Three Quick Tips for Perfect Squat Depth

Hey Angels and Alphas,

The squat is the opener for a powerlifting meet and one of the greatest exercises to improve strength and build muscle.

It’s an essential lift that requires precise technique, particularly in achieving the correct depth. The depth standard for a powerlifting meet is the hip crease going below the top of your knee.

This is crucial not only for receiving white lights at a meet but also for maximizing the benefits of utilizing your hip musculature through its greatest range of motion.

Proper depth will help you push more weights over time, making you stronger and more efficient.

Many lifters overthink the depth position in a squat.

If you’re having trouble achieving the required depth, these recommendations will help you improve:

Step 1: Open Your Hips and Drive Your Knees Out

Start with a roughly shoulder-width stance, though some variation in width is expected depending on the lifter. Focus on opening your knees and pushing them out as you descend into the bottom position. This movement creates space for your hips to drive back lower between your legs. Achieving proper depth allows you to successfully complete a lift at a meet and gain the full benefit of training the muscles of the hips, legs, and back through their full range of motion.

Step 2: Implement Pause Squats

Pause squats are an effective way to learn and reinforce proper positioning. Begin with your optimal stance, whether barefooted, in lifting shoes, or whatever footwear you prefer. Think about spreading the floor as you descend into the bottom position, sitting back into your hips, and learning depth by holding that position for 2-5 seconds. Start with body weight and progress to a 30-35lb dumbbell if needed before getting under a bar to build confidence. Remember, pause squats are a light alternative to your competition lift, meant to reinforce technique rather than build maximal strength.

Step 3: Record Your Squats

Recording your squats, even if it feels uncomfortable at first, will significantly benefit you by reducing wasted time not knowing if you’re hitting depth correctly. To set up your camera for the best view of your depth, start by positioning it below the hip crease level. The angles that capture depth best are a side view and a rear oblique view. Ensure the camera isn’t pointing down or up, as this can distort the perception of depth.

Additional Tips for Hitting Depth

  • Warm-Up Properly: A thorough warm-up can improve your mobility and prepare your muscles for deeper squats.
  • Mobility Exercises: Incorporate hip and ankle mobility exercises into your routine to increase your range of motion.
  • Controlled Descent: Focus on a controlled descent to maintain balance and positioning, avoiding the temptation to rush through the squat.
  • Consistent Practice: Consistency is key. Regular practice with a focus on technique will gradually improve your squat depth.

Bringing it all together…

By following these steps and incorporating the additional tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving undeniable depth in your squats at your next powerlifting meet.

Proper depth not only ensures you meet competition standards but also enhances your overall strength and muscle development.

Try these tips if you’re struggling to hit depth, and let me know if any of these help!

Happy Squatting!