Are Deep Squats Bad for your Knees

  1. Are Deep Squats Bad for your Knees


    There are lots of articles online about the safety of deep squats, but I donít think most convey the truth or the uncertainity involved.

    Here is my new article: Are Deep Squats Bad for your Knees?


  2. Sub'd for an educated response from someone who knows. I've read various places that deeper squats put less stress on the knee joint and apply stress more evenly across the quad. Anecdotal evidence tells me that there is nothing wrong with squatting deep as long as form isn't sacrificed. Why wouldn't you want to use a full ROM?
    Go hard. Go heavy. Never stop.

  3. Stance and width play a role in this. It's hard to go both wide and deep without the knees moving laterally, which would obviously be a bad thing.
    M.Ed. Ex Phys

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  4. As stated in the article, the issue seems to lay in the menisci and articular cartilage. If I'm not mistaken peak forces on the acl occur at 30ish degrees of flexion and forces on the pcl increase until 90 degrees where they peak and decrease as you go beyond 90.

  5. Quote Originally Posted by tigerdb2 View Post
    As stated in the article, the issue seems to lay in the menisci and articular cartilage. If I'm not mistaken peak forces on the acl occur at 30ish degrees of flexion and forces on the pcl increase until 90 degrees where they peak and decrease as you go beyond 90.
    Exactly.

    Ligament problems only occur usually in high impact sports.

    The pint is that there is some clear uncertainty and all the articles out there just make it clearly one sided. Convey the uncertainty and let you and your client decide what is the best option based on his needs, circumstances,age and so forth.

  6. No deep squats are not bad for your knees. The knee joint is capable of flexing to approximately 140 degrees. It has been shown that those who squat deep actually have greater knee stability. You should squat as deep as you can while maintaining good form.

    "Powerlifters squatting double their body weight, to depths of 130 degrees of knee flexion, have been shown in studies to have more stable knee joints than individuals who do not squat. In fact, separate studies have revealed that the knees of those who regularly squat deep are more stable than distance runners and basketball players! In one study of female volleyball players, researchers concluded that there was no statistically significant increase in peak forces at the knee when squatting to depths of 70, 90, and 110 degrees of knee flexion. Yet another study showed that forces on the ACL are reduced as the knee is flexed beyond 60 degrees, and forces on the PCL are reduced as the knee flexes past 120 degrees. Still further studies show that powerlifters who are squatting over twice their body weight experience shearing forces on the knee that approximate only 25% of the maximal tensile strength of the ACL, and 50% of the maximum strength of the PCL."

    1. Schoenfeld, BJ. Squatting kinematics and kinetics and their application to exercise performance. J. Strength Cond. Res. 24(12): 3497-3506. 2010.
    2. Fry, A.C., J.C. Smith, and B.K. Schilling. Effect of hip position on hip and knee torques during the barbell squat. J. Strength Cond. Res. 17(4): 629-633. 2003.
    3. Caterisano, A., Moss, R.F., Pellinger, T.K., Woodruff, K., Lewis, V.C., Booth, W., and Khadra, T. The Effect of Back Squat Depth on the EMG Activity of 4 Superficial Hip and Thigh Muscles. J. Strength Cond. Res. 16(3): 428Ė432. 2002.

  7. I don't think anybody is arguing that it's dangers for the acl and pcl are far overstated but there is legitimate question as to the long term affects of heavy loading with regards to the articular cartilage and the menisci, which are important as well.

  8. What tiger3db2 said. Did you read the article Suqatdeep 77? I do deep squats too.

  9. Deep squats actually put less stress on the knee as the quads and glutes are the primary movers, stopping half way down actually stresses the knee more, because it both stops and initiates the movement, at the knee joint.

  10. Bros, read the article before you comment, please.

  11. Quote Originally Posted by toddgranit View Post
    Deep squats actually put less stress on the knee as the quads and glutes are the primary movers, stopping half way down actually stresses the knee more, because it both stops and initiates the movement, at the knee joint.
    ^This!
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  12. Quote Originally Posted by Lilbulldogz View Post
    ^This!
    Come on this what? If you see this less stress, we should see it on a study.But we don't see it. It only sounds good in theory!

  13. Quote Originally Posted by anoopbal View Post
    Come on this what? If you see this less stress, we should see it on a study.But we don't see it. It only sounds good in theory!
    The article in general is inconclusive of the safety of different depth of squats. Why would our opinions change?

  14. Quote Originally Posted by broda View Post
    The article in general is inconclusive of the safety of different depth of squats. Why would our opinions change?
    What do you mean? Didn't understand your question.

  15. Quote Originally Posted by anoopbal View Post
    What do you mean? Didn't understand your question.
    The article said that to properly gauge the effects of different squats depth they'd need to follow people for a 15-20 year span for anything conclusive. I'm pretty sure that article isn't going to change anyone's opinion on the matter.

  16. Quote Originally Posted by broda View Post
    The article said that to properly gauge the effects of different squats depth they'd need to follow people for a 15-20 year span for anything conclusive. I'm pretty sure that article isn't going to change anyone's opinion on the matter.
    There are not many things that will give a conclusive answer.

    And what are peoples opinion? Do a search on google and you will find all the articles quoting 'studies' to conclude that that deep squats are safe.

    That is probably the only article out there which shows how deep squats may not be safe. There is clearly an uncertainty there. But people want 'yes or no' answers and that probably will never happen.

  17. a simple way to follow decades of results of deep squats. look at olympic lifters and its injury rates. i have heard it is one of the lowest injury rates for any sport. and their 2 things they compete in have them deep squatting for both. sounds pretty darn good to me that deep squats are safe. is it proof, maybe.

    there is also the asian squat, or that is at least what i call it. there are many 3rd word countries where people sit in a deep squat instead of seated in a chair. they do this most of their life and yet IMO knee problems are a 1st world problem.

    sure its just more conjecture. so think what you will with what you have.
    you can call me "ozzie" for short.

  18. Quote Originally Posted by asooneyeonig View Post
    a simple way to follow decades of results of deep squats. look at olympic lifters and its injury rates. i have heard it is one of the lowest injury rates for any sport. and their 2 things they compete in have them deep squatting for both. sounds pretty darn good to me that deep squats are safe. is it proof, maybe.

    there is also the asian squat, or that is at least what i call it. there are many 3rd word countries where people sit in a deep squat instead of seated in a chair. they do this most of their life and yet IMO knee problems are a 1st world problem.

    sure its just more conjecture. so think what you will with what you have.
    Doesn't count if they're asian =p

  19. Quote Originally Posted by Squatdeep77
    No deep squats are not bad for your knees. The knee joint is capable of flexing to approximately 140 degrees. It has been shown that those who squat deep actually have greater knee stability. You should squat as deep as you can while maintaining good form.

    "Powerlifters squatting double their body weight, to depths of 130 degrees of knee flexion, have been shown in studies to have more stable knee joints than individuals who do not squat. In fact, separate studies have revealed that the knees of those who regularly squat deep are more stable than distance runners and basketball players! In one study of female volleyball players, researchers concluded that there was no statistically significant increase in peak forces at the knee when squatting to depths of 70, 90, and 110 degrees of knee flexion. Yet another study showed that forces on the ACL are reduced as the knee is flexed beyond 60 degrees, and forces on the PCL are reduced as the knee flexes past 120 degrees. Still further studies show that powerlifters who are squatting over twice their body weight experience shearing forces on the knee that approximate only 25% of the maximal tensile strength of the ACL, and 50% of the maximum strength of the PCL."

    1. Schoenfeld, BJ. Squatting kinematics and kinetics and their application to exercise performance. J. Strength Cond. Res. 24(12): 3497-3506. 2010.
    2. Fry, A.C., J.C. Smith, and B.K. Schilling. Effect of hip position on hip and knee torques during the barbell squat. J. Strength Cond. Res. 17(4): 629-633. 2003.
    3. Caterisano, A., Moss, R.F., Pellinger, T.K., Woodruff, K., Lewis, V.C., Booth, W., and Khadra, T. The Effect of Back Squat Depth on the EMG Activity of 4 Superficial Hip and Thigh Muscles. J. Strength Cond. Res. 16(3): 428Ė432. 2002.
    I 100% agree with you... If people are developing knee problems then their either squatting too frequently or, squatting with bad form.
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  20. Quote Originally Posted by asooneyeonig View Post
    a simple way to follow decades of results of deep squats. look at olympic lifters and its injury rates. i have heard it is one of the lowest injury rates for any sport. and their 2 things they compete in have them deep squatting for both. sounds pretty darn good to me that deep squats are safe. is it proof, maybe.

    there is also the asian squat, or that is at least what i call it. there are many 3rd word countries where people sit in a deep squat instead of seated in a chair. they do this most of their life and yet IMO knee problems are a 1st world problem.

    sure its just more conjecture. so think what you will with what you have.
    Anecdotal, but I saw some of the prettiest bodyweight overhead squats in clients who had recently came here from India. Great depth, no excessive lordosis into kyphosis, feet remained in contact with the floor on all three points (heel, 1st and 5th meta-tarsal), and perfect knee tracking. So...yes, 8-10 hour sitting jobs (despite activity levels) are likely hell on the knees and entire kinetic chain.

    I like your example, but I also think olympic lifters have some of the best hip and shoulder mobility of any athletes...and they are both anthropometrically and trained to optimize the deep squat. So, they may not be the best example unless we can carry it over to people who have been deep squatting with excellent coaching since they were 10 or 12.

  21. Quote Originally Posted by asooneyeonig View Post
    a simple way to follow decades of results of deep squats. look at olympic lifters and its injury rates. i have heard it is one of the lowest injury rates for any sport. and their 2 things they compete in have them deep squatting for both. sounds pretty darn good to me that deep squats are safe. is it proof, maybe.

    there is also the asian squat, or that is at least what i call it. there are many 3rd word countries where people sit in a deep squat instead of seated in a chair. they do this most of their life and yet IMO knee problems are a 1st world problem.

    sure its just more conjecture. so think what you will with what you have.
    It is a simple way, but the wrong way.

    Did you get a chance to read the article? I have wrote what exactly the problem is with looking at olympic lifters and saying deep squats are safe. It's called selection bias.

    What we clearly see in this thread is how people cannot embrace uncertainty. They either want a yes or a no.
  22. Future
    Future's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by ZiR RED View Post
    I like your example, but I also think olympic lifters have some of the best hip and shoulder mobility of any athletes...and they are both anthropometrically and trained to optimize the deep squat. So, they may not be the best example unless we can carry it over to people who have been deep squatting with excellent coaching since they were 10 or 12.
    This almost sounds like we are getting into nature/nurture to some extent. I think both are valid.

    Good write up with many variables to consider for squatting. I certainly am biased that squatting is safe.

    I am still curious to see research about knee wraps causing patella friction and its long term effect on the knee.

  23. Deep squats for me, were much more beneficial then doing partials or box squats. Getting the full range of motions actually helped build up the muscle around my hips and knees, resulting in less injuries.

  24. The biggest factor with knee pain and squatting, actually stems from a lack of ankle mobility. Poor ankle mobility can lead to leaning in on a squat and can result in knee pain.

    If you take proper precautions to increase mobility in all areas, the risk for injury greatly decreases.

    This was a pretty good article on T-nation about a joint-by-joint approach.

    http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1618485
  

  
 

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