How Low Is Too Low When Squatting?
There is no one size fits all when it comes to squat depth.
Your mobility, proportions, and the stimulus you are going for are all factors in determining how low your squat depth should be.
For example... Here are some personal examples of how my desired STIMULUS changes my squat depth:
When I back squat or air squat I go hips just below parallel, because my focus is on hip drive out of the bottom position and efficiency so there isn't really a need to go ass to grass.
When I front or overhead squat, I go well below parallel so that the strength training will carry over to my receiving position in the Olympic lifts.
When I am working on mobility or resting, I sit in an ass to grass squat (usually bodyweight only with a rounded back). And here are a few more examples, although this time it's about how MOBILITY restrictions change squat depth:
In order to keep an engaged core and stable midline, I rarely go lower than an inch or two below parallel when back squatting. If I go any lower, I feel my pelvis rotate into a butt wink so I pause just before that depth.
For my front and overhead squats, I go ass to grass because my back position is relatively stable even in the bottom position.
In hindsight, I really didn't give a straight answer to the "how low should you go?" question from earlier, but that's honestly because there is no easy answer.
You have to prioritize a braced midline (some exceptions exist when working mobility/resting) and getting hip crease below parallel. After that, it's up to the individual in terms of how low for all the reasons I've stated above.
One last tip, if mobility is preventing you from hitting the positions you want, the best way to improve it is to simply squat more.
Group Class Programming for Monday, February 27, 2017: