Squats 101: How Low Should You Go?

Depending on the sets, reps and weight you perform, you can tailor the lift to your personal goals.

Whether you're trying to bulk up and put on serious muscle or you want to tone your hips and butt, squats can help you get to your desired destination. Additionally, lifting heavier loads through multiple joint exercises can help develop bone mineral density, increase your metabolism and increase full body awareness.

More: 5 Squat Variations Everyone Should Do

How Low Do You Go?

The different styles of squats often relate to depth—how low each person lowers at the bottom of the movement.

Ideally, the goal is to lower to where your thighs are parallel with the ground. However, this ability greatly relies on the range of motion in the hips and ankles of the individual, as well as core strength to maintain a stable back throughout the lift.

Be careful of squatting below 90 degrees, as studies have shown an increase in knee strain during that part of the lift. A common misconception is to lower the weight to offset the extra strain and make squatting below 90 degrees easier, but research has shown this can be dangerous and ineffective.

More: Lower-Body Warm-Up Exercises

Proper Form of the Squat Movement Pattern

Before you step inside a squat rack, it's important to have a firm understanding of how to properly perform the exercise. As great as squats can be, they can quickly turn from glory to horror if you have improper form.

First, you need to know not everybody's squat will look the same. With different heights, ranges of motion and stability development, it's unlikely for someone who's 6-foot-3 to have the same movement pattern of someone who's 5-feet tall.

More: How to Achieve Proper Squat Form

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About the Author

Jake Bernards

Jake Bernards is a PhD student studying Sport Physiology and Performance at East Tennessee State. As a former collegiate football player, sports and movement are a way of life for Jake. He enjoys anything outdoors, including surfing, hiking and golf.
Jake Bernards is a PhD student studying Sport Physiology and Performance at East Tennessee State. As a former collegiate football player, sports and movement are a way of life for Jake. He enjoys anything outdoors, including surfing, hiking and golf.

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