ATG (Ass To Grass) squats are so deep that the hamstrings of the lifter touch the calves. It doesn’t get any deeper than that. Well, it does, but it’s dangerous. Truth be told, most people don’t have the flexibility required for proper ATG squats. Chances are that you don’t have it either unless you are very young. Children don’t have a problem squatting ATG style because they have phenomenal flexibility. As we age, our mental and physical flexibility is lost slowly due to restrictions imposed on us by the world.
If you cannot maintain a proper alignment while squatting ATG style, it’s dangerous to squat this way. The hardest part is keeping the arch of your lower back. If your back is flexed at the bottom, there will be some serious stress on your spinal ligaments. Squatting this way is one of the fastest ways to hurt your lower back. However, if you can maintain a good arch, you can safely squat ATG style.
If you desperately want to ATG, but you don’t have the flexibility, you will have to sacrifice time and effort to develop it. There are many drills that you can do. One option is to become proficient at front squats, which allow even inflexible people to go a little deeper. You could also improve your active flexibility by performing a variety of mobility exercises such as goblet squats and wall squats.
Keep in mind that all weightlifters use special weightlifting shoes to squat deeper. All weightlifting shoes have elevated heels, which make it easier to squat deeper. For more information on squat shoes read this article.