How Low Should You Squat? (And How to Improve It)

The squat is a commonly recommended and used movement for many reasons. It, best hits your butt, working your glutes and quads and can strengthen your hamstrings, too.

To get the maximum effects of squat it should be done properly, as it not the case with most of the people.

The beginners tend to squat down far enough (good squat depth). However, they will not get full benefits if don’t get a lot of hip flexion during the squat, because they won’t use the glutes. According to Mike Boyle, co-founder of Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning the depth of squat matters a great deal for improving hamstring and glutes.

Squat Science: The Right Technique

In order to fire up your muscles equally, here is Boyle’s breakdown of the squat, from the ground up.

  • Your lower body
  • Instructions:

–           Starting position – stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and with your toes turned out,

–           Squat down to a point where your thigh bone is parallel to the floor. Keep your kneecap almost directly over your big toe at the bottom of the squat.

–           Squatting, your knees should get progressively further apart, which will activate the right muscles as you incline. In the standing position at the top of the squat, your knees might be 12 inches apart, but at the bottom of the squat, they might expand to 18 inches apart. Keep your weight distributed across your mid-foot to your heel.

–           When you’re on your toes, sitting further back into your squat, shift your weight to your heels.

  • Your upper body

–           Squat straight up, your body should lean forward about 45 degrees,

–           In case, you’re dropping forward more than that, you might not have the mobility to do a full-depth squat

  • Fine-Tuning Your Squat

Here are other guidelines from Boyle that should be followed in order to squat well—and safely.

  • Practice mobility.

–           To improve your mobility, according to Boyle, sitting in a squat position is a number one recommendation.

–           Hold onto a rack in the gym or door jam and sit in a deep squat.

–           While sliding, try to really arch your back (if not able – attempting to arch will help you maintain a more neutral spinal position)

–           From the squat, gently rock back and forth and side to side

  • Count breaths, not reps.

–           Always think about breathing, when you’re doing the mobility exercise above, which will encourage you to relax more during the exercise.

–           Inhale through your nose for three counts, then exhale for five.

–           Repeat for 20-30 seconds 3-4 times total.

  • Add weight.

–           Once you’ve successfully mastered squat mechanics it’s time to add resistance, in order to make adaptations of your muscles and get them stronger,

–           A good starting point is doing goblet squats with a kettlebell or dumbbell.

  • Take it up a notch.

–           When you are able to squat comfortably your bodyweight 20 times you can move on to single-leg variations. The Boyle’s theory is that the life is a game played on one foot (we go up the stairs one foot at a time, and everything we do in sports is one foot at a time)

–           Begin with splitting squats (a “stationary” lunge with one foot in front of the other and you press back up and drop down to a lunge position).

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