In this article, we are going to talk about how to improve the depth of our squat.
You have now gained some confidence in squatting to roughly 90 degrees or knee height. Brilliant! Squatting at this height is great and it is a step above those who avoid exercise completely. The aim in now to squat lower, lower you say, why?
Lowering ourselves to this height is only going to take our movement patterns so far and keep our results the same. Take this example, would you put only a quarter of a tank of petrol in your car and expect to reach the same destination as a full tank of fuel? Training ourselves to only half the height of a squat will produce only half the results of that of a deep squat.
Changing our movement pattern will mean there is some adjustment needed. Getting below our knees, while still maintaining a nice tall posture is the aim. The reason we are needing to change our movement pattern is because of the weight distribution. It shifts when we lower the height of our body. When we squat halfway, our hips will go back, our chest comes forward, but we can really only get to the height of our knees. To continue lowering in this form you are going to fall backwards, like so. To pass this we will need to change the centre of gravity, so it is in the middle as we move in our squat position.
The main points.
Actually before the main points. Find a wall, have a poll, have some form support. This will help us to develop and grow with this exercise, and I will show you how shortly.
- Feet are hip width apart
- Chest & Back is nice and tall
- Our knees coming forward
Begin in a stance that is naturally hip width a part. It will help to ground, lower, and raise our body. The weight will be distributed heaviest here. A firm foundation gives the support for moving the body in a squat.
Chest & Back
The tall posture in a squat is relating to shifting our weight. As we lower down, leaning too far forward pushes our weight forward. Which in turn is counter-balanced out by having the centre of gravity shift backwards with our hips pushed behind. With weight increases, particularly using a barbell behind our shoulders, the pressure that comes down the spine also increases. Changing our posture with a taller back & chest reduces the impact in the lower parts of our spine.
Much like the hips needing to go backwards in a half squat. Our knees will need to come forward. I know you are probably thinking going forward hurts. It does if only that movement occurs. By lowering the body with hips coming backwards and a tall spine, the pressure on the knee joint reduces. The weight is better distributed evenly.
The key in this movement pattern is to have the position of our body support the weight that is going to be forced vertically up.
Now this is where the wall/pole/buddy of yours, comes into play during the lifting phase. The lowering phase is the time to be in a controlled and steady movement. Going lower is the aim. Okay (in this video) the space is a bit tight and squeezy here.
Start with arms up, grabbing onto the support. Begin to lower, again allowing our knees to come forward, weight in the middle/back of heels & a tall posture. Once at the lowest point as you can maintain come up by pulling yourself up with your arms.
Getting used to sitting down in this lower position will take time. Through repetition of this exercise, start using less of your arms.
Hope this helps guys.