T Nation

Squatting to Depth vs Adding Weight to the Bar


#1

My squat is currently at 122.5kg. However, I am not breaking parallel. I am making progress (adding weight to the bar every workout). Should I continue to add weight to the bar even though I am not breaking parallel? A couple of weeks ago a partial with 120kg was difficult. I needed a cue from my spotter to get the weight back up. If you understand what I mean? Or, should I deload the weight and focus on form and breaking parallel. I've got lanky leg limbs for my height and femurs are long, if that's any help?

Helpful replies will be very much appreciated, thank you.


#2

[quote]howareyoumeduck wrote:
My squat is currently at 122.5kg. However, I am not breaking parallel
[/quote]

Then you are not squatting, you’re just bending your knees.

Saying you squat, but not to parallel is like saying you run marathons, but not the whole way.

The best 30mins I ever spent in the gym was learning to squat properly, to below parallel. My ego took a hit that day, but I don’t think I’ve had a more productive session before or since.


#3

[quote]howareyoumeduck wrote:
My squat is currently at 122.5kg. However, I am not breaking parallel. I am making progress (adding weight to the bar every workout). Should I continue to add weight to the bar even though I am not breaking parallel? A couple of weeks ago a partial with 120kg was difficult. I needed a cue from my spotter to get the weight back up. If you understand what I mean? Or, should I deload the weight and focus on form and breaking parallel. I’ve got lanky leg limbs for my height and femurs are long, if that’s any help? Helpful replies will be very much appreciated, thank you.
[/quote]

Are you at least getting to parallel? Are you doing any stretching / prehab/ drills to help you get to parallel? Can you get to parallel with low or no weight?


#4

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

The best 30mins I ever spent in the gym was learning to squat properly, to below parallel. My ego took a hit that day, but I don’t think I’ve had a more productive session before or since.[/quote]
Do yourself a favor and pick up starting strength ebook. It will let you know what a proper squat looks like, and explain how to do it. Unfortunately most people squatting in many gyms are not doing it properly and advice you may get could be absolutely flawed.


#5

Are you currently meeting your goals with this squat form?


#6

[quote]Sheed3K wrote:

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

The best 30mins I ever spent in the gym was learning to squat properly, to below parallel. My ego took a hit that day, but I don’t think I’ve had a more productive session before or since.[/quote]
Do yourself a favor and pick up starting strength ebook. It will let you know what a proper squat looks like, and explain how to do it. Unfortunately most people squatting in many gyms are not doing it properly and advice you may get could be absolutely flawed.
[/quote]

I assume this was aimed at OP?

I second that, I’ve been to plenty of commercial gyms and I’ve rarely seen a proper squat. The guys that can are, without fail, the biggest and strongest in the gym. Funny that.


#7

“So you say you cannot Squat? So how then do you Shit?” ® dirk addis
Unless you have a medical condition that does not allow you to squat to or past parellel, put the Ego aside and learn proper form.
BUY Starting Strength now and WATCH on You Tube “So you think you can Squat” by Matt Wenning !


#8

my lifts are increasing, body weight is increasing, so I feel I am meeting my goals with the form yes. However, by hitting proper depth (below parallel) I do feel this is going to be the way forward for me. So Monday I will ‘put the ego aside’ take the weight back to 80kg and rebuild with proper form. Does this sound like a good idea? I will look into the ebook thanks, and killerDIRK I will check starting strength and youtube, thanks a lot.

Sorry about the shitty reply gents, I am going to learn how to use this properly.


#9

[quote]howareyoumeduck wrote:
Monday I will ‘put the ego aside’ take the weight back to 80kg and rebuild with proper form. Does this sound like a good idea?[/quote]

Sounds spot on, good luck man.


#10

[quote]howareyoumeduck wrote:
my lifts are increasing, body weight is increasing, so I feel I am meeting my goals with the form yes. However, by hitting proper depth (below parallel) I do feel this is going to be the way forward for me. So Monday I will ‘put the ego aside’ take the weight back to 80kg and rebuild with proper form. Does this sound like a good idea? I will look into the ebook thanks, and killerDIRK I will check starting strength and youtube, thanks a lot.

Sorry about the shitty reply gents, I am going to learn how to use this properly.[/quote]

Truthfully, this is the trap I find many beginners end up in which results in being stuck in ruts for years. The formula generally goes like this

1: Start lifting weights
2: Finally reach a weight that is actually challenging/requires effort and therefore creates stimulus
3: Confuse exertion with "pain"
4: Decide that form must be off
5: Lower the weight to an easier weight with a goal to have “better form”, in doing so no longer actually getting results

This cycle can repeat for years, if not an entire lifting career, resulting in people that never get past a 225lb bench after 30 years of training.

I go against the grain quite a bit on this, but honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I would’ve just kept pushing everytime I worried about form. I jacked up my back hardcore by squatting down to pins because I was SO paranoid about hitting depth on my squat. Weight hit the pins, my back rapidly unloaded and reloaded the weight, and I couldn’t walk for a week. Couldn’t deadlift for 3 years after that.

These days, the only time I squat to depth is in a competition that requires it. I would say 99% of my squats are above depth. Additionally, after using this style of training, I finally broke past a 4 year plateau on squats and hit 502 at a bodyweight of 181 in comp.

Ultimately, I look at WHY I am squatting. If the goal is to get bigger and stronger, and I am doing that with HOW I am squatting, I don’t change a thing.


#11

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]howareyoumeduck wrote:
my lifts are increasing, body weight is increasing, so I feel I am meeting my goals with the form yes. However, by hitting proper depth (below parallel) I do feel this is going to be the way forward for me. So Monday I will ‘put the ego aside’ take the weight back to 80kg and rebuild with proper form. Does this sound like a good idea? I will look into the ebook thanks, and killerDIRK I will check starting strength and youtube, thanks a lot.

Sorry about the shitty reply gents, I am going to learn how to use this properly.[/quote]

Truthfully, this is the trap I find many beginners end up in which results in being stuck in ruts for years. The formula generally goes like this

1: Start lifting weights
2: Finally reach a weight that is actually challenging/requires effort and therefore creates stimulus
3: Confuse exertion with "pain"
4: Decide that form must be off
5: Lower the weight to an easier weight with a goal to have “better form”, in doing so no longer actually getting results

This cycle can repeat for years, if not an entire lifting career, resulting in people that never get past a 225lb bench after 30 years of training.

I go against the grain quite a bit on this, but honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I would’ve just kept pushing everytime I worried about form. I jacked up my back hardcore by squatting down to pins because I was SO paranoid about hitting depth on my squat. Weight hit the pins, my back rapidly unloaded and reloaded the weight, and I couldn’t walk for a week. Couldn’t deadlift for 3 years after that.

These days, the only time I squat to depth is in a competition that requires it. I would say 99% of my squats are above depth. Additionally, after using this style of training, I finally broke past a 4 year plateau on squats and hit 502 at a bodyweight of 181 in comp.

Ultimately, I look at WHY I am squatting. If the goal is to get bigger and stronger, and I am doing that with HOW I am squatting, I don’t change a thing.
[/quote]

Whatever gets results. We are debating the difference of a few degrees above Parallel. Unless it’s a Comp not a big deal. What I see too often is people doing quarter squats bc they read getting to Parallel isn’t needed. That’s where it gets a little out of control. I’d doubt 1/4 squat of 400 is more productive then full squats of 225


#12

[quote]Sheed3K wrote:
Whatever gets results. We are debating the difference of a few degrees above Parallel. Unless it’s a Comp not a big deal. What I see too often is people doing quarter squats bc they read getting to Parallel isn’t needed. That’s where it gets a little out of control. I’d doubt 1/4 squat of 400 is more productive then full squats of 225
[/quote]

I definitely agree with the sentiment you are expressing here, I would just reconcile your first statement with your last. If the quarter squats ARE getting the results desired, would you agree there is no need to change them?

I feel like a lot of people go about training backwards, firmly deciding on the method they are going to employ and then monitoring for the results it will achieve, rather than instead firmly deciding on the results they want and then monitoring for the method that gets them there.


#13

[quote]Sheed3K wrote:
Whatever gets results. We are debating the difference of a few degrees above Parallel. Unless it’s a Comp not a big deal. What I see too often is people doing quarter squats bc they read getting to Parallel isn’t needed. That’s where it gets a little out of control. I’d doubt 1/4 squat of 400 is more productive then full squats of 225
[/quote]
I do think taking a 400 lb quarter squat and turning it into a 700 lb quarter squat is still pretty productive in and of itself (provided you’re actually using the same ROM). It may not have quite the same effect as taking 225 to 525, but you’re still going to end up much stronger in the end.

I think it all depends on what you’re trying to get out of it. The emphasis on different muscles obviously change as you get deeper in the ROM, and you may shortchange yourself on total muscle growth if it’s not covered elsewhere.

Now, if you go from a 225 full squat and keep adding weight to the bar, and end up with a 400 lb quarter squat and think you’ve gotten stronger… that’s a different thing.


#14

I am surprised nobody mentioned this. Decreasing your depth will increase your apparent squat max significantly. Specifically, I read an article which state that you can see an apparent increase in maxes between 20 and 50lbs per inch of depth not achieved. As an example, say you are 2 inches above parallel and squat 225lbs. Your real max might be a low as 185lbs if you went to full depth!

With that said, health is more important than weight lifted. Squat to a depth that allows you to achieve good form. there is a long article on this website that talks about different hip structures and maximum achievable depth. It takes time to learn what works for you and what doesnt.


#15

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
With that said, health is more important than weight lifted. [/quote]

I feel like this is one of those things that most people assume is the goal of everyone, and it creates confusion. For example, I prioritize getting stronger over staying healthy/injury free, and the majority of my methodology/advice is hinged around that.

I understand some people feel otherwise, but it does confuse me whenever it is brought up as a reason to avoid something.


#16

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
I am surprised nobody mentioned this. Decreasing your depth will increase your apparent squat max significantly. Specifically, I read an article which state that you can see an apparent increase in maxes between 20 and 50lbs per inch of depth not achieved. As an example, say you are 2 inches above parallel and squat 225lbs. Your real max might be a low as 185lbs if you went to full depth![/quote]
So, just some numbers from a training session of mine a long time ago. I was working up to a training max (i.e., fast and crisp, no grinding) at different heights.

To parallel: 245 x 1

Bottoms-up, from the pins:
Pin 6: 265 x 1
Pin 7: 375 x 1
Pin 8: 475 x 1

Each pin height is about 2" apart.

It might be more useful to think in terms of percentages… like x" above parallel is y% more than parallel, but yeah, 20-50 lb per inch seems about right.


#17

What if… I continue to add weight to my ‘not quite parallel squats’ and after my last set, take the weight down to 60kg. Then, really hit ‘atg’ for a set and continue to do this and add weight each workout. Would one set of this be productive? Would this method cover all bases? By squatting, my main aim is to build my quadriceps and glutes. I am deadlifting also, I believe this covers the other parts of the leg muscles. (excuse improper use of terminology, its getting late, I’m knackered). So by doing a last set of full ‘atg’ I would be covering all of the muscles I need to develop?


#18

Squatting is like SEX, the Deeper into the Hole you go…the more Pleasurable the Outcome ; )


#19

[quote]howareyoumeduck wrote:
What if… I continue to add weight to my ‘not quite parallel squats’ and after my last set, take the weight down to 60kg. Then, really hit ‘atg’ for a set and continue to do this and add weight each workout. Would one set of this be productive? Would this method cover all bases? By squatting, my main aim is to build my quadriceps and glutes. I am deadlifting also, I believe this covers the other parts of the leg muscles. (excuse improper use of terminology, its getting late, I’m knackered). So by doing a last set of full ‘atg’ I would be covering all of the muscles I need to develop? [/quote]

Is what you are currently doing NOT meeting your goals?


#20

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]howareyoumeduck wrote:
my lifts are increasing, body weight is increasing, so I feel I am meeting my goals with the form yes. However, by hitting proper depth (below parallel) I do feel this is going to be the way forward for me. So Monday I will ‘put the ego aside’ take the weight back to 80kg and rebuild with proper form. Does this sound like a good idea? I will look into the ebook thanks, and killerDIRK I will check starting strength and youtube, thanks a lot.

Sorry about the shitty reply gents, I am going to learn how to use this properly.[/quote]

Truthfully, this is the trap I find many beginners end up in which results in being stuck in ruts for years. The formula generally goes like this

1: Start lifting weights
2: Finally reach a weight that is actually challenging/requires effort and therefore creates stimulus
3: Confuse exertion with "pain"
4: Decide that form must be off
5: Lower the weight to an easier weight with a goal to have “better form”, in doing so no longer actually getting results

This cycle can repeat for years, if not an entire lifting career, resulting in people that never get past a 225lb bench after 30 years of training.

I go against the grain quite a bit on this, but honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I would’ve just kept pushing everytime I worried about form. I jacked up my back hardcore by squatting down to pins because I was SO paranoid about hitting depth on my squat. Weight hit the pins, my back rapidly unloaded and reloaded the weight, and I couldn’t walk for a week. Couldn’t deadlift for 3 years after that.

These days, the only time I squat to depth is in a competition that requires it. I would say 99% of my squats are above depth. Additionally, after using this style of training, I finally broke past a 4 year plateau on squats and hit 502 at a bodyweight of 181 in comp.

Ultimately, I look at WHY I am squatting. If the goal is to get bigger and stronger, and I am doing that with HOW I am squatting, I don’t change a thing.
[/quote]

Whatever gets results. We are debating the difference of a few degrees above Parallel. Unless it’s a Comp not a big deal. What I see too often is people doing quarter squats bc they read getting to Parallel isn’t needed. That’s where it gets a little out of control. I’d doubt 1/4 squat of 400 is more productive then full squats of 225