How To Do Full Squats


The Squat has often been referred to as the king of exercises. And even though most people consider them a “leg exercise”, they are really a total body exercise.

The full squat works everything from your traps to your calves. Plus they they stimulate the central nervous system to release higher levels of natural growth hormone and testosterone. Which will make you bigger and stronger all over.

We all know that we should squat, but the problem is that the squat is one of the hardest exercises you can do. Not just because it’s so physically demanding, but it’s a technical lift to perform properly.

Have you ever had trouble squatting deep?

Most people do, for a lot of guys their legs just lock up half way down and that it feels very unnatural to break parallel and do a full squat.

Part of the problem why it’s hard to do a deep full range of motion squat is that we generally lack of flexibility in the hips and ankles and just the lower body in general.

As babies we naturally have this flexibility, but years of only squatting deep enough to sit on a chair has caused our legs and hips to tighten up.

Baby's Can Do Full SquatsBabies Have The Flexibility To Squat.

Back in the old days people could maintain their hip flexibility because they used to shit in the woods. So everyday you literally had to do a deep squat in order to take a dump. But with the modern invention of the indoor toilet we no longer have to squat deep. The toilet’s and chairs have taught everyone to only do partial squats.

However, you can start taking action to improve this now by working on stretching more and improving your overall flexibility. One move in particular that you can do is holding the bottom position of a squat and getting comfortable with that position. Just like the baby is in the picture above.

In addition to that I’ve posted a video clip that shows how you can gradually build up to safely doing full range of motion barbell squats in the gym.


Click PLAY To Watch The Video:

Note: if you are on an iPad and can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it right on my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here





Note: if you are on an iPad and can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it right on my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here





Note: if you are on an iPad and can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it right on my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here





Note: if you are on an iPad and can’t watch the embedded video clip above,
you can watch it right on my YouTube Channel by Clicking Here

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Leave A Reply (28 comments so far)


  1. mattm
    2 years ago

    Haha, that’s good stuff. Once I stopped laughing, I went in and tried full squats with only about 100 pounds. Felt a little shaky, but after three or four, it felt fine. Thanks, Lee.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  2. David
    2 years ago

    Not not many people in the gym I frequent do squats because of the likelihood of injury but those that do many of them do not do the full squat. Since injuring my back doing squats (sitting position) some years ago I’ve kept clear of the exercise until fairly recently. I have found an alternative which is front squatting using the Smiths machine, taking it down to a full range deep squat. This is very demanding for me and seems like an all round body exercise. I workout on my own so using the Smiths machine also gives me confidence in squatting but I’ve not seen anyone else in the gym doing this exercise.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  3. Bill
    2 years ago

    I have the PowerTec Leverage Squat machine. The angled foot plate makes it easier to get low and I don’t worry about loosing control and getting hurt.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  4. Sam
    2 years ago

    Hi Lee, Great article
    I’ve been doing breathing squats for about 3 months. Do breathing squats give you a bigger ribcage when you’ve done them for a couple of years?

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  5. cory
    2 years ago

    i will be trying it this weeks leg day thanks lee for the great tip

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  6. Tom
    2 years ago

    yes, most people that think they are doing squats are only doing knee bends. other than myself, I can count the number of people that I have seen doing full squats at my gym on one hand. that mirror on the wall isn’t there for vanity. it’s a tool and should be used as such.

    it’s always funny to see the look on the face of a knee bender the first time they break parallel and do a full squat. one real rep is usually enough to make them pull some weight off.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  7. Tom
    2 years ago

    when using a machine you lose much of the full body benefit of the squat. since the machine stabilizes the weight, machine squats are just another leg exercise. they are not a full body exercise, and great muscle builder, like the freeweight full squat.

    Bill,

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  8. Scott
    2 years ago

    Another reason I think you are less likely to blow out your knees with full ROM is because if you are truly doing a “leave a stain on the floor” squat, you will likely be using less weight than you would on a “thighs parallel to the floor” squat. Your tendons and muscles will be stretched with a weight you can truly tolerate thru the entire ROM.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  9. Ben
    2 years ago

    I got up to 195kg (430 Pounds) and obviously didn’t keep perfect form on the last rep because I’ve strained a disc in my lower spine (even with a weight belt). The chiropractor said I’m prone to a herniated disc now and I should take it as a warning. He told me to lay off the weights for 4 weeks and to drop the weight right down again (once I feel I’m ready to squat again) and not to go as far as even parallel due to the strain it’ll put on my lower spine. Does anyone know if ass-to-grass squats, at a low weight would be safe for me?

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  10. leehayward
    2 years ago

    Sam,

    The high rep squats along with pull overs can help to stretch the muscles around the rib cage and help develop them and this can give your rib cage a bigger thicker look.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  11. leehayward
    2 years ago

    Ben,

    Chnaces are you will, but it’s going to take some time. Injury rehab can be a slow process. When you are back to training again take it really easy try doing squats with your bodyweight. If you can full squat with bodyweight without pain or discomfort. Then you maybe able to try squatting with the empty barbell. And from there try increasing the weights by a couple kilos per week.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  12. Sam
    2 years ago

    Hi Lee
    If you do low rep squats every day with a heavy weight on your back for over 7 minutes then will you gain bigger/stronger ankles?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  13. The average person associates strength with the upper body. Broad shoulders, a deep chest,
    and thick arms are seen as the primary signs of a big, strong guy.

    Nobody really thinks about the legs. If you ask somebody-even a little kid-to make a muscle, he’ll pull up his sleeve and show you a biceps shot. No one ever drops their pants and flexes a thigh at you!

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  14. Jaime
    1 year ago

    leehayward,

    what if your in your 30′s can the rib cage still be expanded?

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  15. Derek
    11 months ago

    “shit in the woods”…that’s awesome! :D lmao

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  16. Bill
    10 months ago

    Hey Lee great article
    I do heavy squats and just recently my Magnus adductors have become bigger. Is that a sign of strength in the second stage?

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  17. AJ Marshall
    9 months ago

    hey Lee I can squat OK but I m getting a little older and due to lower back stiffness and tight legs and hips ” feet problems too, high arches, Plantar fasciitis. I feel I can handle the weight, but I cant get under the weight same with dead-lifts, so my form suffers. Any tips to improve range of motion, flexibility. I m also thinking physio or chiropractor ???? some nagging Judo injuries too. I have lost ROM and flexibility over the past few years. Some points I might add my groin seems to be week and my feet flare out. Also, my ass goes out like a duck. Not enough shitting in the woods LOL I suppose.
    AJ

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  18. leehayward
    9 months ago

    AJ Marshall:
    hey Lee I can squat OK but I m getting a little older and due to lower back stiffness and tight legs and hips ” feet problems too, high arches, Plantar fasciitis. I feel I can handle the weight, but I cant get under the weight same with dead-lifts, so my form suffers. Any tips to improve range of motion, flexibility. I m also thinking physio or chiropractor ???? some nagging Judo injuries too.I have lost ROM and flexibility over the past few years. Some points I might add my groin seems to be week and my feet flare out. Also, my ass goes out like a duck. Not enough shitting in the woods LOL I suppose.
    AJ

    One exercise that may help you with your squat workouts is to include good mornings as part of your routine. You can even swap out squats and do good mornings for the next several weeks. This will build up your back, hips, glutes, and hamstrings. All the major muscles that come into play when squatting.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  19. Bill
    9 months ago

    I use to squat really heavy until I woke up one morning and found my ankle badly swollen up covered with pain. And you tell the Mrs has no say?

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  20. Jaime
    9 months ago

    Hey Lee, any alternatives to squatting? Its not that I don’t want to squat, been squatting heavy for some time and actually one of my favorite exercises, but my knees are really bummed right now. I don’t feel the squatting played a role in the knees, it was something else. Going to get the knees fixed soon, hopefully.

    Thanks
    JC

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  21. Bill
    8 months ago

    Hi Lee, very useful videos,
    I stopped squatting 3 weeks ago due to ankle injury, but now I’m doing them as I used meditation to overcome my injury. When I squat I break parallel and stay there for a moment but I don’t go right down, what do you think?

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  22. Andrew Reagan
    8 months ago

    Dude i just got turned on to you in the last couple weeks. I love your knowledge and how you share it. I have learned more in two weeks then all year from my trainer buddy. I need to shed pounds, where could I begin?

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  23. Andrew Reagan
    8 months ago

    Derek,

    Bears do it all the time…..lol

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  24. Thomas
    7 months ago

    Hi lee thomas mc donagh here from ireland ya that looks great the tips u have works great starting to see improvements already thanks keep it going man all the best thomas.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  25. Thomas
    7 months ago

    Hi lee thomas mc donagh here from ireland ya that looks great the tips u have works great starting to see improvements already thanks keep it going man all the best thomas. Do’s it take u long to get ready for a show.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  26. Thomas
    7 months ago

    Hi lee ur deadlifts are a very good way to prep for a powerlifting comp.nice 1 man

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  27. leehayward
    7 months ago

    Thomas:
    Hi lee thomas mc donagh here from ireland ya that looks great the tips u have works great starting to see improvements already thanks keep it going man all the best thomas.Do’s it take u long to get ready for a show.

    I personally allow for 6 months of prep for a bodybuilding contest. I like to take it slow and steady when training for fat loss.

      (Quote)  (Reply)


  28. Gian Franco
    7 months ago

    Dear Lee, thank you for the hint of the “Hise Shrug” and keeping the good old-school techniques alive.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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