Squatting, a compound exercise that is often seen in the gym these day are widely encouraged by the gym patriot to squat as low as possible (as though they are achieving the Ass to Grass Motion). Being considered as one of the activities for daily living, having the ability to squat is paramount for everyone regardless of age or gender.

Imagine you are in a gym setting, in-front of you are several squat racks being used for barbell squat exercise. As you were glancing through each user’s form, you realised that not everyone is achieving the “Ass to Grass Motion”

Squatting in a layman term actually means having yourself to sit on an invisible chair. This motion is very similar to squatting. During its concentric phase (concentric muscle contraction involves movement which cause tension on the muscle as it shortens) as known as lowering phase, they are “sitting” on the invisible chair. On the other hand, the eccentric phase (muscle are lengthened in the process of contraction). This is where they are rising up back to the starting squat stance / position (as though you are standing from an invisible chair).

There are a lot of factors causing one to have less depth when squatting:

  1. Inadequate ankle dorsiflexion mobility
  2. Tightness around the ankle joint area
  3. Torso to Femur and Femur to Tibia ratios
  4. Shorter torsos and longer femur
  5. A longer Tibia and a short femur
  6. Smaller stance

Although having in ability to complete a squat is depressing, every issues comes with a solution. In order to counter these “flaws”. There are some creations like the lifting shoe, which consist of a raised heel made out of non-compressible material. It allows you to actually get into a lower position as it increases the ankle range of motion. Additionally, with the upward trends of using resistance bands, stretching can be a good aid to achieve one’s mobility issues.

Alternatively, different kind of squat which can achieve similar muscle target area like Goblet Squat or Hex Squat are good beginner exercises for people who have little range of motions. These exercises help to ensure forms are executed well to prevent injury when more loads added.

The main focus of this article “Is squatting Ass to Grass (ATG) the most effective way in targeting the muscle group required” I would say it varies for one another. Their mobility as well as other components which cause limited range of motion squat actually fine. There are a lot of research done in regards to ATG squats vs Parallel squats. According to them, there are no correct form/stance as everyone are born differently. It is individualised as the “gold standard” we learnt are only a reference point for guidance.

In conclusion, ATG squat will only be benefit for those who have good range of motion. For those can only achieve parallel squat should not be despaired for ATG as there are abundant exercises out there which can achieve similar results. After all, squatting is not that tough if good forms are executed the muscles will still grow and we will get stronger as days goes pass.

Elton Peh
Tactical Performance