T Nation



ok so i'm still a beginner... been lifting for maybe 8 or 9 months now, but only squatting for a month or two, not sure.

anyway, i'm in a strength program with heavy sets of 4, doing squats... nothing heavy compared to all you guys, i mean my last set was 4 reps of 175 pounds.

i'm going really deep, deep as i could, and this guy comes and says not to go deep, only parallel. He insists if i go deeper i will get a hernia.

i know most ppl say go deep, but this hernia thing has got me paranoid.. is there any truth to it? I didnt even know what a hernia is, so i looked it up... so what kind of hernia could happen from squatting? what organ would protrude from where?

pleaaaaaaase ease my pains and fears, im going paranoid about this.


The only reason why I would tell someone not to go deep is if the botton of their spine starts to curve at the bottom of the movement. This usually happends with people who have long femurs (thigh bone). Otherwise, go as low as your flexibility allows you to go. If you look up any articles on this website they pretty much all suggest going "Ass To Grass" aka ATG on squats because when you go through the full ROM you're glutes, hams and quads share the stress and work together to move the load more effeciently. By stopping at parallel your knees get a lot of stress--more than if you were to do full range of motion.


So you get a hernia if you go deep huh?

Honestly, I've never heard of that one.

If I were you I would ask him to show you some documentation on that one. Otherwise, continue to squat deep and you will have great results.


Going deep in the squats has nothing to do with developing hernias.


Hernias are usually congenital in origin, meaning you are born with weak spots that never fully close. Any sort of physical activity, or a strained bowel movement for that matter, could open these further and let the intestines descend. I used to do parallel squats, then I got a double hernia. Now, 14 years later, meshed and stapled up, Ass to Grass all the way, and no more issues from hernias.


intestines descend where exactly?

I used to sometimes get a lot of sudden pain in the groin somtimes, and i went to have it checked int he hospital and the nurse said it might be the intestines descending or something. But i doubt that as it happened sometimes without me moving at all, while only sitting. anyway i'm pretty sure it was from stress/anxiety as it only happened before final exams for a few weeks and then never again.

so anyway, since you did parallel and got them anyway, and since its most likely something you're born with, i'll keep going ATG.


and how do i know if the spine curves at the bottom of the movement? curves from where and to which direction?

maybe i shouldn't keep worrying and just keep squatting ATG.


Never heard this before, maybe your buddy is just hating on you, can he do ATG squats as heavy as you?

I had a groin hernia at age 16 and it was no joke. I squatted minimal at that time. I played a lot of basketball at the time. It was like a third nut sitting on my lower adomin and it required surgery. I have since squatted a lot and heavy and never had an issue again.

To check for groin hernia, put one hand on your lower abdomin and blow forcefully on the other hand. If your groin area hurts from doing this or you feel a bulge then get it checked out.



Have someone look at your tailbone and ask them if it "tucks" in at the bottom of the movement (if you can't feel it). If it does then I would limit our ROM to as low as you can go without it "tucking".


my parents told me that i got a hernia when i was a child..like 2 years old.

anyway i squat heavy, this is starting to scare me a little bitt to...we need a t doctor in here.


crap man now i am really scared...

"What is it?
The abdominal wall is a sheet of muscle that acts like a human corset to stop the organs of the abdomen - principally, the intestines - from falling out. When a weakness or tear occurs in this muscle, part of the intestine bulges through and appears as a lump under the skin.

In the past, hernias were often called ruptures. They are most common in the groin (inguinal hernias).

Anything that raises the pressure within the abdomen, such as heavy lifting (for example, weights or building materials), coughing, even straining on the toilet, can cause a weakness or tear in the abdominal wall.

Vigorous exercise often results in hernias

Vigorous exercise often results in hernias. Just look at how many professional sportsmen suffer: Gazza, Alan Shearer, Jeremy Guscott, to name but a few.

Sometimes the weakness is already present - for example, from birth around the umbilicus (umbilical hernia) in children or under the scar of an operation (incisional hernia).

When a hernia first occurs you may have a feeling that something has given way and may experience a little pain. This soon wears off. Later, a lump appears. This doesn't hurt and may get bigger when you cough.

Although in most cases hernias just cause discomfort and are a bit of a nuisance, the real worry is that they will strangulate. This means they get stuck and their blood supply is cut off, which requires an emergency operation.

Diagnosis and treatment
If you suspect you may have a hernia, you should get a doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

In the past, trusses where used to keep the hernia in place, but these days it's better to have a simple operation to repair the weakness before further problems arise.

Hernia operations are the most common operations performed on men in the UK

Hernia operations are the most common operations performed on men in the UK. The NHS performs more than 100,000 hernia repairs every year. Most operations are done in under an hour and you can go home the same day.

A special mesh material is used for the repair and, depending on the local hospital arrangements and your own fitness, it may be done under local or general anaesthetic and sometimes by keyhole surgery. With some advanced techniques you can be back to work in under a week, although this depends on your job and what the surgeon advises.

Of course, prevention is always better than cure. Try to maintain your ideal weight and lift correctly, bending at the knees and keeping your back straight.

Stopping smoking will help to prevent excessive coughing and eating a good, high-fibre diet (with plenty of water) will help to avoid constipation and the need to strain on the toilet. "


WTF? Are you trying to start a hernia pandemonia? Like I posted before, I was 16 when I got one and did not lift heavy. I got it fixed and moved on. Since then I have squatted over 500 ass to the grass and I have been fine. The other side did not tear and the fixed one was fine. If you dont want to squat and you are looking for a way out, take your way out. You lift heavy you will encounter your share of injuries and a groin hernia may or may not happen to you. If you cannot accept that then join the f*cking basket weaving club. I dont even know why I waste my time replying to this shit.


Okay, put it this way, getting exercise and being fit strengthens your body, most likely including any interior structures that need to keep things where they belong.

If you have some type of born in issue, exercise or not won't make a lot of difference.

However, where I suspect most hernias come from is when sendentary guys try to move heavy furniture or lift heavy objects and go for a sendentary fat guy max, and their body has absolutely no experience with intense effort on a regular basis.

Basically, if you really can't help but be paranoid about injuries, the prescription is really to keep your rep ranges higher, such that while you feel a lot of strain on later reps, the actual load lifted is not as high on any particular rep.

Whatever you do, work within a range you are comfortable with and as you get stronger, increase it. If you get an injury, you get an injury, just don't do anything stupid or dangerous while you are working out.


I second this! Although I just had a left reducible inguinal hernia (surgery was actually last thanksgiving, happy turkey day eh?). Anyways, I'm back deadlifting more than ever, and front squatting ass to grass easily, and feel no weird things going on.

No mesh for me either (apparently, me being young enough (16 at the time of surgery), the surgeon figured I'd heal up nice and strong. So far he's been right.:smiley:


I guess AA is right... just forget about it and keep lifting. It seems people who got hernias survived it and it's a really simple operation.. and after you've had the operation it seems its impossible to get a hernia again in the same place... so in a way that's comforting.

i'm 21 in any case, so if i'm no susceptible to hernias from congenital problems then i dont have to worry about it for another 20 years when my body starts to deteriorate.. but in fact, working out hard now may make my body stronger and stronger with time, like Vroom said, so that my body does not detriorate as fast as others, and i'm decreasing the chance of getting a hernia in my 40's or later!

(let's hope that's sound logic but in any case.... i'm gonna keep lifting hard).


Thats the spirit. Like previous posters said, dont do anything stupid and you will be fine. Shit is going to happen and sometimes you just do not have any control over it. Think of it this way, statistically there is a chance you get into an accident while driving your car, does that mean you stop driving? Just dont go swerving all over the road to increase your chances of getting hit.


everytime i go to deadlift a buddy tells me i'm going to get a hernia. i just tell him i'm looking forward to it.


Haha, good one. Next time he is standing next to you or gives you shit while doing deads, drop the bar a little sooner than he expects and a little closer to him than he likes. That has worked for me in the past..