paused Squats here.
4. Spend More Time Doing Soft Tissue Work, Moblity & Stretching
Tight muscles and lack of mobility are big reasons why some people can’t hit depth. Spend some time making friends with soft tissue work and mobility exercises.
Foam roll calves, soleus, achilles, hip flexors, and anything that you personally feel is tight when squatting.
Same with stretching, assess your body and find where you personally need more flexibility. For me when my calves are tight squat depth is an issue.
I use the TP Therapy Ball and the TP Therapy rollers. They are the BEST for soft tissue work, their products are an investment in your health and training. Get more info on TP Therapy HERE.
5. Use Box Squats
Find a box that you can squat to. Then slowly lower the depth of that box until you reach the desired depth. Squatting to a box and sitting on that box in a pause is a great way to “find your depth” in a squat.
6. Learn To Hit The Hole With More Speed
One of the best ways to hit depth is learning how to control your squat on the lowering/eccentic but also learning how to relax your hip flexors and to “Let Go” on your squat. This will allow you to hit the hole faster and with some speed and to maximize the “Stretch Reflex” of your squat.
Give these tips a try and if you enjoyed this post please “Like” & “Share”.