The deep squat and alternatives

Everyone is different. Everyone is unique.

And the same needs to apply to your body and the way that you train.

One question that we would want to bring up is how you are handling squatting and what alternatives there are to the deep squat, which doesn’t have to be the be all and end all.

Due to everyone responding differently and being composed slightly differently from another person, there is no right or wrong answer to this.

Some people find it easy to go “ass-to-grass” while for others it is more difficult. This is also true for people just starting out who haven’t properly got accustomed to their technique, or do not have enough mobility or stability to properly execute a squat past a certain point. 

The difficulty with understanding how you should be squatting is due to the fact that everyone has their own opinion on the matter, and it seems like there is no consensus, but this is also down to you listening to your own body. If at any point a squat is painful for you, you’re probably doing it incorrectly. 

Hey Arnold Nicksplat | DNAfit Blog

One thing we can all agree on is that squatting is important…

Why?

  1. It’s a multipoint exercise that utilises large muscle groups (this in turn will lead to greater levels of hypertrophy, greater testosterone stimulation)
  2. It’s representative of many movements we do in daily life (getting up off a chair/off the toilet/out of bed)
  3. It can assist in the development of an optimum “figure” (i.e. bum), which is very important for many males and females who place a premium on their body.

There is one school of thought that suggests that some people, biologically, have a deep hip socket, which is great for walking and rotational power for sports but it does mean that you need to put in more effort if you want to squat deep.

The squat is exactly how we at DNAfit view all exercise and nutrition. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and you need to build up your own ability to squat and find what is best for you.

Before you just right into those squats make sure you've got the basics covered download your Fitness Hacks for Beginners guide. 

Download Fitness Hacks For Beginners to optimise your training

Types of squats

Deep squat

Woman doing a deep squat | DNAfit Blog

Being able to execute a full deep squat is a good thing. Doing the move requires a full range of motion at all four of the body’s major load-bearing joints (the ankles, knees, hips and shoulders) and proper mobility throughout the spine. But not all of us are able to do a full deep squat for various reasons that can be down to your bone structure or your body’s overall ability to lower itself down low – which is due to your range of motion and flexibility. It is probably better to build up to a deep squat because it requires a lot of effort from your entire body. 

Doing a deep squat has also been associated with reducing lower back pain, which has become a problem all over the world due to us working in offices and not being as active during the day as we would like. A recent study explains how “independent connective tissue dysfunctional patterns arising during the execution of the deep squat may serve as mobility prerequisites driving in-office conservative treatment, and active home care exercise recommendations. The deep squat tests joint mobility, muscle flexibility and strength, and coordination between all these variables mentioned.”

Before you do the deep squat, you can try these other variations of the squat in order to build up your strength.  

Bodyweight squats

For a lot of people squatting is difficult due to the weight of the load and not the actual squat. For this reason, bodyweight squats are a great starting point. Maybe what is hurting your form is the amount of weight you’re adding to the bar, but with bodyweight squats you’ll be using your own weight and will be able to improve your functionality.  

Plyometric squats

Woman doing plyometric squats | DNAfit Blog

A plyometric is any movement where one or both of your feet leave the ground. Here, you will jump up from being in a squatting position and then come back down. What it does is develop your muscles under a greater intensity and adds a little bit of cardio, if you continue to do this for 30 seconds with a short recovery period between sets, to your strength training to give you a more comprehensive workout.

Pistol squat 

Man doing pistol squats at the beach | DNAfit Blog

The pistol squat requires a lot of balance and stability, and is a great way to increase your range of motion. Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, parallel to the floor. Raise your right leg off the floor, and hold it there. Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can. Pause, then push your body back to the starting position.

Weighted squats

Woman doing weighted squats at the gym | DNAfit Blog

The zenith of squatting is adding weights to a bar and then performing the squat without the assistance of a Smith machine. Here, you are increasing the load which serves to bulk you up and increase the strength in your back, legs, glutes, core and a number of other muscle groups that are activated under the force of the weight.

To do a weighted squat with proper form you’ll need to stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place the bar across your shoulders, taking care to not put it on your neck. Now squat down with your best form. Without the extra assistance, it means that your core will be working harder because you’ll need to use all your balance and stability to keep your form.

Indications of improper technique

  • Feeling pain
  • Not being able to go low
  • Not keeping your back straight
  • Knees going inwards

Whatever squat variation you choose, you will reap the benefits as this is one of the most important exercises to do for full body strength. Squats will build your overall size and strength, mobility and stability and if you have the flexibility to go “ass-to-grass” then you should definitely use your full range of motion. 

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