This isn't a question about what squat depth is, however, so we're on the same page I am using the IPF's official powerlifting definition:

[...] the lifter must bend the knees and lower the body until the top surface of the legs at the hip joint is lower than the top of the knees.

Whenever I ask a friend about my depth they say I'm going ATG. However, from my perspective, it looks like I'm just hitting parallel. I've started pulling up a bit but I don't want to stop the lift too high now. It is rather difficult to see your hip joint in standard gym shorts.

Usually, I've squatted until I get this feeling like my hip is tilting? My thighs aren't sitting on my heels though which is what I imagine an ATG squat should be.

My question is: does anyone have a good method of how to determine you've reached IPF's squat depth during the squat set?

  • You could find a box that's at or just below IPF depth (you can just sit on it to figure out if it's low enough) and practice squatting to that, just to get used to the position. You could also take pictures / video yourself in that position to compare it to actual squatting depth. Honestly though, your best bet is to find a powerlifter, someone who's competed a fair amount of times, or even someone who judges, and ask them (in my local powerlifting gym, then owners are both judges, so you never know)
    – Dark Hippo
    Jan 30, 2020 at 9:17
  • @DarkHippo, I currently take videos of most heavy sets. However, that's a reactive judgement. It doesn't help me during the lift. A box might be an idea (not a box squat but just something to bump). There is a powerlifting gym about 45 minutes from me too... might be time to check it out.
    – C. Lange
    Jan 30, 2020 at 22:31
  • 2
    Ah, I meant it more as a bit of a system. Take a picture of you sitting on the box in the ideal bottom position, then take video and compare to see if you hit depth. If you want a way to judge while you're actually doing the set (which, in hindsight, is probably what you're after) then I'd say a box / piece of string at the right height for you to gently touch (there might be a temptation to sit on the box, or if you're going to lose the lift, it can get in the way, a piece of string you can just feel the contact and drive up).
    – Dark Hippo
    Jan 31, 2020 at 7:30
  • If you're going to compete, then I'd recommend checking out the local powerlifting gym. You might pick up some tips you've never thought of before (like wearing squat shoes to bench in, the heel allows you to keep the sole of the shoe flat while arching your back more), plus you can check out the local competition ;)
    – Dark Hippo
    Jan 31, 2020 at 7:31

1 Answer 1


I attempted @Dark Hippo's method of using a "piece of string" at the correct height. I used a band along with the safety pins of a power rack to set up something I could bump to know I hit depth. What happened though is that it was inconsistent. If I took a wider stance, narrow stance, knees too far forward, and more, that band-line wasn't quite deep enough or even too high.

What has worked for me is simply filming myself are reviewing my lifts after the gym. I got myself a Gorillapod knock-off for my phone and I mount it at about hip height to film. So, for me, the best method is simply going to be: execute > feedback > execute.

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