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Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down?

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gannet
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2009/07/28 17:14:27 (permalink)
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Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down?

Hi, I've recently started a mass building programme so have been concentrating on just doing deads, squats (back squat) and bench press.

I've been squatting so that my knees are bent at roughly 90 degrees, (thighs parrallel to the floor), but the videos I've seen on here have the squat all the way down to the floor.  My thinking was that squatting to 90 degs would be easier on the knees.  Do the benefits of squatting all the way down outweigh any possible damage to the knees?  Is it something I should consider as a beginner?

I've read some stuff on here about front squats targeting the quads better so will try that next time, but suppose the same question applies?

cheers lads

If ya can't be gud, be gud at it
#1

14 Replies Related Threads

    dirtyvest
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/28 17:19:59 (permalink)
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    Whatever works for you TBH, while it goes against the trend, many have built great legs without full depth.

    However, as a general rule when one mentions what they squat, the minimum requirement is parallel and if you can go right down there's no real argument to stop you.

    I actually find it easier on the joints etc to go rock bottom, if I have to stop the weight and then start it again the opposite direction 'manually' then I do find it bothers me.

    Limits, like fear, are often just an illusion: MJ 12/9/09
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    #2
    iaink
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/28 18:15:39 (permalink)
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    Rember squat depth/ROM is not judged by knee angle.

    You can have 90 degree flexion at the knee and still be way of parrallel. Parrellel is defined (as per powerlifting rules) as the crease where the top of the thigh meets the hip joint is in line with the top of the knee.

    Stonehenge
     
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    #3
    dirtyvest
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/28 18:52:46 (permalink)
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    You can have 90 degree flexion at the knee and still be way of parrallel


    Very true, as you get forward 'flexion' (probably not the correct term for this movement at this joint ) at the ankle, 90deg at the knee may well be quite some way of parallel

    Limits, like fear, are often just an illusion: MJ 12/9/09
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    #4
    iaink
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/28 19:33:58 (permalink)
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    I did a study on my undergrad degree using the squat performance (to 90 degrees) as a depened variable. Pretty much everyone was above parrallel and some were very high.

    Stonehenge
     
    Where the banshees live and they do live well
    #5
    Gymguy
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/28 20:12:52 (permalink)
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    SQUAT DEEP!!! As low as you can. For more info read book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoes or you could find something on internet, here for example:
    http://www.36pounds.com...below-the-parallel-myth/

    Squating deep develops your legs fully (involves glute and hamstring training which and is better (easier) for knees!). In my gym, most people don't squat and if they squat the do quarter squats thinking they go to parallel...

    Good luck
    post edited by Gymguy - 2009/07/28 20:15:06
    #6
    gannet
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/29 13:21:06 (permalink)
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    Thanks everyone for the feedback, I really appreciate it.  Especially grateful for the link dirtyvest, some good references there which is what I'm looking for.  I'll give the deep squats a try and see how I go.

    Thanks again everyone.

    If ya can't be gud, be gud at it
    #7
    south_west_male
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/30 20:50:10 (permalink)
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    The following is sourced from 'Juice Performance' and makes good sense to me.
     
    There is a lot on confusion nowadays about the squat exercise. And I’m not just talking about clients. I have continual discussions with Instructors and Personal Trainers on the courses I teach about the depth and technique for squats. This confusion stems from having an industry that is constantly progressing and evaluating current thinking on topics like ‘fat burning’, ‘low-CHO diets’, ‘aerobic exercise for fat loss’ and the continual question…. Is this Functional?

    The Question of Squatting is one of these little gems. Should I squat? Should I keep my knees back? Should I go down to 90 degrees or parallel with the floor? Mummy why’s that sweaty man doing Squats going ass-to-the-grass (aka Full Squat)? Let me lay out my cards from the start… I’m a big fan of Full Squats (definition – where an athlete controls the application of gravity in a sitting position, until the distal hamstrings make contact with the proximal calves). So should everyone be full squatting with identical technique every time they perform a sitting action… No. Why? It depends on a multitude of factors - ahhhh ‘the grey area’ of a topic. Students hate grey areas; they want it to be black and white, right and wrong, yin and yang etc. Unfortunately that isn’t the case with a lot of things. Should I be following a low-CHO diet? – well it depends. How much aerobic training should I be doing each week? – well it depends. Should I stay with my wife or go on a road-trip around Australia? – well it depends. As I said – grey area. With squatting it would come down to factors like exercise variation, ROM, anthropometrics, desired outcomes, stability, sport and style. Squatting will never be a one-cap fits all exercise.

    So what’s the issue with Full Squats? The reasons people seem so scared of this exercise is because of articles and books written in the 1960s by an Doctor called Karl Klein. He proposed that Full or Deep squats could increase knee instability, promote acute knee injuries and predispose athletes to long-term knee degeneration. Whoe, sounds serious! Well they are valid concerns, however Klein seems to be the only researcher that proved these claims. A comprehensive literature review by the NSCA in 1991 demonstrated that the ‘research has indicated that the squatting motion has no detrimental effect on medial and lateral knee stability, rotational stability or anterior and posterior knee stability’. Many authors question the reliability of Klein’s measurements. Unfortunately every muppet that had an issue with squatting jumped on the bandwagon, chastising anyone who continued to use a classic exercise within their routine. This opinion continues today with many training providers and ‘knowledgeable’ educators teaching their students to undertake only half squats and/or restrictive knee squats. These fresh-faced students nod and repeat parrot-fashion, unaware that the advice they are being given is out-dated. Claims of ‘That’s not what I was taught when I did my course’ are heard throughout the land. The ability to critically evaluate something is a moderate to higher plane of learning rather than simple parrot-fashion reproduction statements, which are the very basic level of learning (where do you fit?).

    For anyone that’s screaming it’s bad for your knees, they should think about going on holiday. I would advise Thailand, Indonesia… indeed any South-East Asia, African or Australisian country. Why? Well you will see dozens, no hundreds, no maybe even thousands of men, women and children sat for hours in a full squat position, undertaking tasks such as food preparation, reading or even (if you’re lucky) defecating! No knee problems, no back problems, pretty good postures and good ROM. Interesting. Maybe if the likes of Sir John Harington and Thomas Crapper hadn’t invented and popularised the flush toilet, we would all have adopted the full squat position once or more per day, and may (repeat ‘may’) not have some of the postural and flexibility issues we encounter today in the UK and western world.

    As a concluding comment for those of you about to commence squatting as a part of your conditioning programme. I would advise mastering the bodyweight full squat, with a ‘natural’ technique, nit just a technique you were ‘taught on your course’. Seek a knowledgeable trainer who can assess and correct and technical flaws and restrictions. These trainers are usually the one’s who appreciate that learning only starts when you finish your level 2 or level 3 course, and will spend anywhere between 5 and 10hrs a week (yes a week) on improving their own knowledge. Good luck and happy squatting!

    #8
    danchubbz
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/31 08:58:24 (permalink)
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    thinking outside of knee health and more about muscles used, am I right in saying quads will be used more in parallel and hams/glutes more on deep squats?
    #9
    Gymguy
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/31 12:02:24 (permalink)
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    danchubbz

    thinking outside of knee health and more about muscles used, am I right in saying quads will be used more in parallel and hams/glutes more on deep squats?


    I think if you only go to parallel, the quads will work just as much, but when you go deeper, it adds glutes/hams work. If you want to increase the work quads do, then stand narrower.
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    iaink
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/31 18:09:20 (permalink)
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    danchubbz

    thinking outside of knee health and more about muscles used, am I right in saying quads will be used more in parallel and hams/glutes more on deep squats?


    Will the quads work harder in a parrallel compared to a deeper squat? The answer is probably no. Generally there will be greater knee flexion with a deeper squat.
     
    Dose a shallower squat proportionatly stress the quads more than a deeper squat, whilst recuiting less hip flexors? Yes, as there will  be less hip flexion.
     
    Off course the style of squating, body segment proportions etc will make for lots of individual difference.

    Stonehenge
     
    Where the banshees live and they do live well
    #11
    iaink
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/07/31 18:10:14 (permalink)
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    Gymguy

    danchubbz

    thinking outside of knee health and more about muscles used, am I right in saying quads will be used more in parallel and hams/glutes more on deep squats?


    I think if you only go to parallel, the quads will work just as much, but when you go deeper, it adds glutes/hams work. If you want to increase the work quads do, then stand narrower.


    The above is more succinct than my post! lol

    Stonehenge
     
    Where the banshees live and they do live well
    #12
    S777
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/08/01 13:48:19 (permalink)
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    interesting stuff.

    I tend to do both, go heavy and halfway down first, then strip it to a light weight and go asstofloor.

    #13
    Gymguy
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/08/03 12:52:29 (permalink)
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    Why not go deep and heavy? If you can go deep with heave weight, your partial squat will improve more too. Just don't deload too much, mate ;) Personally, I'd go as heavy as I can with full squat and then do 20 reps partial squats (heard 20rep squats helped a lot of people)..
    #14
    gannet
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    Re:Squat depth - quads parallel to floor, or all the way down? 2009/08/03 13:12:10 (permalink)
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    Cheers again everyone, glad I posted now as it's been alot of help!  Didn't even think about stance width Gymguy, will give that a go.  Doing 3 sets of 12 reps at the moment but will have a look at increasing to 20 as well.
    Thanks again lads.

    If ya can't be gud, be gud at it
    #15
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