How low should you go when doing squats?

Posted by in Basic Strenght Exercises, Crossfit, Leg training, Portugal

Squats are indeed one of the best leg excercises there is. The one question I get a lot is ; how low should we go when doing squats? I would say; go as low as you can. But the technically correct answer is to go as low as you can and stop in the moment where your hip drops and before your back rounds off instead of keeping a slight arch in the lumbar . I will try to explain in the following 4 steps.

Step 1: Squats starting Point

You have the bar on your shoulders. Albows pointing down. Legs a hip with apart. Toes pointing slightly out. Hips under your body and the lumbar slightly arched. Look straight ahead.

Squat pose 1

Step 2: Hips back and sit down

In this step I always imagine a chair behind me that I want to sit down on. I prepare myself first with filling my lungs with air and then holding my breath as I go down (this takes some time to get used to, but it is to protect your lower back while lifting heavy weights) I aim for the pretend chair with my hips. I keep looking forward.

Squat pose 2

Step 3: Reaching 90 degrees

This is where a lot of people stop the downward motion and head back up. I would reccommend going below 90 degrees in order to get the gluteus muscles (butt muscles) really engaged in this exercise.

Squat pose 3

Step 4: Hips drop and lower back gets rounded

What does it mean when I say “when the hips drop”. As you might be able to see, my hips are paralell or on the first 3 pictures I am able to keep my arch in the lumbar area. As I am very flexible I am able to drop way below 90 degrees, but I have to make sure that I stop and push off the floor again while exhaling before my lumbar gets rounded.

Squat pose 4

It is a great trick to go lower than 90 degrees in order to get your glutes working. But first you need the flexibility in the legs and also the ability to maintain the arch in the lumbar. So keep working at it. Pics are from todays work out at Lapoint Portugal with my new work out buddy: street dog Nacho! Isnt he the coolest dude ever?!

Nacho

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