5 Tips to Help Drop Your Squat

March 22, 2015

5 Tips to Help Drop Your Squat

Let's be honest here, it’s no news that squatting deep (below parallel) is the best way to develop your legs and general lower body strength.

But before I go any further, let's be clear about a couple of things.

  • I don’t have 25-inch quads.
  • I can’t squat 6 plates.
  • I am by no means the master of the back squat.
  • BUT, I can squat hella low, with good form, and over my bodyweight.

In fact, I’ve had memberships to three gyms in the past year and at every single one I’ve been at, multiple patrons (novice quarter squatters and deep squatters alike) have approached me to comment on how clean my form is and how deep I am able to squat. (Don't mind me while I pat myself on the back a little).

All self-reported compliments aside, there was a time when I was barely able to get down even to parallel, let alone "ass to grass." Yes, I know, it's hard to believe, right? So, how did I manage such vast improvements with my squatting depth?

Here’s my fancy list of ways to improve your squat:

1. Reset the Weight.

squat-low

We’ve all seen that guy in the squat rack who loads an insane amount of weight onto the bar then proceeds to do little more than barely bend his knees, while screaming like he’s got the weight of Jupiter on his shoulders.

Put the ego aside, drop the weight down, and work on actually performing the movement all the way through.

2. Experiment with Stance.

Opening your stance to a bit wider than shoulder-width can usually help you drop a bit lower, especially if, like me, you have longer femurs. Pointing your toes slightly outward can also keep your knees from dropping in and limiting your mobility.

3. Perform Mobility Exercises.

This will do wonders for your squat. Foam rolling and stretching are a great way to open up the hips and help you drop lower. A great stretching routine that I found incredibly helpful was Joe DeFranco’s Limber 11.

4. Perform Accessory Exercises.

leg-press

While the squat is a great compound movement that targets various muscle groups in the legs, performing additional accessory movements won’t hurt in your quest for a heavier and deeper squat. Some good options are the Leg Press, Romanian Deadlifts, and Leg Curls/Extensions.

5. Videotape Yourself.

Sometimes the mirror just isn’t enough. I found that videotaping myself from various angles really helped me to see areas where I could fix and improve my form. Next time you hit the squat rack, ask your workout partner to shoot some footage of you doing a few reps.

If you don’t have a workout partner (and you should), set your phone camera against the wall or your water bottle to shoot. Review the footage before going into your next set. Seeing yourself from that perspective can really be beneficial to correcting your form.

Nobody squats perfectly, least of all me, but we sure can try to improve our form as we go along our individual fitness paths. Try some of these techniques and soon enough, you too will get better and better with the "king of exercises", the squat.




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