T Nation

Squat Depth in Regards to BBing

Wondering everyone’s thoughts on squat depth and it’s relation to bodybuilding.

My personal opinion is that I see squats as an all around lower body builder and like that it gets my hams and glutes more involved. If I want to really focus on Quads, I do front or hack squats. Been squatting ATG since i was 17(26 now) never had knee issues(although they do feel funny if i stop at parallel) yet everyone warns me that I will ‘blow out my knees’. Never liked the idea of not going deep but open to others feedback on it.

Will some of the guys with the big wheels chime in with their opinion?

Going deep activates your hams and glutes more. If you want to hit those when you squat, deep is good.

I read that parallel is the risky way and we see babies go all the way i would think deeper = safer but no proof.

[quote]Waittz wrote:
Wondering everyone’s thoughts on squat depth and it’s relation to bodybuilding.

My personal opinion is that I see squats as an all around lower body builder and like that it gets my hams and glutes more involved. If I want to really focus on Quads, I do front or hack squats. Been squatting ATG since i was 17(26 now) never had knee issues(although they do feel funny if i stop at parallel) yet everyone warns me that I will ‘blow out my knees’. Never liked the idea of not going deep but open to others feedback on it.

Will some of the guys with the big wheels chime in with their opinion?

[/quote]

You have it right. Those other guys are tools. Only time I ever stop at parallel is wide stance on a box, and that’s really mostly powerlifting.

Hamstrings and glutes are absolutely 100% freaking essential for knee health and leg balance. If you want more quads, front squats then hit some quad isolation work or leg presses, if you want more hams back squat more and deadlift/rack pull/hamstring isolation for the accessory movements. Or do two leg days a week but split them into quads and hams/glutes. But always squat deep.

90 degrees is the most stressful shear force on the knee. Why would you stop there with a narrow stance? That’s a terrible idea (as you rightly thought). Super wide stance is different because the leverages and mechanics are different enough that going too much deeper can stress the hips a bit much, and there is less knee stress at 90 degrees due to the change in leverages and technique (sit back, forward lean, etc). But again, that’s mostly for powerlifting.

[quote]BHappy wrote:
I read that parallel is the risky way and we see babies go all the way i would think deeper = safer but no proof.[/quote]

No, you’re right. If it’s good enough for babies and fucking 80 year old rice farmers in Thailand, it’s good enough for us. Provided you do it right of course. There’s absolutely no reason that a decrepit 80 year old farmer living on mostly vegetables living in a 3rd world country with no access to modern technology should be able to do something we can’t here as a healthy 18-40 year old with a million supplements and a grocery store. We unlearn the proper mechanics as we get older and watch our parents and everybody around us do it wrong.

For me, quads are easy to grow and there are a lot of exercises I can use to get them bigger. Something like busting my ass on leg extensions 2x a week would make them blow up.

That being said, the rest of my legs are absolutely weak and tiny, so I’ve been focusing exclusively on getting better at deep squats so that the rest of my legs grow. that’s how I’m looking at it

Now that i read about rice people it is absolutely correct. Each and every taichi good teacher i came across simply squat down look at students do the form to be abble to correct them. It is a natural way to relax. And i am not talking about asians. As we progress in taichi or yoga we tend to do natural things. It can get scary as much as we get similar to our teacher without ever trying. We unlearn bad stuff.

[quote]Waittz wrote:
Wondering everyone’s thoughts on squat depth and it’s relation to bodybuilding.

My personal opinion is that I see squats as an all around lower body builder and like that it gets my hams and glutes more involved. If I want to really focus on Quads, I do front or hack squats. Been squatting ATG since i was 17(26 now) never had knee issues(although they do feel funny if i stop at parallel) yet everyone warns me that I will ‘blow out my knees’. Never liked the idea of not going deep but open to others feedback on it.

Will some of the guys with the big wheels chime in with their opinion?

[/quote]beng
This depends on a lot of different factors, sucja as lever length, torso length, size of the muscle and training goals. Its better to look at it like…do I want to use squats as a quad developer or a hip extensor developer. If you have very good ankle flexibility or use weghtliting shoes when you squat, the depth becomes hard to judge anyway because the more positive shin angle you create makes it too where more depth is required to get to parallel. Its best to not so much worry about if your going all the way down, what matters is that you’re creating extension at the knee or hip joint, or both. Squat to a comfortable depth and you will be fine. with that being said, most peoples inability to squat deep comes from mobility and flexibility issues. Issues that when corrected make it feel easier and more natural to squat deep. I have found that after I improved my ankle and hip flexibility, squating anything higher than all the way down feels strange to melol.

required to get to parallel.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]Waittz wrote:
Wondering everyone’s thoughts on squat depth and it’s relation to bodybuilding.

My personal opinion is that I see squats as an all around lower body builder and like that it gets my hams and glutes more involved. If I want to really focus on Quads, I do front or hack squats. Been squatting ATG since i was 17(26 now) never had knee issues(although they do feel funny if i stop at parallel) yet everyone warns me that I will ‘blow out my knees’. Never liked the idea of not going deep but open to others feedback on it.

Will some of the guys with the big wheels chime in with their opinion?

[/quote]

You have it right. Those other guys are tools. Only time I ever stop at parallel is wide stance on a box, and that’s really mostly powerlifting.

Hamstrings and glutes are absolutely 100% freaking essential for knee health and leg balance. If you want more quads, front squats then hit some quad isolation work or leg presses, if you want more hams back squat more and deadlift/rack pull/hamstring isolation for the accessory movements. Or do two leg days a week but split them into quads and hams/glutes. But always squat deep.

90 degrees is the most stressful shear force on the knee. Why would you stop there with a narrow stance? That’s a terrible idea (as you rightly thought). Super wide stance is different because the leverages and mechanics are different enough that going too much deeper can stress the hips a bit much, and there is less knee stress at 90 degrees due to the change in leverages and technique (sit back, forward lean, etc). But again, that’s mostly for powerlifting.[/quote]

These are good points, but we have to recognize that while babies do squat all the way down and old men in Thailand do as well, they don’t do it with hundreds of pounds on their backs and for 99% of them, their spines are flexed as they do it, which is okay when you don’t have hundreds of pounds on your back. Most people don’t have the ankle mobility and flexibility to maintain extension of the spine when in a full squat position, especially taller individuals. Its not required to squat all the way down to activate the glutes/hamstring, if we push our hips back we activate more glutes and James, if we squat straight down we hit the quads more. Let the torso angle determine what muscles are being activated, not the depth we squat too.

Squat depth is a funny topic. In articles authors always emphasize squat depth, yet every time you see pro BBers squat (or leg press for that matter) in their videos or in real life (we have an ex-pro in our gym), squat depth is no where near parallel, let alone below parallel.

Clearly there are some exceptions but most squat pretty high. Thing is, it seems to work for them (hypertrophy) just fine.

[quote]youngster543210 wrote:
Its not required to squat all the way down to activate the glutes/hamstring, if we push our hips back we activate more glutes and if we squat straight down we hit the quads more. Let the torso angle determine what muscles are being activated, not the depth we squat too.
[/quote]

^Agreeing with this. I’m a big fan of front squats, and have certainly made much better progress quad-wise since employing a full, ATG approach, and shortening the ROM to the bottom 2/3 of the movement.

S

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Squat depth is a funny topic. In articles authors always emphasize squat depth, yet every time you see pro BBers squat (or leg press for that matter) in their videos or in real life (we have an ex-pro in our gym), squat depth is no where near parallel, let alone below parallel.

Clearly there are some exceptions but most squat pretty high. Thing is, it seems to work for them (hypertrophy) just fine.
[/quote]

I have just seen a huge BB video and his full ROM bicep curls were totally weird. Talking he was saying strech all the way down(full arm extension) than the opposite full flex and he was unable to do so. I do not mean that it is allways the case but for some the flexibility/mobility is really reduced. Maybe they went deeper when they could.
All the best !

I have a study published by NSCA that tested the safety of the ATG squat vs parallel and they noticed NO extra sheer force on the knees and improved muscle activation. In fact, it showed that it would “have a protective effect on ligamentous structures” which is even better for your knees.

The only thing they mentioned was that if you had a previous injury in your lower extremities then it might be better to stop at a lower range of motion. Which is basically common sense for ALL lifts right? If you feel pain at a certain ROM, stop before you feel the pain or cut out the exercise altogether.

http://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/Abstract/2012/04000/Are_Deep_Squats_a_Safe_and_Viable_Exercise_.6.aspx That’s the link for it, if anybody want’s to read the full epub send me a message I’ll link it for you.

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Squat depth is a funny topic. In articles authors always emphasize squat depth, yet every time you see pro BBers squat (or leg press for that matter) in their videos or in real life (we have an ex-pro in our gym), squat depth is no where near parallel, let alone below parallel.

Clearly there are some exceptions but most squat pretty high. Thing is, it seems to work for them (hypertrophy) just fine.
[/quote]

Not golden era BBers…

And there are a few guys like Kai I think I remember seeing do full depth squats.

I’ve always thought you should squat as deep as you can without your back rounding. I made my bad back loads worse by squatting too low, thinking that I had to go ATG.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Squat depth is a funny topic. In articles authors always emphasize squat depth, yet every time you see pro BBers squat (or leg press for that matter) in their videos or in real life (we have an ex-pro in our gym), squat depth is no where near parallel, let alone below parallel.

Clearly there are some exceptions but most squat pretty high. Thing is, it seems to work for them (hypertrophy) just fine.
[/quote]

Not golden era BBers…

And there are a few guys like Kai I think I remember seeing do full depth squats.[/quote]

Well you have to recognize that kai has like 32 inch legs and 23 inch calves. His depth is nowhere near that of someone with average proportions even though it looks like he’s going rock bottom.

[quote]youngster543210 wrote:

These are good points, but we have to recognize that while babies do squat all the way down and old men in Thailand do as well, they don’t do it with hundreds of pounds on their backs and for 99% of them, their spines are flexed as they do it, which is okay when you don’t have hundreds of pounds on your back. Most people don’t have the ankle mobility and flexibility to maintain extension of the spine when in a full squat position, especially taller individuals. Its not required to squat all the way down to activate the glutes/hamstring, if we push our hips back we activate more glutes and James, if we squat straight down we hit the quads more. Let the torso angle determine what muscles are being activated, not the depth we squat too.
[/quote]

You make good counterpoints to my analogy, but I wasn’t trying to delve into too much detail, just give a general answer. Everybody has a squat style that is individual, but he asked a general question with the caveat “most people tell me I am going to destroy my knees” so I was really just responding in light of a general myth and my feeling that deep gets waaaaay better whole leg development.

Here’s a novel idea…sometimes, go ATG…sometimes, go right to parallel…sometimes maybe even a little above. Cycle it…make it a different lift…use variety. Win.

You have to consider the intended effect of the squat for you in the context of the whole workout for your particular training cycle.

[quote]DoubleDuce wrote:

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Squat depth is a funny topic. In articles authors always emphasize squat depth, yet every time you see pro BBers squat (or leg press for that matter) in their videos or in real life (we have an ex-pro in our gym), squat depth is no where near parallel, let alone below parallel.

Clearly there are some exceptions but most squat pretty high. Thing is, it seems to work for them (hypertrophy) just fine.
[/quote]

Not golden era BBers…
[/quote]

And who has bigger legs? I rest my case!!! It’s not slin and ghs but squat DEPTH!!! haha

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
Here’s a novel idea…sometimes, go ATG…sometimes, go right to parallel…sometimes maybe even a little above. Cycle it…make it a different lift…use variety. Win.

You have to consider the intended effect of the squat for you in the context of the whole workout for your particular training cycle. [/quote]

GTFO! Making sense and compromises are NOT allowed on this forum. It’s always black or white, always!