How low do you squat?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2013 1:14 AM GMT
    When I learned to squat with trainers, they had me go to about parallel. But I've been observing some people at the gym going much lower than that, sometimes all the way down til their butts are almost touching the floor.

    I've looked it up, seen mixed opinions online. Which do you do? Do you go to parallel? Do you go as far down as possible? Going all the way down with a barbell seems unbalanced, unstable and hard on the knees... but I haven't actually done it so I may be wrong.
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    Nov 08, 2013 1:29 AM GMT
    The way I do squats is the way the coaching staff taught us in my playing days (H20-polo) and that is just below parallel, where the hip joint is lower than the knee joint.
  • dc415

    Posts: 255

    Nov 08, 2013 5:21 AM GMT
    Go to just below parallel. But have someone watch you or record yourself every so often because it's hard to tell how low you're going by yourself (mirrors don't really help with that either).

    Ass-to-grass is possible if you have enough flexibility... nothing unbalanced or unstable about it. I suppose depending on your individual physiology it may or may not put undue stress on your knees. But definitely go below parallel.
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    Nov 08, 2013 5:23 AM GMT
    Far enough to make it hurt coming back up; far enough make it feel good.
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    Nov 08, 2013 5:37 AM GMT
    I'm very flexible there, so I always go ass-to-grass.
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    Nov 08, 2013 6:07 AM GMT
    I see a few guys at the gym going super low and acting like it requires more strength.

    Going past parallel doesn't recruit additional muscles and puts unnecessary additional strain on your knees and lower back (if you're doing barbell squats).
  • Fritter

    Posts: 1696

    Nov 08, 2013 11:05 AM GMT
    My first set, with light weight, I go ass to grass.(or as humanly possible as I can) Subsequent sets, I go down to parallel.
  • GWriter

    Posts: 1446

    Nov 08, 2013 11:14 AM GMT
    vballboy12 said

    Going past parallel doesn't recruit additional muscles and puts unnecessary additional strain on your knees and lower back (if you're doing barbell squats).


    What is your evidence for this? The knee is most stable at full extension and full flexion, so stopping and changing directions at a lower point would not be hard on the knee. And full range of motion recruits more muscle activation in any other exercise, so why not squats? The best strength coaches working today -- e.g. Charles Poliquin, Mark Rippetoe--advise deep, ankles-to-ass squats (assuming ankle and hip mobility are adequate).
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    Nov 08, 2013 1:23 PM GMT
    dammit, so am i doing them wrong?
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    Nov 08, 2013 2:07 PM GMT
    I know a few guys who lift olympic style, and they insist on squatting to the ankles. On the other hand I have bad knees and, at least for me, the lower I squat the more my knees hurt.
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Nov 08, 2013 2:14 PM GMT
    I think it's best to go as low as you can without hurting or injuring yourself. You'll get more overall muscle activation and use per rep, which is better and will make you stronger (overall).

    Squats really help stimulate your body's hormone production, because of how much muscle recruitment is involved in the exercise. Going as low as possible, and recruiting as much as possible, could only make things better.

    It's not like I have any professional training though, so maybe I'm wrong icon_smile.gif
  • DanOmatic

    Posts: 1155

    Nov 08, 2013 2:22 PM GMT
    You'll get a million different answers on here. How low you squat depends a lot on your own particular body mechanics, so lower isn't necessarily better--and it can very possibly be worse for you. Or, conversely, it might be really effective for you. Consult a certified trainer, rather than simply watching other guys at the gym or taking advice from strangers on a web forum. A lot of it means listening to your body and being honest with yourself. Most guys do neither when it comes to the gym.

    One thing that I think gets overlooked: form trumps weight. If your form is poor, or at cross purposes to your own body mechanics, it's counterproductive to lift heavy at the expense of form.
  • Fritter

    Posts: 1696

    Nov 08, 2013 2:26 PM GMT
    UncleverName said

    Squats really help stimulate your body's hormone production, because of how much muscle recruitment is involved in the exercise.



    It's because of this, I warm up with a couple of leg exercises every workout to stimulate the hormone release to help build whatever I'm working that day.
  • madsexy

    Posts: 4843

    Nov 08, 2013 2:50 PM GMT
    I was taught by a coach in school and then confirmed by a trainer that the proper squat - for best effect and least knee strain - is to have your upper leg just beyond parallel to the ground, your butt is well above being more than halfway to your heel. You guys tell me - is my method working? icon_twisted.gif
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Nov 08, 2013 3:32 PM GMT
    Thighs well below the parrallel. Hips below the knees.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2013 4:13 PM GMT
    It really depends on which muscles you are trying to activate more, different depths activate some muscles more than others.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2013 4:19 PM GMT
    The only squatting I do these days....

    Toilet_Trained_Cat_22_Aug_2005.jpg
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Nov 08, 2013 4:22 PM GMT
    I would go parallel when squatting. I tend to mix it up between squats and leg presses (and even vary the style and approach with both of those exercises). Perhaps the reason for squatting "lower" is to try and vary the exercise. The problem is, you may be subject to injury if you aren't careful.
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    Nov 08, 2013 4:24 PM GMT
    Many trainers perpetuate the myth that deep squats are hard on your knees. There are mountains of evidence this is not true, unless you have a knee condition, in which case any leg exercise you should modify to suit your condition.

    The other big problem is people confuse parallel. It does NOT mean the bottom of your thigh (hams) is parallel with the floor. Parallel is when your hip is at/slightly below the knee and that line is parallel.

    A deep squat, which is preferable if you can do it, is ass to the grass, as they say.

    I think of all the exercises I've seen done at the gym, the squat is the most avoided and when done, most people half ass it and do not even hit parallel.

    A great trick a trainer taught me is to put a little ball, like a soccer ball or something appropriate to your height under your ass. When you go down, you know you've gone deep enough when you hit it.

    Here is a great pick they should post next to every squat rack.

    clip_image002_0002.jpg
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    Nov 08, 2013 4:28 PM GMT
    I also wanted to add, to anyone perpetuating the squats is bad for your knees BS.

    You should stop doing bicep curls - they're bad for your elbows brah.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Nov 08, 2013 4:45 PM GMT
    By no means an expert on this BUT...

    I go parallel or a hair below because I have low back and knee issues and even though flexibility isn't an issue (at 6' I do full splits) I really feel the strain on my knees if I go lower.

    If you don't have those issues why not try lower and see how it feels and how your body reacts? Just start with an empty bar in a safety cage and work your way up in reps and weight - slowly.
  • GWriter

    Posts: 1446

    Nov 08, 2013 5:27 PM GMT
    OnceUponATime saidI also wanted to add, to anyone perpetuating the squats is bad for your knees BS.

    You should stop doing bicep curls - they're bad for your elbows brah.

    Ha! I like that.
  • docbailey2005

    Posts: 362

    Nov 08, 2013 5:56 PM GMT
    Parallel
  • metta

    Posts: 39143

    Nov 08, 2013 6:00 PM GMT
    How to GO LOW

  • laydbck

    Posts: 34

    Nov 08, 2013 6:40 PM GMT


    dc415 saidGo to just below parallel. But have someone watch you or record yourself every so often because it's hard to tell how low you're going by yourself (mirrors don't really help with that either).

    Ass-to-grass is possible if you have enough flexibility... nothing unbalanced or unstable about it. I suppose depending on your individual physiology it may or may not put undue stress on your knees. But definitely go below parallel.


    I agree but if Im going ass to grass I do 1/2 of what I should to stay injury free adn in good form. Its this is not a place to pack on the weight take it easy on joints.