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Squat depth?

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    Squat depth?


    What is the proper/safe squat depth? I was taught to go all the way down, but most of the guys I see squatting in the gym barely go 1/3 of the way down. Is there a danger to one's knees or back by going too low? That is, assuming you are already injury-free.

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    Squat Analysis

    The primary danger to the knee occurs when the tissues of the calf and thigh press together altering the center of rotation back to the contact area creating a dislocation effect. The danger of knee injury in this situation may be prevented if either of the following factor are present:

    * center of gravity of the body system is keep forward of the altered center of rotation
    * muscles of the thigh are strong enough to prevent the body from resting or bouncing on the calves.
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    What is your goal? If you are a powerlifter, you must go to parallel.

    However, if you are going to quad size and BBing, I would say go about 90% to parallel. This will keep the tension on the quads. I dont remember where it was, but I heard Markus Ruhl is a big fan of quarter squats. Im sure he goes a lot closer to parallel most of the time, but that proves that you can squat effectively w/o always going to parallel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsHectic
    Thanks for that link, ItsHectic. It's pretty detailed, but I don't quite understand it. I would still like to get Dr. John's opinion.
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    i'd assume it varies.. when im just lifting i go parallel... when im doing my powerlifting routine i go from parallel to past parallel... high box or low box squats
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    If you want to hit glutes as well go a$$ to the grass. If you have knee issues don't do this. Going to 90 is a safe bet.
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    i think a lot of guys in the gym go for maximum weight not realising that squatting 3-4 inches won't do bugger all, but they think it looks good. Parallel should yield reuslts....and dont look down!
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    You should base it on what feels natural for your body. For myself, I like going "ass to grass"....I can feel it more in my quads and glutes. Not sure if anyone else has this issue, but when I stop short of parallel, my knees actually hurt more.

    I've seen tall lanky guys try to go "ass to grass", but their body simply won't allow them to do so. Bottom line is to see what works best for you.

    Gumbo
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    Any opinions on this? I'm 6'4 and have always had problems doing deep squats. I feel a pain in my knee right above my kneecap if I go more than about half way down. Is there anything wrong with going down only halfway? Halfway definitely feels more natural for me.:squat:
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobInKuwait View Post
    Any opinions on this? I'm 6'4 and have always had problems doing deep squats. I feel a pain in my knee right above my kneecap if I go more than about half way down. Is there anything wrong with going down only halfway? Halfway definitely feels more natural for me.:squat:
    I am 6' 2" and I have the same problem with deep squats. For me to go deep, I have to open my legs past shoulder width. Now my knees hurts above the knee cap. How are your knees right now? I am to the point where I can't even do leg extensions without pain, or sitting long before my knees start to hurt.
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    You guys have to sit back and not down, your shins should be perpendicular to the ground throughout the squat. Make sure you are breaking at the hips and first and not the knees. Try box squatting for a while, it will teach you to sit back and it will also take some pressure off of your knees.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABNRanger View Post
    I am 6' 2" and I have the same problem with deep squats. For me to go deep, I have to open my legs past shoulder width. Now my knees hurts above the knee cap. How are your knees right now? I am to the point where I can't even do leg extensions without pain, or sitting long before my knees start to hurt.
    That's the identical problem I have. I also play volleyball and run and using a patella wrap has helped me a lot, but the problem is still there when I squat or do quad leg work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmiller383 View Post
    You guys have to sit back and not down, your shins should be perpendicular to the ground throughout the squat. Make sure you are breaking at the hips and first and not the knees. Try box squatting for a while, it will teach you to sit back and it will also take some pressure off of your knees.
    I'll give that a whirl. I'll try to think about the hip thing and do box squats.

    I'm pretty sure my form is on, as I have my weight entirely on my heels the entire lift, but it can't hurt to try something new at this point.

    Thanks for the advice. Reps.
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    I believe in "A$$ to grass" squats as long as they are controlled, and slow with no bouncing motion. Our coaches in HS prefered bounching when hitting the bottom of the rep, which to them translated to "explosiveness' on the field. Many people including my self had messed up knees b/c we followed the coaches and didnt know better. Now ive been all healed up, I still believe in a$$ to grass squats but very slow, and controlled.

    For all of ya'll with tall man syndrome like ihave had in the past,.... You could try a brief pause when reaching the bottom, to build knee strength and help control the impulse of leaning forward. I usually squat all the way down, pause for 3-4 seconds then press up. Since I started doin it this way, .. my leg mass and strength has soared above unbelievable. Then add in some high rep leg presses
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    Quote Originally Posted by brk_nemesis View Post
    I believe in "A$$ to grass" squats as long as they are controlled, and slow with no bouncing motion. Our coaches in HS prefered bounching when hitting the bottom of the rep, which to them translated to "explosiveness' on the field. Many people including my self had messed up knees b/c we followed the coaches and didnt know better. Now ive been all healed up, I still believe in a$$ to grass squats but very slow, and controlled.

    For all of ya'll with tall man syndrome like ihave had in the past,.... You could try a brief pause when reaching the bottom, to build knee strength and help control the impulse of leaning forward. I usually squat all the way down, pause for 3-4 seconds then press up. Since I started doin it this way, .. my leg mass and strength has soared above unbelievable. Then add in some high rep leg presses
    Did you ever feel pain in your knees? I've always tried to go as deep as possible until the last few weeks as the pain has gotten unbearable when I do that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by earthdog View Post
    What is the proper/safe squat depth? I was taught to go all the way down, but most of the guys I see squatting in the gym barely go 1/3 of the way down. Is there a danger to one's knees or back by going too low? That is, assuming you are already injury-free.
    There is no evidence that going below 90 degrees is harmful to the knees. The only thing you want to be careful with is keeping the muscles contracted all the way. Do relax at the bottom and then try to bounce out as this can cause seperation in the knee and damage to the connective tissue. There is a school fo thought with some supporting evidence that you do not need to train a muscle through the full range of motion to get optimal benefits. I have seen Ronnie Coleman train and he do not use the full range of motion.
  17. yea!!!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobInKuwait View Post
    Did you ever feel pain in your knees? I've always tried to go as deep as possible until the last few weeks as the pain has gotten unbearable when I do that.
    Yes i used to in HS, as my feet position was shoulder width, narrow stance. For tall people, with long legs,... it is possible to squat that way,....I do it with low weight, high reps, as I believe in hitting a muscle in all ways, all angles,.... but moderate to heavy weight kills my knees. What i did was move my legs out wider, point feet outward and allow the knees to bend outward more. This took out my knee pain, and tendency to lean forward.
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    Quote Originally Posted by brk_nemesis View Post
    Yes i used to in HS, as my feet position was shoulder width, narrow stance. For tall people, with long legs,... it is possible to squat that way,....I do it with low weight, high reps, as I believe in hitting a muscle in all ways, all angles,.... but moderate to heavy weight kills my knees. What i did was move my legs out wider, point feet outward and allow the knees to bend outward more. This took out my knee pain, and tendency to lean forward.
    I'll try that. That's always what my body naturally wants to do...point my toes out and widen my stance, but I've always avoided it because I've thought it was bad form.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobInKuwait View Post
    I'll try that. That's always what my body naturally wants to do...point my toes out and widen my stance, but I've always avoided it because I've thought it was bad form.

    as long as its not "sumo deadlift" wide lol, you'll be fine. only thing i had to get used to was the angle of my legs, as i would get weird stretch pains to the left and right of my groin, at the hip area. These were caused basically from my body not used to going a$$ to grass at a wider stance than usual, but the flexiblilty came in after a couple workouts, to were i can go just as low with a wider stance, as I could with a narrow stance. Get used to the stance, then add in 3 second pauses at bottom,..... woooo,... 3 reps of those will make you feel like you just did a 20 rep superset
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    box squats on 16"!
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    they say go parallel in general
    some of the tougher guys go further... i recon its bs if you dont go at least parallel

    some people do think going too low... like all the way down can be bad for you... some dont

    as long as you're going parallel to the ground you're fine

    heaps of guys at my gym stack up heavy weights and go 1/4ththe way down or 1/3rd... talk about cheating!
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    figured id chime in since im pretty tall...6ft4..i weigh 205 an squat 225 for 12 reps no prob....ive always been pretty flexible so i go all the way down til i touch my calves with my hamstrings....i think flexibilty has a lot to do with how deep you can go....i never ceases to amaze me how many people at most gyms cant squat...i usually get a ton of stares an then the occasional jack ass who after im done tries to do the same thing with the same weight.....most cant do 1 true rep with 225....and its sad when u watch guys throw 3plates on an bend there knees slightly an call it squatting.....if someone bench pressed with the same technique everyone would laugh but when it comes to squatting its like its acceptable....I think people dont understand its a hard exercise to preform....it sure aint curling or benching...
    Last edited by 805bgtymer; 12-18-2008 at 02:21 AM. Reason: spelling
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    Quote Originally Posted by 805bgtymer View Post
    figured id chime in since im pretty tall...6ft4..i weigh 205 an squat 225 for 12 reps no prob....ive always been pretty flexible so i go all the way down til i touch my calves with my hamstrings....i think flexibilty has a lot to do with how deep you can go....i never ceases to amaze me how many people at most gyms cant squat...i usually get a ton of stares an then the occasional jack ass who after im done tries to do the same thing with the same weight.....most cant do 1 true rep with 225....and its sad when u watch guys throw 3plates on an bend there knees slightly an call it squatting.....if someone bench pressed with the same technique everyone would laugh but when it comes to squatting its like its acceptable....I think people dont understand its a hard exercise to preform....it sure aint curling or benching...
    Well said, and I agree.
    It's what I see at my gym. And what my mates see at their gyms.

    I think its funny!
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    Quote Originally Posted by brk_nemesis View Post
    as long as its not "sumo deadlift" wide lol, you'll be fine. only thing i had to get used to was the angle of my legs, as i would get weird stretch pains to the left and right of my groin, at the hip area. These were caused basically from my body not used to going a$$ to grass at a wider stance than usual, but the flexiblilty came in after a couple workouts, to were i can go just as low with a wider stance, as I could with a narrow stance. Get used to the stance, then add in 3 second pauses at bottom,..... woooo,... 3 reps of those will make you feel like you just did a 20 rep superset
    I tried this at the gym yesterday, and wow, no pain, and I felt like I hit muscles I've never worked before. Thanks for the advice nemesis.
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    If you are free of injury, there should be no problem in going down to parallel. And, if not an advanced lifter, no real need to go down below parallel. There may or may not be any benefit in going a$$ to grass, but if you are reasonably new to serious squatting parallel is sufficient.
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    Speaking of squats! ITS GYM TIME! Just gulped down my shake and its time to go!

    Hopefully I can do the same weight as last time with a bit more easy! tiny gains add up and make me
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    earthdog, if you have some money I recommend you buy [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Strength-2nd-Mark-Rippetoe/dp/0976805421/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid =1229659614&sr=1-2"]Starting Strength (2nd Edition)[/ame], it has a solid chapter on the squat. I haven't finished reading it, but I've learned the proper stance for squatting and am starting with light weights to get my form in place. So far so good, no injuries and I get an awesome workout, and yes it is hard but very rewarding. I'm up to 135 for 20 reps :squat:
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobInKuwait View Post
    I tried this at the gym yesterday, and wow, no pain, and I felt like I hit muscles I've never worked before. Thanks for the advice nemesis.
    no prob bro, glad I could help,.... hopefully youll learn to luv squats now just like i do
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    Quote Originally Posted by earthdog View Post
    What is the proper/safe squat depth? I was taught to go all the way down, but most of the guys I see squatting in the gym barely go 1/3 of the way down. Is there a danger to one's knees or back by going too low? That is, assuming you are already injury-free.
    From the research I have read partial squats are much more stressful to the knees than going rock bottom. What you want to be careful of is going to the bottom and bouncing out after relaxing the quads. This can cause a separation in the knee adding a lot of stress to the patella. If you are going to go deep, keep the muscles tight all the way through the movement and then explode off the bottom.
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    i do both 1/4's and fulls. Fulls being top of thigh parallel with floor.
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    Doing any less than parallel is dangerous for the knees and lower back. Parallel is as deep as you should go for powerlifting. Deeper should be used in bodybuilding.
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    yeah deeper hits hamstrings and glutes more. I go ass to ground . I have done parallel which I can use more weight, I like the controlled ass to ground the best. feels real manly when you go all out with heavy weights, good form, and legs sore a few days after.
    Follow me on facebook, twitter and youtube, where I share information and videos to help you achieve your physique goals, John Smeton Ftness
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    It also depends on what works best for your goals. I have more powerlifting type goals, but wide stanced heavy squats makes my legs grow as well as get stronger.
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    yeah stance matters I can do more wide stanced cause Ive practiced a while. plus I have wide strong hips not the greatest for bodybuilding and have learned to increase backwidth and shoulders and legs to make the illusion appear better than the hips. anyways yeah close stance hits the outer quads , wide stance inner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by earthdog View Post
    What is the proper/safe squat depth? I was taught to go all the way down, but most of the guys I see squatting in the gym barely go 1/3 of the way down. Is there a danger to one's knees or back by going too low? That is, assuming you are already injury-free.
    Most of the guys in the gym train only arms and chest so why do you care about legs?
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    ^ Who cares what the idiots in the gym do. They aren't bodybuilders they're weightlifters. You in person might not care about legs but you'll look stupid walking around with a huge upper body and tiny lower body. If nothing else it will effect your athletic ability.

    I guess if you're only training to look pretty then legs don't matter much cuz the girls don't see them.... much. But calves will especially look weird if you have a huge upper body and little calves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergiu View Post
    Most of the guys in the gym train only arms and chest so why do you care about legs?
    I normally work out in the afternoon and there were some guys like this but not all. I went at like 7:30pm last night and it was a bicep curl/bench press bonanza. I've never seen so many people do so few exercises. Who would think with like 50 people in a medium sized free weight room, the 2 squat racks would be open the entire hour I was in there.
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    And then you started squating like 500lbs I hope? That'd just cap it off nicely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PowerlifterMB View Post
    And then you started squating like 500lbs I hope? That'd just cap it off nicely.
    Nah, I'm weak. I'm trying to get used to a wider stance. Only did 225x10 for like 3 sets of 10.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobInKuwait View Post
    I normally work out in the afternoon and there were some guys like this but not all. I went at like 7:30pm last night and it was a bicep curl/bench press bonanza. I've never seen so many people do so few exercises. Who would think with like 50 people in a medium sized free weight room, the 2 squat racks would be open the entire hour I was in there.

    LMAO so true!

    the dumbell / preacher curl section is always packed out with the 2 flat, 2 incline and 1 decline bench presses also busy with guys throwing on at least 80 pounds more than they can bench with 2 mates standing either side helping them get it up (not even full ROM)

    haha love it

    2 squat racks are always empty, its the empty corner i love it! all my workouts from military press, bent over rows, t-bars, squats, deads, pullups and dips are done in that one corner... other side of the gym 15 people... mine 1 or 2
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