Should I be going below paralelle on squats?

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    Should I be going below paralelle on squats?


    I was wondering if I'm going low enough on squats. I just hit parallel, when I'm squatting. I find it hard to go below this point.

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    Parallel is acceptable, but lower is even better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerickVonD View Post
    I was wondering if I'm going low enough on squats. I just hit parallel, when I'm squatting. I find it hard to go below this point.
    Just depends on what you want. Parallel is sufficient, and many people do not have the flexibility or cannot maintain good form to go any lower.

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    Going lower wreaks havoc on your knees, as does deep leg presses at less than 90 degrees. Aftera few months of A2G squats, I ended up with 60ml of luid being drained outta my right knee. I'd just do parallel and wrap them effers up when you go over 3 plates. JMHO!
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    I've been doin ATG for a year now, started because I wanted to build up the lower quads around the knee and it's been working. I don't have a problem with it but it depends on how the feel for you. If your having trouble going below parallel and you have well developed legs why risk it?
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    I think if its a major problem going ATG then you have flexibility issues that need to be addressed.

    Many people advocate using the full range of motion on a lot of exercises, so why is the Squat any different? I think if you have a pre-existing injury that prevents you from using the full range, then parallel squats are an adequate replacement, but if you can use the full range, just drop the ego and do it, the benefits are worth it.

    In my experience, having had major open knee surgery, squatting ATG/full range makes my knee feel better than parallel, no question.
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    I have trouble coming back up, if I go below parallel even if I lower the weight alot.
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    then lower the weight more for a set of all the way down, then do full weight to parallel afterwards
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    To me, this is really an individual matter. Theoretically, lower is better. However, for some there are mechanical issues that prevent a person from going all the way down, so parallel will have to do. As long as you are honest with yourself about really stimulating the muscle in whatever movement you do, you should be ok.
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    i get my ass an inch or two from the ground(pause and drive out) and 185 feels like a mac truck........lol

    Im only 5-10 though, I feel for you taller guys. My partner is over 6 foot and he has trouble going that low.

    Do whats comfortable and gets your personal goals accomplished.
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    Is there any stretches, that may help with me squatting?
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    remember that doing static stretches pre-workout will actually reduce strength. so do your warmups light as low as you can go, then do your heavy sets to parallel, then do static stretches afterwards. Can try a yoga class too if your gym offers em
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    I have a yoga video I downloaded, that I heard about from this site actually. I've just recently started watching it. I was just wondering if there were any specific stretches one should do to help them with squats. I don't have a gym membership, but might start going in December, once my friend gets his truck. I have a nice Olympic weight set and bench I workout with at home.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DerickVonD View Post
    Is there any stretches, that may help with me squatting?
    Stretching your legs, hips and and lower back may help a little, but there is no specific stretch is going to help you with squats. You would need to work on your mobility as well as flexibility re squats. Some people can just do them and others can't...As Eric said, light warm-up sets will probably do more for you than stretching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roids1 View Post
    Going lower wreaks havoc on your knees, as does deep leg presses at less than 90 degrees. Aftera few months of A2G squats, I ended up with 60ml of luid being drained outta my right knee. I'd just do parallel and wrap them effers up when you go over 3 plates. JMHO!
    Unless you are doing high bar olympic squats, and i doubt many people on here do them, you are incorrect.


    As far as loosenig up, i have a hard time squatting period without some very light briefs, i am terribly inflexible. I can do high bar squats, but that is not what i am trying to accomplish. Try loosening up your hips and groin, that seems to help me. And do alot of warmups. you don't have to go ass to grass for squats to be effective, i think the owner of MHP is the only bodybuilder i have actually seen in my life do full ATG squats. Also most guys who do ATG squats are not really getting all that low anyway due to their knee flair. If you squat with a wider stance, try and stay seated back, with as little knee flair as possible and break parallel slightly if you can, if you can't it is not like it is going to wreack havoc on your leg development. If you are not sure about the different types of squats, check out futures video here, he has an awesome high bar OLY squat video, if you want to see proper wider squat go to youtube and at type in John Bernor 720x5.
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    Some interesting studies:

    The effect of back squat depth on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles.Caterisano A, Moss RF, Pellinger TK, Woodruff K, Lewis VC, Booth W, Khadra T.
    The Department of Health and Exercise Science, Furman University, 3300 Poinsett Highway, Greenville, South Carolina 29613, USA. tony.caterisano@furman.edu

    The purpose of this study was to measure the relative contributions of 4 hip and thigh muscles while performing squats at 3 depths. Ten experienced lifters performed randomized trials of squats at partial, parallel, and full depths, using 100-125% of body weight as resistance. Electromyographic (EMG) surface electrodes were placed on the vastus medialis (VMO), the vastus lateralis, (VL), the biceps femoris (BF), and the gluteus maximus (GM). EMG data were quantified by integration and expressed as a percentage of the total electrical activity of the 4 muscles. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey post hoc tests indicated a significant difference (p < 0.001*, p = 0.056**) in the relative contribution of the GM during the concentric phases among the partial- (16.9%*), parallel- (28.0%**), and full-depth (35.4%*) squats. There were no significant differences between the relative contributions of the BF, the VMO, and the VL at different squatting depths during this phase. The results suggest that the GM, rather than the BF, the VMO, or the VL, becomes more active in concentric contraction as squat depth increases.

    PMID: 12173958 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE
    Effect of knee position on hip and knee torques during the barbell squat.Fry AC, Smith JC, Schilling BK.
    Human Performance Laboratories, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee 38152, USA. afry@memphis.edu

    Some recommendations suggest keeping the shank as vertical as possible during the barbell squat, thus keeping the knees from moving past the toes. This study examined joint kinetics occurring when forward displacement of the knees is restricted vs. when such movement is not restricted. Seven weight-trained men (mean +/- SD; age = 27.9 +/- 5.2 years) were videotaped while performing 2 variations of parallel barbell squats (barbell load = body weight). Either the knees were permitted to move anteriorly past the toes (unrestricted) or a wooden barrier prevented the knees from moving anteriorly past the toes (restricted). Differences resulted between static knee and hip torques for both types of squat as well as when both squat variations were compared with each other (p < 0.05). For the unrestricted squat, knee torque (N.m; mean +/- SD) = 150.1 +/- 50.8 and hip torque = 28.2 +/- 65.0. For the restricted squat, knee torque = 117.3 +/- 34.2 and hip torque = 302.7 +/- 71.2. Restricted squats also produced more anterior lean of the trunk and shank and a greater internal angle at the knees and ankles. The squat technique used can affect the distribution of forces between the knees and hips and on the kinematic properties of the exercise. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Although restricting forward movement of the knees may minimize stress on the knees, it is likely that forces are inappropriately transferred to the hips and low-back region. Thus, appropriate joint loading during this exercise may require the knees to move slightly past the toes.

    PMID: 14636100 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE
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    And another

    Comparative Effects of Deep Versus Shallow Squat and Leg-Press Training on Vertical Jumping Ability and Related Factors
    LAWRENCE W. WEISS1, ANDREW C. FRY1, LARRY E. WOOD1, GEORGE E. RELYEA2, and CHARLIE MELTON1

    1. Musculoskeletal Dynamics Laboratory, Human Performance Laboratories, Department of Human Movement Sciences & Education, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee 38152-3480, 2. Statistical Services, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, 38152-3480.

    LAWRENCE W. WEISS
    ANDREW C. FRY
    LARRY E. WOOD
    GEORGE E. RELYEA
    CHARLIE MELTON
    Young, previously untrained healthy men (n = 10) and women (n = 8) completed 9 weeks of periodized, machine-based squat training to determine if manipulating range of motion would have a differential effect on vertical jumping ability and related measures. Subjects were pretested and then randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: (a) deep squats (n = 6), (b) shallow squats (n = 6), and (c) controls (n = 6). Training took place 3 days per week. Pre- and posttesting included standing (RVJ) and depth (DVJ) vertical jumps for distance; machine deep and shallow squats for 1RM (1 repetition maximum) relative strength; and velocity-controlled squats at 0.51 mĚs−1 for relative peak force and at 1.43 mĚs−1 for relative peak power. Based on ANCOVA posttest results, the training protocols were ineffective in eliciting improved performance (p > 0.05) in VJ, slow-velocity squatting force, and moderately fast squatting power when performance was compared with the performance of control subjects. Conversely, the group training with deep squats was the only group to perform significantly (p < 0.05) better than controls for 1RM shallow squats and significantly (p < 0.05) better than both shallow-squat and control groups for 1RM deep squats. Furthermore, the coefficient of transfer for deep squats to both RVJ (2.02) and DVJ (1.68) was substantially greater than for shallow squats (0.31 and 0.11, respectively). It was concluded that deep-squat training appears to elicit the best improvement for both shallow- and deep-squatting performance. However, 9 weeks of machine-based, periodized squat training, regardless of depth, does not appear to appreciably enhance slow-velocity squatting force, moderately fast squatting power, or vertical jumping distance in previously untrained men and women.
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    im 6'1" 200lbs.. i go deep and have no knee problems. for some reason, going parallel is harder for me than going deeper.
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    ATG / Parallel squats


    On the subject of squats, how should weight factor in? My undertsanding has always been to lift as heavy as you can to build muscle (with good form and witin rep range). I was working out a few months ago with around 250 on the squat. The Y where I work out didnt have a mirror in front of the squat, so I got curious one day and got one of the workers to film me with my phone. Anyway, I was only going to just barely above parallel.

    After this I started making a conscious effort to pick a spot on the wall and make it to parallel. My list went to closer to 230 or so. Not a big change.

    I recently (2 weeks ago) started to do deep squats. With a rep range of 15 on my first set (doing huge in a hurry, just started) I have been able to only go 155x15 145x9 etc. I feel like a lightweight! Anyway, the top of the range is way too easy, but when I get low, it feels like I am so crimped up it is hard to breathe (squats already really work the cns) but I can definately feel my hamstrings and some other musclecome into play that were NOT really working before.

    SO, I feel like I am going to go way down on my quad size and lifts by doing this lower squat. Do I concentrate on the foll ROM and wait for it to all start to come up together (full ROM) or do I just stick with parallel and the heavier weight and just throw in deep squats occasionally?

    Thoughts?
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    Parallel is where you should be... they talk about it at www.customizedworkoutplans.com
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    I squat ATG. The extra time under tension helps and I take 4 seconds on the eccentric. I feel that parallel or less cause more sheering in the knee not less. My only issue is lower back strain when I go heavy (315+) and come out of the hole. But the belt solves that.

    I used to have knee issues before I starting doing only ATG 2 years ago. Knees have never been stronger than now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UGHQTempus View Post
    I squat ATG. The extra time under tension helps and I take 4 seconds on the eccentric. I feel that parallel or less cause more sheering in the knee not less. My only issue is lower back strain when I go heavy (315+) and come out of the hole. But the belt solves that.

    I used to have knee issues before I starting doing only ATG 2 years ago. Knees have never been stronger than now.
    Your back may be rounding at the bottom, i had a training partner who was extremely flexible and would squat the same way as you and his back kind of rolled at the bottom. Try and take a video of yourself, or try and cut the last inch or so off your squat and see if it helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcp2 View Post
    Your back may be rounding at the bottom, i had a training partner who was extremely flexible and would squat the same way as you and his back kind of rolled at the bottom. Try and take a video of yourself, or try and cut the last inch or so off your squat and see if it helps.
    I think my issue might be ankle flexibility (or a lack thereof.) Had two reconstructions and they don't like to travel too far forward. But filming is a damn good idea. Not sure why I didn't think of that myself.
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    I was wondering if I'm going low enough on squats. I just hit parallel, when I'm squatting. I find it hard to go below this point.
    Use light weight, and pause at the bottom for 2 seconds, then come back up. Also, make sure you look up as you go down and come back up. Helps to keep from rounding your back. Have u tried a board under your heels? That also helps. Make sure to drive up the weight with your soles.
    My friend has this same problem. We've been doing BOX SQUATS with light weight and, the pausing at the bottom exercise. Seems to be helping.
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    I agree with jcp2 any of you having back pains squatting deep should look to your form. It is real easy to round out at the bottom, esp when your concentrating on the drive out and you round out just a little for your legs to start moving then slide back into form. That would be a flexibility or possibly a fatigue issue I feel. When your tired, form is deff more diff. to hold. Thats when weaker muscles shine and you should be able to see your weakness, but put the bar down and prevent injury when form fails and work on those points. Davez325 has a good point too. If you raise your heels it will allow you to bypass the tight ankles, however I feel on me, it increases the pressure on my knees in porportion to how high I raise my heels. Thats not the only moderator for me thou. Bar placement higher or lower on my back and foot width and angle all play a role in depth possible. The limiting factors being which areas have less flexibility for the individual. Modifying the above can allow you to work around that.
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    DerickVonD,

    Above else, concentrate on your form first. Get it down perfect. Then, slowly start adding pounds. Don't worry about the pounds yet, until you have your form figured out.
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