One Simple Drill to Improve Squat Depth

So you have read my articles on squat depth and squat stance, but you’re still not satisfied with your squat depth. Don’t worry, there’s still hope! There is a way to improve your squat depth by gradually teaching your muscles how to control your body at the bottom of your squat. This will involve isometrics (pauses) at or slightly below your current squat depth. 

  1. Sit on a box, stack of weight plates or aerobic step set at a height just below your current squat depth
  2. If the box/step is too low, you can place as many weight plates on top of it as you need
  3. Place your feet in your normal squat stance with feet under your knees
  4. Lean your body forwards by bending through your hips while maintaining a neutral spine
  5. Lift up 1 cm (1/2 inch) from the step and pause 5 seconds
  6. Stand all the way up
  7. Sit back down on the step and repeat

It is important to watch this exercise in a mirror (or shoot a video) from the side so you can ensure you are still keeping a neutral spine. If you can’t keep your spine in a good position, the box if too low and you’ll need to adjust it slightly higher.

Programming this Drill:

Sets: 3-4

Repetitions: 6-10

Pause: 5 seconds each repetition

Rest: 30-90 seconds between sets

Weekly Frequency: 3-7 

If you are planning to do this exercise on the same day you are going to do squats, you might want to do fewer sets (1-2) as a warm-up prior to squatting. Otherwise, you can save this drill for the end of the workout or do it on a separate day. As there is no external load with this exercise, it is safe enough to do it daily. It should be done minimum 3 times per week in order to have the required amount practice needed to improve your depth.

Optional Progression:

Once you feel comfortable with this drill, you can load it via a goblet squat setup. If you chose this option, it should be performed no more than 3 times per week on non-consecutive days

Another crucial component to squatting effectively is learning how to breath and properly brace during the squat. This will be covered in the following article:

– insert link bracing during squat

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