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Squatting below parallel

ajdos

ajdos

MuscleHead
Sep 8, 2010
2,282
386
#13
Mark Rippetoe once said "Yes, if you squat wrong it fucks things up. If you squat correctly, those same fucked-up things will unfuck themselves.".

I can't recall the name of the study right now, but there was one done on squatting in terms of knee placement and the stress that derived from it. When knee movement was restricted from going past the toes the stress was placed on the hips and lower back and away from the knee, as it should be. Most knee problems you will see from squatting occur from improper form.
Yes, if your knees travel out in front of your toes there is a lot more stress on them, alot of this has to do with individual biomechanics and ankle flexion/flexibility.

If you can squat with a narrow stance and keep your heels down without your center of gravity pulling you forward you will most likely never have bad knee problems from squatting, this was a characteristic that the Soviets looked for early on with their youth trainees for powerlifting/olympic lifting...besides their anabolic usage they had some of the best olympic lifters in olympic history for this reason.

If you are like me, and have shitty flexion and your knees travel over your toes during a squat at narrow stance, then you can counter this by widening your stance AS you go up in weight. Alot of leg days I do this and then drop down to 315 for reps with a narrow stance that is slightly below parallel and another set at 225 for the same. The narrow stance as hard as it is on knees for some is also one of the best for hitting the lateral aspect of the quads.
 
big_paul_ski

big_paul_ski

MuscleHead
Dec 13, 2010
2,374
349
#14
I have heard all the nonsense for years about going below parallel and got given a lot of shit for only going too parallel yet I have been squatting heavy for 21 years and have no knee problems and not many people touch me in the leg dept.
Its all a bunch of gym lore bullshit if you ask me, going below parallel only involves hamstrings and glutes more and quads a little less, its also the reason a lot of people fuck up their knees and cannot do squats any more after a while.
When I do anything below parallel its only slightly and with a lighter weigh and higher reps.
well done bruther!
 
J

jute

Senior Member
Dec 22, 2010
142
9
#15
I powerlift so we have to break parallel....My last 2 sets last night were 505 for 5.. That was our light squat night. All those were breaking parallel. If your sitting back, knees flarred, your knees will be fine.. If your knees are coming forward, thats when your fuck things up..
 
W

Wolf

MuscleHead
Dec 25, 2010
274
45
#16
That's a good point about flexibility. I had problems with flexibility at one point, it took me a long time with the tips of my toes planted against the wall and going into a deep squat to get it right.
 
D

deadweight

MuscleHead
Sep 20, 2010
2,294
497
#17
I have heard all the nonsense for years about going below parallel and got given a lot of shit for only going too parallel yet I have been squatting heavy for 21 years and have no knee problems and not many people touch me in the leg dept.
Its all a bunch of gym lore bullshit if you ask me, going below parallel only involves hamstrings and glutes more and quads a little less, its also the reason a lot of people fuck up their knees and cannot do squats any more after a while.
When I do anything below parallel its only slightly and with a lighter weigh and higher reps.
I hvae to agree with u aj....you dont need to go so deeep to build quads....this myth has been around along time...I know many myths that have been lurking around forever have been proven wrong over and over again....anyone that is a bb doesnt need to squat so deep.now on the other hand if your a powerlifters its nessary to go deep because your judged to break parallel....i allway break parallel simply because if my back gound as a powerlifter but in reality i know u can built thick quads without going so deep..the muscle is being worked reguardless....its all a matter of what type of lifter u are....dw
 
Like_a_Weed

Like_a_Weed

MuscleHead
Jan 25, 2011
399
7
#18
It's my understanding that squats arent so much a quad excercise as it is primarily glutes/hips that are moving the weight if done right. So the best way to squat for your quads isn't necesarily the best way to squat. Going below parallel forces better activation of the glutes/hips/hams when driving the weight up, thus protecting your knees. I guess it depends on your goals. Good squats help your knees, bad squats hurt them, whether you go beyond parallel or not. I always try to go as deep as possible.
 
ajdos

ajdos

MuscleHead
Sep 8, 2010
2,282
386
#19
It's my understanding that squats arent so much a quad excercise as it is primarily glutes/hips that are moving the weight if done right. So the best way to squat for your quads isn't necesarily the best way to squat. Going below parallel forces better activation of the glutes/hips/hams when driving the weight up, thus protecting your knees. I guess it depends on your goals. Good squats help your knees, bad squats hurt them, whether you go beyond parallel or not. I always try to go as deep as possible.
True...but depending on your biomechanics one mans 'good' squat can be another mans 'terrible' squat...I think each person has to find their own personal groove when it comes to this exercise, its a high risk exercise much more so compared to any other it takes a specific from one person to another and if you wanna keep on getting your entire body to grow squats and deads are kings, the people who have the ability to grow beyond their own genetics without doing them must have some seriously out of this world genetic potential.
 
chicken_hawk

chicken_hawk

MuscleHead
Oct 28, 2010
718
149
#20
Myself I squat till the top of my thigh at the hip drops below the top of my rectus femoris or just above 90 degrees probably, BUT I took a tip from yates and pre exhaust with a few sets of leg extensions first. Now my ass is take out of the picture and my quads get smoked.

Hawk
 
KBD

KBD

I Look Good...
Sep 13, 2010
2,312
107
#21
I have been doing well with squats but I'm having a hard time going below parallel because i am afraid of losing my balance or not getting the weight up. any tips to help me overcome this?
Use lighter weight till you get the hang of it.
 
biguglynewf

biguglynewf

TID Board Of Directors
Oct 11, 2010
693
141
#23
Nice posts here....great thread indeed. Take it from someone who has terrible knees. Be careful, and do whatever you can to protect them. I'm 35 in June and some days I swear I feel 85. Good advicce AJ as always.

This topic is near and dear to my heart right now as I just did my first squats since April 2010 yesterday at 6 months + 1 day post op from a major knee surgery.

The thought of a narrow stance squat makes me feel a little sick to my stomach. Any chance of one of those have long since past...lol.
 
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