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Do These 3 Things to Squat Ass to Grass

Dec 07, 2023

If you struggle to squat ass-to-grass with a barbell on your back, you might have been told that you lack ankle mobility.

Or that your hips are tight.

And maybe that’s led you down the rabbit hole of calf stretches, banded drills, and foam rolling.

But before you resign yourself to a lifetime of stretching and mobility, it might be worth considering something else: your centre of mass.

 

Centre of Mass

Achieving a deep squat is dependent on being able to control your centre of mass.

Depending on your structure, this may be easier or harder to do.

Your limb length, and the position of your pelvis and rib cage, all interact and influence your centre of mass.

Most people have a centre of mass that is too far forward.

That means they shift forward onto their toes, have trouble hitting depth and find their lower back fatigues quickly.

If that’s you, the challenge becomes learning to control your centre of mass and shift your weight backwards.

With that in mind, here are three things you can do today to help shift your centre of mass and access a deeper squat:

 

1. The Stacked Position

The stacked position refers to the position of your ribcage and pelvis ‘stacked’ on top of each other to maintain a neutral spine.

This may seem unnatural.

At rest, most people have some degree of anterior pelvic tilt, where their pelvis is tilted forward.

This causes their ribcage to push forward and their lower back to arch slightly.

For normal day-to-day movement, it’s not a problem.

But when it comes to squatting, starting off in this position means you’ll compromise your lower back, reduce the force you can produce, and quickly run out of room in your hips.

You might experience this as low back fatigue, a pinching in your hips, or just as an inability to squat deep.

By setting the stacked position, you eliminate all of these issues.

You create space in your hips to achieve a deeper squat, and you load the muscles you’re trying to target

To set the stacked position, exhale as much as you can while bringing your rib cage down towards your belly button, being careful not to round your back excessively.

Setting the Stacked Position

From there, take a small sip of air into your belly while expanding your torso from all angles, as if bracing to be punched in the stomach.

As you do so, make sure your ribs don’t flare up.

This will be your starting position.

From that point, try squatting down.

If stacked properly, you’ll be amazed at how much more depth you can achieve and how strong and stable your squats feel.

It’s an instant game-changer.

 

2. Anterior Load

If you’re having trouble accessing and maintaining the Stacked Position while squatting, try using an anterior load.

Rather than placing the barbell on your back, have a go at something like a Goblet Squat or a Front Squat.

By placing the load at your front, your body will automatically shift your centre of mass back to stop itself from tumbling forward.

You’ll find this creates more of a neutral pelvis and instantly gives you more depth.

 

3. Heel Wedges

Another instant way to find a deeper squat is by using some elevation under your heel.

This can come in the form of plates or wedges. It doesn’t really matter, so long as it brings your heel off the ground but is still stable.

Heel wedges allow your ankles to start in a more plantarflexed position, giving them more room to move throughout a squat.

This can help you reach more depth.

And before you ask, this isn’t cheating.

Like using a machine, it’s an external cue that allows your body to achieve a desired position.

Not only will it mean you’ll get better at finding that position and, therefore, squatting.

But it also allows you to train in that position so your body can recognise and emulate it later, without the elevation.

So, if you want to achieve a deeper squat, you must find a way to shift your centre of mass back.

Using the stacked position, anterior load, and heel elevation will help you achieve and practice that position, which you can then transfer to your back squat.

If you’d like to know more, feel free to get in touch.