Squats – you either love them or hate them. But either way, any experienced weight trainer will tell you, squats are essential to having an effective and well-rounded workout. Here’s why:
- Hamstring Strength – When you squat, your hamstrings are put into motion and strengthened. Strong hamstrings can help you with running, sprinting, and other activities.
- Glute Strength – Squats are excellent for enhancing your glutes; the stronger your glutes are, the more lower body strength you have to work with.
- Calf Strength – If running or moving faster is your goal, then squats are definitely something you want to incorporate into your workout routine. Your calf muscles support the power you have available to you in the lower portion of your body.
- Quad Strength – Quad strength is essential to provide your knees with proper stabilization and extension capabilities. Squats are a great exercise to build quad strength.
- Core Strength – Squats don’t leave out your torso area with its strength training. When you build up your torso strength, you can look forward to having better posture and more fluid movement; this is because your body doesn’t need to put in as much effort to keep you stable.
- Joint Strength – The muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones that you put to use all day every day could use all the strength-building help they can get. Squats are an excellent way for your body to work the pivotal joints that enhance your range of motion (ROM) and keep you moving.
- Improved Posture – Your core strength has a lot to do with how well you maintain your posture. Squats can help with your posture by focusing on torso and hip strength.
- Improved Mobility – When you perform squats, you put your body through several different positions, which can help you with your ROM.
- Improved Power – Overall, squats are amazing power boosters. When you regularly incorporate squats into your workouts, you can see significant improvements to other activities like sprinting, running, jumping, and weight lifting.
- Injury Prevention – As with any good workout move, the strength-building benefits that squats elicit can help you prevent injury through other workouts due to your increased power.
Now that we’ve established the long list of benefits that squats have to offer, we’ll discuss one of the most popular and useful variations of the squat exercise: ass-to-grass (ATG) squats.
What Are Ass-to-Grass (ATG) Squats?
There are quite a few different variations of squats that can be performed. Some of them focus on keeping the squats parallel to the floor. In contrast, others require individual leg movement during the exercise. With ass-to-grass (ATG) squats, you can expect to perform similar to a basic squat, but your hips will need to go past your knees and as far down towards the floor as possible. With ATG squats, you don’t hold the position, but you can consider the rep complete once you cannot bend any farther and then return to your starting position.
What Are the Unique Benefits of ATG Squats?
So why would you choose to perform ATG squats over other squat variations? ATG squats have unique benefits not offered through different squat variations:
- Enhanced Quad Focus – ATG squats help build size and strength in your quads more than any other squat variation. This is because as you work to lower past your knees, you’ll need to use your quads a great deal to support this type of movement.
- Improved Flexibility – If there’s one squat that’s great for helping improve overall flexibility, it’s the ATG squat. It takes a lot of coordination and mobility control to perform the ATG squat correctly. However, when you get the movement down successfully, you’ll likely notice an improvement to your body’s flexibility overall and with other exercises.
- Knee ROM – The ATG squat exercise engages your knees a great deal and requires deep knee flexion. By perfecting this movement, it can help with the performance of other weight lifting moves.
- Help with Other Squat Performance – If you’ve ever tried to perform other squats or exercises that require a good deal of lower body strength, you know it can be difficult if you haven’t trained your lower body accordingly to offer the needed strength. ATG squats are an excellent exercise to perfect first before moving on to other variations; this way, you have the power required to support required movements.
How to Effectively Conduct ATG Squats
As with the introduction of most new exercises and routines, it can be helpful if you use a trainer to guide you at the start. But we’ve also put together a quick step-by-step for you below to get you started:
- Stand upright with feet shoulder-length apart.
- Extend your arms in front (chest level) while keeping them also shoulder-length apart.
- Begin to squat down towards the floor. Keep your torso and head straight as you bend at the knees.
- While directing your weight and pressure to your heel area, lower your butt as close to the ground as possible. Once you’ve reached your lowest point, move back to your starting position to complete your rep.
Pro Tips to Enhance Your ATG Success
While ATG squats have the potential to be incredibly effective, we’ve got some pro tips below that can help take your workout to the next level:
- You don’t necessarily need to stand with your feet at shoulder-width distance. Some squatters find that if they have a smaller stance engaged while squatting, they have an easier time performing the needed motions.
- If you’re lifting a bar while performing ATG squats, consider lowering the weight by five to ten percent when you first start out. This can allow your strength (and you) to be more focused on perfecting the squat movement itself.
- Squats put a lot of pressure on your ankles. To build ankle strength to help with your ATG squats, try doing some banded ankle dislocations or standing heel raises.