T Nation

Squat Advice from Therapist

I am currently going through PT for a pulled quad tendon.

The PT said to only squat down to where my thigh is at a right angle with my calf (4-5 inches above parallel) and not to lock out at the top. This is fine and I’m doing what my PT says to take care of the injury.

However, he also says I should NEVER go lower than this and that I should never lockout even with a 100% healthy knee. His reasoning on depth is that there are some benefits to going parallel, but the risk of knee injury is so much greater that it’s not worth it. On the lock out, it’s that the legs aren’t activated at lockout, so it’s pointless anyway, as well as adding undo stress on the back. Of course, he suggested isolation exercises such as extension, glute, or even squat machines instead.

I should preface this with my experience w/ the PT so far. I find that he actually listens and understands that people are going to do what they are going to do regardless of what he says. He does a decent job at trying to educate me on biomechanics and listening to my body. He comes from a military background (if you count coast guard).

He could be a bit more aggressive on the soft tissue work as well as keeping track of what’s been done. The office as a whole kind of sucks… I’ve had other people’s blood on my table, had techs begin treating the wrong knee, and have seen poor records by other PT’s that filled in for my main PT while on vacation.

From the research I’ve done on this… locking out doesn’t matter so much if you’re not competing, but I’ve never seen anyone say not to hit parallel.

Anybody who thinks that leg extensions are better for your knees that squats below parallel is misinformed.

He’s correct, but only if you’re talking about typical, shitty, knees-jutting-forward-first squats. Ask him to demonstrate a “squat” and you’ll probably see this: torso bolt-upright, knees come forward first, and maybe even some heels coming off the ground if he dares lower himself further than 16.5 inches above parallel.

I actually demonstrated a squat for him (bw), and he said my form was good because i kept my knees behind and my back straight, feet down, etc… just that i’m too low

He’s not dumb, but must have picked this up somewhere in his education, so I figure I’ll at least need to heed the advice until my knee heals (I can’t even do BW squats to depth now w/out discomfort)

Hardcore lifters will always stress depth, however they don’t where knee wraps and other stuff for no reason. Yes it’s good and does have it’s benefits but your PT did say risk isn’t worth it. In which case for most people that’s probably correct. All the people I know who did low heavy squats can’t seem to get half the weight at 50 and have all kinds of problems moving. Remember that when anyone under 30 tells you it’s better for you to go lower.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
Hardcore lifters will always stress depth, however they don’t where knee wraps and other stuff for no reason. Yes it’s good and does have it’s benefits but your PT did say risk isn’t worth it. In which case for most people that’s probably correct. All the people I know who did low heavy squats can’t seem to get half the weight at 50 and have all kinds of problems moving. Remember that when anyone under 30 tells you it’s better for you to go lower. [/quote]

i threw up in my mouth. yolo

Personally I think your PT is very misinformed but hey what,do I know. How ever with that being said going parrell is not for every one and if squatting to full depth is causing a unnatural pain or discomfort then squat to a depth you can hit pain free in your knees. Honesty Squatting in general no matter what heights are beneficial.

If all you can honestly muster is a half rep squat then so be it. Use that and attack it just besure to use plenty of Ham and Glute work to make up for the lack of posterior chain involvement with high squats. Unless your goal in life is to compete as a power lifter then squatting to honest parrell is just another tool to help you get to your other goal and luckily there a multiple ways to accomplish a goal.

there is 0 point in causing extra pain,and inflammation and possible damage if you can squat safely a few inches high.

I think it’s safe to say that HEAVY squatting will most likely cause long-term damage to the knees, regardless of depth, for most people. I also believe that someone that doesn’t push the limits, and just wants to be in overall good shape (say, can squat 2x bodyweight, but doesn’t care for much more), will probably be fine squatting as deep as they want, and their joints may be better off for it.

Not squatting to parallel? Never below? In regards to a training population I feel that squatting to parallel is very important. When any of my patients can’t squat there are 3 usual suspects. 1. Loss of ankle dorsiflexion (usually combine with lack of calcaneus eversion) 2. Lack of knee hyperextension (yes the knee should be able to hyperextend from 5-10 degrees) 3. Gluteal amnesia (learn how to use them and get them back)

All of the points previously mentioned are good ones, but if your therapist hasn’t looked at your feet/ ankle mobility and your hip mobility and muscle activity there, they are just treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause.

[quote]Dabigpolak wrote:
Not squatting to parallel? Never below? In regards to a training population I feel that squatting to parallel is very important. When any of my patients can’t squat there are 3 usual suspects. 1. Loss of ankle dorsiflexion (usually combine with lack of calcaneus eversion) 2. Lack of knee hyperextension (yes the knee should be able to hyperextend from 5-10 degrees) 3. Gluteal amnesia (learn how to use them and get them back)

All of the points previously mentioned are good ones, but if your therapist hasn’t looked at your feet/ ankle mobility and your hip mobility and muscle activity there, they are just treating the symptoms and not the underlying cause.[/quote]
Why does a loss of knee hyperextension make squatting a problem?

Loss of knee hyperextension becomes a problem because it compounds inflammation and progressive loading of the patellar facets. Think of it this way, when standing around, do you want your knees to be straight or want them bent? If your knees lose terminal knee extension ( hyperextension) then you are basically walking around all day in a semi squat position. This low level inflammation will progressively build all day. Then when it comes down to loaded squats, your knee is so pissed off from getting no rest all day, it will just get even more flared up and you will get more pain which ruins your squatting experience. So make sure you got some knee hyperextension.