T Nation

How Low For Squats?

How low does everyone think people should go for squats?

I’ve never really read how low to go.

[quote]MrBaseball0 wrote:
How low does everyone think people should go for squats?

I’ve never really read how low to go.

However low you’re physically capable of going.

lower than the floor

There are merits and uses for different depths and even widths of stances.

Personally, I have chosen to lower the weight in order to go “ass to the grass”. My knees have never felt better, and my hips and lower back are stronger and more flexible.

go down until your thighs are parallel to the ground

All depends on your goals.

1/4 Squat- Should only be used rarely in my opinion. Possible uses include supramax work on helping your body get “used to” heavier weights. I suppose if you had trouble locking out the squat at the top it would be helpful but people rarely have that problem

Parallel “powerlifting” Squat- In my opinion the bulk of squatting should be to parallel. It allows you handle a lot of weight and is the best squat for the posterior .

Full “olympic” Squat- If you are an athlete or an olympic lifter this should get a lot of use also. Helps range of motion and is great to correct muscle imabalances in jumping athletes.

Depends on the person and the goals.

If your training for power lifting obviously a decent amount of your squating is going to need to be at or slightly below parralel as this is what your training to become good at.

If your trying to build bigger quads load up the weight and squat a little shallower.

Want to hit the gluts/hams more go deeper.

when in doubt go as low as you can while maintaining good form.

i always go as deep as my flexibility will allow

loads of kids at the gym load up 4 plates a side, then squat it 4"

what is the point of that-training for the shelf stacking olympics?

ass to the grass.

Best core exercise ever.

[quote]Logical Lifter wrote:
MrBaseball0 wrote:
How low does everyone think people should go for squats?

I’ve never really read how low to go.

However low you’re physically capable of going.

And I’ll add without breaking form.

Full Range of Motion for the style of Squat you are using. Don’t do partial motion squats.

originally prepared and posted by Arioch and Spatts at elitefitness.com:

“There are several schools of thought on squat depth. Many misinformed individuals caution against squatting below parallel, stating that this is hazardous to the knees. Nothing could be further from the truth. (2) Stopping at or above parallel places direct stress on the knees, whereas a deep squat will transfer the load to the hips,(3) which are capable of handling a greater amount of force than the knees should ever be exposed to. Studies have shown that the squat produces lower peak tibeo-femoral(stress at the knee joint) compressive force than both the leg press and the leg extension.(4) For functional strength, one should descend as deeply as possible, and under control. (yes, certain individuals can squat in a ballistic manner, but they are the exception rather than the rule). The further a lifter descends, the more the hamstrings are recruited, and proper squatting displays nearly twice the hamstring involvement of the leg press or leg extension. (5,6) and as one of the functions of the hamstring is to protect the patella tendon (the primary tendon involved in knee extension) during knee extension through a concurrent firing process, the greatest degree of hamstring recruitment should provide the greatest degree of protection to the knee joint. (7) When one is a powerlifter, the top surface of the legs at the hip joint must descend to a point below the top surface of the legs at the knee joint.”

As low as you can go, which means that after a year of squatting you have no excuse for not kissing the ground with your buttcheeks.

If you’re a powerlifter, then as low as it takes for the green light to go on :slight_smile: Seriously now, I don’t powerlift, but I’m sure it is beneficial for the athlete to be able to squat ATG, even if the majority of his/her training is done only to parallel.

Reading some of Fred Hatfields stuff (1014 at 240lbs), he would high bar/deep squat most of the time…and only start powerlifting style squatting when he would peak for an event…roughly 8 weeks out.

[quote]Miserere wrote:

If you’re a powerlifter, then as low as it takes for the green light to go on :slight_smile: [/quote]

Dude, get it right, its 3 white lights!

I always squat all the way down and I see a bunch of people in my gym who load on a bunch of plates and squat about 40% of the way down. But I am defintly curious, if lets say you can squat 200lbs all the way down, how much do you think is possible to squat to parallel?

I go to parallel, though I’m aiming to get slightly below. I’ve tried going all the way down (with no weights), but I can’t do it without rounding my back at the bottom. (And forget about getting back out of it!) Does this have to do with flexibility and/or body measurements? I thought it could be related to the fact I have long thighs compared to my shins? (I’m just under 5’5" but wear 31" inseam pants)

[quote]fahd wrote:
Dude, get it right, its 3 white lights!

Like I said, I’m not a powerlifter! :slight_smile:

(Can powerlifters count up to 3…?)

I have to disagree that squatting all the way down recruits the hamstrings more. Taking a wide stance allows you to sit back much further and recruit the hamstrings and glutes much more than when you use a closer-stance olympic-style squat. I think there are five types of squats that everybody (especially athletes) should be doing:

1.) Olympic Front Squat
2.) Olympic Back Squat
3.) Powerlifting Back Squat
4.) Box Squat
5.) Overhead Squat (kind of a different animal, but certainly you can’t beat this for core stability and strength)

My idea of depth would be the mid point of your calf makes contact with the midpoint of your hamstring when in the bottom position. I think that’s very objective measure. If you do that, you definitely go low enough. At the same time it would prevent you from “sitting” on your calves, which I really don’t think is good for the knees - It’s just what I think, it’s certainly not fact by any means.

On a related note, I just can’t take it anymore with these sissy ass quarter or half squats and leg presses. Damn these motherfuckers are annoying! They pile up the weight and act like they’re doing something. They have all kinds of pathetic excuses for not going deep. The worst one was “I sweat too much when I do real squats”, Puuuullllease!! How I would just love to drop a 45lb plate on top of their heads!!!

For tall guys I’d say that a little below parallel is key. We already recruit more posterior chain then shorter guys while squatting and going any deeper will only accentuate this more. My ass really doesn’t need to get any bigger. But quads always need more size. TC recommends leg press for us lurches but a man simply has to squat…Bottom line, it’s all individual.