If you’re one of the rare few who already have a consistent below parallel squat with perfect form, just plaster that smug AF look on your face and skip this post. Good for you.
For the rest of you, keep reading.
This post is timely for us, as we ordered the monster squat rack today (claps!). This is an important addition and one of the final pieces of equipment necessary for our improved and expanded space.
Once the rack is installed, the squat will become a regular part of our SPT (strength performance training) classes. Which, begs the question – how deep should you go? And, like most fitness questions, it depends on your goal. When Olympic lifters squat, it’s basically ass to the ground. Powerlifters, on the other hand, go just below parallel. If you’re the typical Accelerate athlete, you are looking to get stronger, leaner and generally more bad ass. For that, we recommend a squat somewhere between Olympic (ass to ground) and power lifter (parallel). At parallel or a little below is a great goal.
Practicing the parallel or lower squat position will significantly improve your range of motion, but we understand that not all bodies are the same. For some people, this position creates discomfort or pain in the knees and lower back. If that’s you, consider the following tips:
A common squat range-of-motion problem: ankle mobility. Here are some things you can do to work on this:
- Try a wider stance
- Try elevating your heels with a small plate (not for long term use, slowly work to the smallest plate possible and eventually back to the ground)
- Static stretching (don’t believe the BS that static stretching is useless – believe science)
*Ankle stretch to try – Start in a near lunge position. Bring your back knee to the ground for balance. From there, relax and let your front knee bend and shift your weight forward toward the front leg. Don’t let your heel come off the ground. Go as far as you can (slowly) keeping the heel of your front foot anchored to the ground. Perform this 3-5 times per week for 3-5 sets and hold for 30 seconds each time. Once you graduate, add a plate on your knee.*
After practicing this stretch, your ankle mobility will improve, as will your squat.
As always, the research backing this post: