T Nation

Squats - Parallel or full???

I know that Charles P recommends full squats…ie leaving a stain on the ground. However, a lot of other iron game writers like randall strossen, brooks kubik and bill starr recommend squatting to parallel or just below. From experience, i’ve found that full squats give me good increases in size but not strength. On the other hand, parallel squats gave me both size and strength. I’ve been doing full squats for the past year but was thinking of switching back to parallel squats especially for methods like the 20 rep breathing squat. Any suggestions?

I physically can’t go lower than just past parallel. I dunno how skinny those people’s legs are but with a stance just wider than shoulder, my hams are on my calves but my upper thigh at the hip is just below the top of the knee (the official comparison for “parallel”). Plus I’ve never seen anyone go much beyond “parallel”, simply for balance reasons. The angle at the knee is quite accute (as is the case with me) but to balance yourself you end up moving your knees forward, leveling your thigh. Front squats is the only time when I think you really come close to “staining the floor” because your upper body is upright so your knees barely move forward.

In my experience - Going ass to grass, all the way down, you sit in a relaxing position. I feel it much harder if i stop just abit higher.
I think going as deep as possible is neccecary. But i feel when i go deeper a certain point, it’s more of a two part lift for me. More of let ext. look-a-like movement. So i stop there. Makes my leg workouts harder, and let me allso use more explosive power.

You might want to consider full squats using chains…see the accom. resistance article by Dave Tate. As for balance, form, and stablization work, the overhead squat is awesome. Good training

I just go as low as I can. I may not be leaving stains on the floor but its definitely past parallel. And I always know exactly where to stop. Cause I can’t go deeper. Unlike trying to stop at “parallel.” I used to squat to parallel but stopped. Yeah, i made better “strength” gains, but mostly that was because “parallel” tended to get higher as the weights got heavier. Stuart McRoberts has written about how easy it is to make these types of false strength gains (squating shallower as the weights go up, loading up the leg press to move it all of three inches, resting longer and longer between sets) and how meaningless they are. When SM talks, i listen. Now every set is the same depth, and the strength gains are slower but real.

full…ever tried jump squats? People look at you like your dumb, but they work pretty good, especially if you like to play basketball.

After getting up to 315 for 12 in sissy squats, I dropped the ego and started going for depth. hard part is, I also used a 20 rep program which made me feel like I’d been run over by a truck. good gains though. More muscle than strength but hell that’s what I was looking for.

As I do a little to much tracking in my full squats, I’m going to try to start doing front squats to minimize the risk of hurting my back, knees.

i like box squats, below paralel, but still widestance. Sometimes I take the top box off and do closer stance, low box squats
(basically a full squat)

Squat deep. Always and forever. I can’t think of many reasons why you would want to shorten your ROM in any exercise, with the exception of rehab work or perhaps if you’re trying to solve some type of “weak link” in a given lift. The squat is possibly the most natural and common movement we ask our bodies to perform. I believe that trying to squat to parallel can almost be distracting while your working through the movement. People seem to almost resist the squatting movement itself because they are so focused on not going “too deep”. It’s sort of like watching someone try to repel down a wall or cliff for the first time. They are scared to death of dropping their ass over that ledge, everything seems to be moving but they’re not going anywhere. The motion is reduced to a hybrid squat/good morning movement. Which I see as a good formula for very tight hams, glutes and back extensors (i.e. a sore lower back), especially if you are working with serious weight. I’m a HUGE believer in variety but I’m also a HUGE believer in deep squatting. Focus, identify the weakness in your squat (tight hip flexors, tight achille’s tendons, or weak hams-whatever it is find it), PERFECT YOUR FORM!!!, use your head and squat deep. Let me end my squat tirade with this. I don’t know about anyone else but at the gym I lift at I can show you dozens upon dozens of guys who continuously squat 225 lbs for maybe 5 to 10 reps and then 275 for 3,4 or 5 and then after that a brave few will try 315 for 1 or 2 reps with maybe even 2 spotters screaming and assisting. That may not sound so bad but they’ve been doing this for 3 or 4 years now! And trust me they’re legs will never be described as impressive. Squatting sucks unless you are somewhat psychotic so why spin your wheels? Conversely, every guy I know who squats deep with good to somewhat good form is STRONG and looks it. If you want thick quads from hip to knee with that obvious line that seperates and defines the quads and hamstrings as well as give you that clear definition between your glutes and hams I will always advise deep squatting 100% of the time simply because you can’t convince that the benefits of changing form will outweigh the benefits received from maintaining the deep squat, with the clear exception of variety to keep nervous system from being shot to shit. The squat if brutal but it will always be the shortest distance between two points when it comes to weightlifting for the athlete or recreational “bodybuilder” (I hate that word). Whew!! Sorry for the long windedness. Too much green tea I guess. Maybe T.C. can find some space for me over at Testosterone? Or maybe not but I hope I helped someone out there.