If the deepest you ever squat is under load, then it’s time to build a movement buffer. You are never at your strongest at end-range. So, if you’re maxing out your squat depth under load, you are either compromising on weight or on technique—probably both. By having access to more squat depth than you absolutely need for a heavy lift, you’ll keep your hips healthy and your squat smooth.
Enter the Pry + Pump Squat Mobility Drill
This drill is one of my personal favourites. It helps you connect your knees to your feet and to interact with the ground in a meaningful way. And if you don’t think the ground is important, then try squatting without anything to push into.
A little bit of weight will make it easier to sit back (more vertically). Begin by squatting down until you feel the first bit of resistance or compensation. Typically, this is where you begin to change your strategy and might see changes in the hips or low-back. We’ll stop things before this happens. Relax a bit here.
Bring your weight onto the inside edge of one foot and then drive that same portion of your foot into the ground. You will now push into the ground enough to take the slack out of things. This is the hidden zone between relaxation and beginning to rise up again. There’s some magic in that zone! Once you’ve loaded up enough to juuuuust about start moving, relax again, switch to the outside edge of the same foot and repeat.
You’ll go back and forth between feet, tensioning up and relaxing just a little more deeply with every rep. Once you’re sitting as deeply as you can with relaxation and no compensations happening, you can do a bit of deep breathing to seal the deal.
Let’s go to the video!