T Nation

Question for deep squatters

To all of those of you who deep squat, especially those who have squatted deep and heavy for a long time, do you have any knee problems?

How long have you squatted and how much do you squat? How have squats affected you?

I just want some anecdotal evidence to present to the local gym rats. I’m sick of them telling me not to go so deep - "90 degrees is best, otherwise you’ll get arthritis and osteoporosis.

Also to the scientists among you, are there any article/journal references that also provide such evidence?

Thank you for your time.

ps I need as much stuff as possible, anecdotes and references.

I know search will bring up lots on this, I don’t have the info in front of me. It’s actually SAFER to do full squats. I’ve been full squatting for about 3 years now and have never had any knee problems whatsoever, I full squat on all my squat movements, not quite ass to the grass, but pretty close. I use a load of about 235 pounds usually, depending on the program of course. I don’t max on anything, but I’d probably max around 275 or something.

I switched in the last year or so to pretty much ass to the grass and my knee problems went away!!! I used to have alot of knee issues and I can’t explain why, but all of my knee problems have pretty mcuh gone away. BTW I’m squatting 365 for reps.


How would one get osteoporosis from deep squats?

I don’t bother with “gym rats”. And why should you? Just keep doin’ what you’re doin’; get a big massive lower body in the process and that should shut them up.

Besides, I highly doubt they’ll ever listen to any type of reasoning.

Ah, but if you really want the answer: I’ve never developed any type of knee problems. Heh, why don’t you show 'em a pic of Thunder’s legs, too.

Kung Fu,

I used to do partial squats many moons ago. I did them because all of the material at the time stated that deep squating harmed the knees.

The odd thing was that my knees (top of the knee cap) hurt all the time even though I was doing partials!

I then switched to full squats, not as far down as possible but close, and a strange thing happened, my knee pain went away.

When you look at each movement, which is the more natural motion? I stuck with the deeper squats and to this day I have no knee pain, and my legs are pretty strong relative to my body weight.

yeah, you might get cancer too…

I do have arthritic joints (probably from lupus) but this is non damaging to joints or bones, they just swell. I would tend to believe after all my research i did after i started getting sick that most forms of arthritis & osteoperosis have less do with with phsyical activity & more to do with DNA/genes/diet. Someone correct me if im wrong here?

On another note… i would tend to believe someone doing half squats would be doing more of them to compensate, wouldnt this be just as bad as doing half the amount of full squats if they were so terrible?


One thing you have to remember is that the ligaments which serve to protect your knee (preventing movement of the femur relative to your tibia) are ‘tight’ at full extension (knee straight) and FULL flexion (bottom of a squat) At the 90 degrees of knee flexion (think paralle squatting) these ligaments are lax and cannot protect the joint.

That alone is a case against partial, and for full squatting.

As for myself, I am a full squatter no question. I don’t use the kind of weights that some guys here can, but still am a respectable squatter. When I started squatting years ago (on the Smith machine no less … ugh) I probably only went to 90 degrees. Even when I graduated to free bar, I still wasn’t dropping down. My knees actually started to get sore. These days, after years of full squatting, my knees feel great. You also can’t compare the resulting development from the two.

i squat full and have no knee problems. the only time my knees start to bother me is when i run a lot.

I tore my medial meniscus 2 years ago, had surgery to fix it and when they were in there they found I had arthritis too. Back in June I hurt the same knee really really bad again. I was on crutches for a month, but in the middle of August I found that I could still do deep squats, and my arhritic, torn up knee actually hurts less doing them than my other “healthy” knee.

The greater the degree of knee flexion, the greater the activation (strengthening) of the vastus medialis (VMO). Suffice it to say that weakness of the VMO is implicated in so many different kinds of knee problems that it would be futile for me to list them here (plus, I’m too lazy).

Okay, there are two things I’m going to tell you first is if you do a search you’ll find the following thread:

Squatting poll

The second is that the important part of the thread is:

[quote]Okay you’ll hear people tell you that squatting is bad for the knees and truthfully it can be. That having been said it’s not if done correctly.


If you let your knees come together while squatting this places a great deal of stress on your ACL. Since your ACL is already being stressed by the quadriceps tendon pulling on the tibia let’s not agrivate the situation. However, if you keep your knees apart this is not an issue.

Keep in mind that this is addressing the angle of the femure so knee movement relative to foot position. If you’re standing with your feet close together of course your knees will be close together. The concern is when your knees come together during the movement.


The second concern deals with mechanical impingment. When you squat the axis of rotation is your knee. That is to state that your knee is working as a hinge.

When you squat very deep your calf and hamstring will connect. This connection will change the axis of rotation to the point of contact between the two muscles. This will cause your knee to be pulled “open” like a pair of scissors. (I really wish I could upload a pic into this forum). So long as your deep squat ends prior to this severe impingement you don’t have anything to worry about from the knee standpoint. This is why bouncing out of the bottom is the ultimate evil in a squat. It causes this scissoring motion of the knee and can cause great injury due to the force generated by the bounce motion.


The whole knees behind the toes thing is a common misconception. If you have long femurs then your knees are almost guaranteed to pass in front of your toes if you go past a 90 degree bend. My knees pass my toes well before parallel unless my feet are very widely spaced.

STU [/quote]

Couldn’t have said it better myself.


Been squatting for 25+ years now, all different kinds of squats, most of the time full ROM, up to about 325lbs, and I have no knee issues.

Full squats for about 2 years now, no knee issues (from squatting) whatsoever.

Currently squatting to parallel and deeper with sprained medial and lateral ligaments, no pain. Hurts more to walk on it!

Great review of the facts, Sturat. Thanks for finding and posting that.

Well, it was actually an opportunity to show the forum how brilliant and lazy I am. Brilliant since I’m the one who wrote it in the first place :wink: and lazy because I didn’t really feel like re-typing it. I’m glad it helped.