3 Deep Squat Benefits for Your Health

Deep Squat Benefits

If you’ve ever set foot inside a gym, you’ve probably heard someone preaching about how to squat. And while there are many different opinions on this compound movement, most experts agree that squatting deep is best. Besides, what’s the point of loading up the bar only to move it just a couple of inches?

If you want to make real strength gains, you need to put your ego aside and drop the weight. In this article, I’ll talk about seven deep squat benefits and why using the full range of motion is better for your health.

Deep Squat Benefits

Why Deep Squats are Important

Squats are one of the 7 primal movements that can increase athletic performance. This compound exercise is critical in powerlifting, weightlifting, CrossFit, and many other training programs. Squats not only target the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glute muscles, but can also benefit the heart, abs, and back. However, squats are only beneficial if you’re squatting below parallel.

Deep squats are also important for digestive health. This may sound strange, but the toilet limits our ability to squat down low. When sitting on the toilet, the hips are only flexed at 90 degrees. Due to this limitation, the colon is prevented from emptying out completely. Meaning that you can actually improve your digestive health by increasing your squat depth. Let’s take a look at some of the most important deep squat benefits.

1 – Improve Flexibility

Think about the entire range of motion in a squat. As you are lowering the bar down, the hamstrings, quads, and glutes are being stretched. Squatting can help improve flexibility by forcing you to stretch these muscles during the motion. Having strong muscles alone is just one piece to the puzzle.

That’s why it’s important to stretch in addition to training, in order to improve overall flexibility. Neglecting to squat in a full range of motion will create tight muscles, that can cause joint pain, strains, and potentially muscle damage. Try dropping the weight if you’re having trouble squatting low.

2 – Build Strength

In order to build leg strength, you need to squat in a full range of motion. Let’s compare this concept to bench pressing. We’ve all seen someone at the gym load up the bar with weight, only to ignore the full range of motion. You won’t get any stronger by neglecting to lower the bar to your chest.

This same rule applies to squatting. You won’t be making any strength gains when doing quarter squats. Next time you’re at the gym, try squatting below parallel. This can be a humbling experience for people who have had bad form in the past. But you can only get stronger once you practice the full range of motion.

3 – Increase Ankle Mobility

Having strong (and flexible) ankles is an important aspect when squatting. Weak ankles can limit you when walking, running, and weight training. In addition to these factors, weak ankles can also cause injury. Increasing your mobility with squats can prevent rolling your ankle when running and jumping.

In order to increase ankle mobility when squatting, it’s important to practice dorsifelxion and plantarflexion. This is one of the most important deep squat benefits, because you can only get so low by having poor dorsiflexion. Try warming up by pushing your heels forward and and pulling your toes back towards you.

How to Squat Lower

Now that we’ve covered the most important deep squat benefits, you probably want to learn how to squat lower. The good news is, there’s a handful of ways to drop down low and increase your range of motion. Just know that increasing your mobility takes time and practice. There’s no shortcut to squatting lower, as you need to be consistent with any training plan you follow.

Practice Overhead Squats

The overhead squat creates thoracic spine extension and makes you to stretch the lats and other muscles related to forward flexion. This movement forces you to have tight posture throughout the upper body, while the lower body lowers down into the squat position. The overhead squat can also be a great exercise for people with bad form or flexibility issues. As it will help improve your body in these areas that are lacking.

Adjust Your Feet

One simple trick to squatting lower is by adjusting your feet. Because everyone is different, there is no clear way to stand for a deep squat. All you need to do is widen your stance slightly, in order to lower the range of motion. Begin by standing about shoulder width apart. Then spread your feet about an inch or two, do a few reps, and repeat. Stop when you are standing in a wide enough position that allows you to perform a full range squat.

Stretch More

If you’re one of those people who stretches “every once in a while” it’s limiting your squatting capability. The full range squat should never be done without a warm-up routine. That’s why you need to be stretching every day. There are literally hundreds of stretches that can increase your squat depth. All you need to do is get on a consistent stretching routine to see real results. As your mobility improves, you can practice holding stretches for longer periods of time.

Practice!

This last tip should come as no surprise. If you really want to get better at something, you need to practice! To improve the depth of your squat, try squatting every single day. Whether that’s a few bodyweight squats during your lunch break, or squatting the bar before a workout. Each rep will improve your form in some way. Try adjusting your feet positioning, hands on the bar, and other things to experiment with your squat depth.

Final Thoughts

Squatting deep is a good representation of how you should be training in the gym. You need to put in max effort and go through the full range of motion. Quarter squats and half squats don’t have many benefits, even if it makes you look stronger. If you’re having trouble squatting below parallel, drop the weight and practice your mobility. This type of training may be frustrating at first, but it will only make you stronger (and better) in the future.

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