Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

How Deep Should You Squat for Maximum Muscle Growth?

Are you struggling to break parallel during squats, or do you just need help improving your squat depth? Learn all about squat depth and how deep you should squat for maximum muscle growth.

If so, then you have come to the right place. 

In this post, I will go through 65 of my favourite squat exercises.

They will help you break through a plateau and get that extra squat depth. 

These range in difficulty from beginner-level exercises all the way up to more advanced movements.

What Is Squat Depth?

This question continues to spark up a lot of debate amongst gym-goers and weight lifters. People are always asking questions such as; how deep should I squat? What are safe squat depths? Is there a point where you begin to use your back to squat?

A deep squat is, basically, a squat in which your butt touches your ankles. 

From the starting position, the butt-to-ankles squat is lower than the full squat. 

However, some people refer to all squats to sit on your heels as ‘deep squats.’

Deep squats are the kind used in powerlifting competitions. 

In powerlifting, you’re encouraged to take your squat as low as possible. 

Low squats are commonly believed to be less safe than shallow ones. This is because they put more pressure on the knee joint. 

However, there’s evidence that they may be just as safe or even safer. 

Powerlifters who squat very low also have much healthier knees than non-powerlifters.

How Deep Should You Squat for Maximum Muscle Growth?

Squats are known as the King of all leg exercises. 

They’re the bread and butter move for many who want to improve their lower body strength and overall physique. 

But how deep should you squat?

Having a solid core is essential for staying healthy and being able to lift heavier weights safely.

CrossFitters, powerlifters, and other athletes who heavily engage in strength training pride themselves on their ability to perform about the deepest squat possible. 

However, it is worth examining if such a thing is too deep of a squat for safety.

It is popularly known that deep squats are the best exercise for developing strength and size in the hips, legs, and buttocks muscles. 

In recent years, research has also shown that it also has some potential risks.

Likewise, physical therapists have voiced concerns about the impact of deep knee bending on the joint.

They claim it could result in damage such as chondromalacia (cartilage softening), patellofemoral injury, and osteoarthritis.

Despite this, many of the most physically fit and successful athletes count on deep squatting to increase their performance. 

In fact, there are specific critical specific exercises that rely on squatting low to gain benefits that are hard to achieve with other movements.

Squatting is usually thought of as a technique for developing the leg muscles, especially the quads. 

In actual fact, if your hamstrings are short and strong, you can squat quite deeply without any compromise to your back. 

Some say you shouldn’t be able to see your toes when you squat. 

However, in reality, you should be able to go as deep as you feel comfortable.

Improving squat depth

Powerlifting: How To Hit Depth On The Squat

I think the most important aspect of the weightlifting technique is hitting depth. 

Most other things are secondary, such as balance, speed, or hitting a target on a certain plane. 

The only thing that matters is how deep you get.

If you don’t hit depth, this is a big red flag that you could potentially injure yourself. 

Getting hurt from lifting weights is not something most people want to deal with. 

It’s never a fun situation to be in, and it certainly can ruin your progress.

To squat properly is to hit depth on a squat. 

To do this, you must lower yourself under control.

Furthermore, it would help if you went down until your hip joint is lower than your knee joints. 

If you don’t do these two things, it doesn’t matter how good your form is; you will not complete the lift.

5 Tips To Note When Squatting

Squats are one of the most popular yet challenging exercises to do in the gym. Below are some tips on how to go about doing a squat exercise and proper technique when doing it:

  1. The correct setup is .essential
  2. It is essential to have the knees in line with the foot or slightly out
  3. Ensure that the torso stays upright with a straight back
  4. The head should be kept still and the neck slightly extended
  5. Breathe out when going down into a squat position and breath in on the way back up from a squat position.

How To Improve Squat Depth?

Lots of people have trouble going all the way down when squatting. However, the solution is simple: keep practicing until it becomes automatic.

But, of course, you wouldn’t think that a movement as fundamental as squatting would ever require conscious effort. And to a degree, that’s true – which is why you can walk or run or even ride a bike without practicing much (other than with the balance).

To successfully pull it off involves several different techniques. It is possible to get stuck in the bottom position due to a strength deficit or flexibility issue.

By improving strength with weight training and stretching tight areas, you’ll increase the range of motion at the bottom of the squat and will be able to handle heavier weights in the future.

Progressive Overload And Squat Depth

Two things about the squat are worth highlighting: the bar should be low enough to allow you to squat below parallel. If you can’t go below parallel, it’s an injury risk. 

The other key concept is progressive overload. No other exercise allows for such quick improvement in strength and muscle size.

Progressive overload is a training principle that dictates you must increase the training stress over time to progress. 

The squat refers to the progressive increase in intensity (weight) and volume (number of sets and reps) over time.

Progressive Overload is essential for rapid progress and injury prevention. 

Get stronger than you are now, get your joints and soft tissue used to handling heavier weight.

This way, you can handle more weight today tomorrow. 

Furthermore, you don’t always know what weights will be available, so you should train at weights below your limit. 

These recommendations are for advanced lifters with decent techniques who need new challenges. If you are not at this level of training experience, please ignore this advice.

65 Exercises To Improve Squat Depth

There is one most common issue that many bodybuilders face when they are working out and training for strength. This is improving their squat depth.

To do this, you will need to train your quads, hamstrings, glutes. You will also need to train your lower back muscles as well as your core.

I have outlined  65 exercises that would help to improve your squat depth.

  1. The Ankle Bridge Toe Touch
  2. Seated Hip Extension
  3. Lateral Bridge With Leg on Bench
  4. Reverse Hyper-extension
  5. Leg Extensions
  6. Dumbbell Squats
  7. Squat Jumps
  8. Lunges
  9. Glute Raises
  10. Front Rack Stretch
  11. Squat Stretch
  12. Sit-Ups
  13. Wall squats
  14. Goblet Squats
  15. Single-Leg Squats
  16. Broad Jumps with jump rope
  17. Back Rack Stretch
  18. Lunges
  19. Step-Ups
  20. Weighted Lunges with Dumbbells or Kettlebells
  21. Jump with a pause at the bottom
  22. Dropdown with pause
  23. Walkout
  24. Belt squat
  25. Heels elevated squat
  26. Coffin squat
  27. Box squats
  28. Wide stance, Front squats, 
  29. Close stance no lifts, Front squats, 
  30. Front squats + belt, high reps + chains, extra weight.
  31. Rack Lunges (Front)
  32. Air squats
  33. Kettlebell swings
  34. Single-leg Squats on Swiss Ball
  35. Pistol Squats
  36. Reverse Lunge to Stand on One Leg
  37. Lateral Squat Jumps Using Bosu Ball
  38. Glute Hamstring Raises (using the glute-ham developer
  39. Banded Front Squat
  40. Back Squat
  41. Bulgarian Split Squat
  42. Deadlift
  43. Deficit Deadlift
  44. Hack Squat
  45. Incline Bench
  46. Lateral squat jump
  47. Overhead Squats
  48. Plyometric Box Squat Jumps
  49. Power Clean and Presses
  50. Regular Front squat
  51. Clamshells
  52. Hip thrusts on a bench
  53. Sumo deadlifts 
  54. Upright rows on squat back
  55. But bridge hip thrust 
  56. Rounded Back Good mornings
  57. Halfway Box Squats
  58. Full Box Squats
  59. Parallel Box Squats
  60. Front Rack Hold
  61. Push-Up Holds
  62. Lying leg curls
  63. Farmer’s walks with dumbbells or kettlebells in a goblet hold
  64. Skater lunges
  65. Banded Squats

FAQs About How to Increase Your Squat Depth

How can I increase squat depth?

Asides from the exercises mentioned, to strengthen your glutes, there are other ways you can increase squat depth.

The first thing you need to think about is body position. 

As you squat down, look ahead at the wall in front of you. 

Furthermore, as the bar gets lower, keep the head over the bar (don’t lookup). 

This will enable you to keep the weight balanced over your hips and maintain good form throughout the movement.

What is a proper squat depth?

An essential aspect of squatting is learning to maintain a proper depth while moving the weight. Moving slowly requires you to maintain a certain depth because you don’t have enough time to compensate for the depth, but it won’t be easy to lift if you sink too far or too shallow.

When squatting to depth, the point of contact with the ground changes dramatically. Therefore, the required knee angle does as well. To determine the proper depth for you, a simple inspection of your form will tell you all you need to know.

The best way to figure it out for yourself is to measure your calf with a string and measure your thigh vertically. 

Strap a weight plate to the top of the thigh so you can use it as a straight edge. 

Mark the knee position at which the calf-length plus the plate length equals the thigh measure. Repeat five or ten times while wearing different shoes- bare feet, small heel, big heel, flat shoe, etc.

What is an excellent squat depth for powerlifting?

For powerlifting, the squat is probably the most effective assistance lift to get you stronger.

The answer to this question is not simple. Every powerlifter will have a slightly different squat depth for powerlifting based on their own anthropometry (body type) and strengths and weaknesses. But, a general “standard” for powerlifting competition will work for the ‘average’ lifter whose body type falls into the normal range. 

An excellent depth for a powerlifting squat allows you to use the most weight you can. That means a position with the hippest and knee flexion.

The Bottom Line

Overall, I expect that the more advanced a lifter becomes, the less important it is to worry about the bar’s position. This is about the ankle, knees, and hips. 

Rather, learning to move from the right starting positions will be more than enough to handle whatever depth issues they face.

Website | + posts
Show CommentsClose Comments

1 Comment

  • by Billiy
    Posted September 15, 2021 11:02 pm 0Likes

    Wow, I could only identify about 10 of the exercise listed that I am familiar with. Probably a professional powerlifter would relate better to them.

Leave a comment

The contents on this site are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional Weight Loss Expert Advice. Always consult with a licensed Medical Practitioner before buying or using any of the Weight Loss Plans, Diets, Products, and/or Programs we share here on Weight Loss Plans Online. Articles on Www.WeightLossPlansOnline.Com may contain affiliate links. That means if you decide to make a purchase or sign up through these links, We may earn a commission at no cost to you. Please read our disclaimer for more info about us and how we make money on Weight Loss Plans Online (

Our biggest stories delivered
to your inbox

Some description text for this item

[mc4wp_form id=”599″]