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squats - parallel not necessary?

Discussion in 'Weight Training/Bulking' started by wh0rume, Dec 7, 2006.

  1. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

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    .....or people who want some insane, big, diced up quads. :neener:

    :)
     
  2. BreakingPoint

    BreakingPoint Well-Known Member

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    This is how I currently squat, unfortunately I don't have the ankle flexibility to get low enough, I've to use plates under my heels but I refuse to do any other form of squat for quads. These things made my thighs grow like weeds.
     
  3. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    No. They need to be in balance with each other or else there is a higher chance of injury. What "balance" usually means is that the hamstrings are at least 80% as strong as the quads. I think it's actually unusual to see hamstrings stronger than quads; in that case I wouldn't want to see more than a 20% difference though. The stronger the muscles? The more you want to keep opposing ones in balance. This is because the other tissues (ligaments and tendons) are typically not increasing their strength as much as the muscles do, at least not for quite a while.
     
  4. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    I'm not seeing any lack of quads here. A few sets of 30-60 reps at a bit over bodyweight seems to work just fine.
     
  5. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    I actually think the muscle length and insertion geometry is really key with hamstrings. People can talk about certain exercises as being hamstring dominant all day long but when I do them? Usually I get massive glute activation, and feel it in the lumbar extensors from stabilizing the pelvis against the glutes.

    The thing about hamstrings and quads is that they work at such a high mechanical disadvantage that small changes in bone structure lead to big changes in force at different angles. Now I think knee structure tend to be less variable from one person to the next, and the muscles below the knee really don't figure into knee extension, so quad exercises reliably hit quads from one guy to the next.

    But hamstrings end up both in knee flexion and hip extension. and unlike the quads which have nothing to mention on the other side of the knee, the hamstrings meet up with giant muscles - glutes and back extensors - on the other side of the pelvis. Core strength and pelvic tilt can vary a good deal. So it's no wonder to me that people find conflicting results with hamstrings, especially for hip extension. I expect some of that is due to training differences, but I think a good deal of it is how much leverage the muscles have due to the particular geometry of the pelvis.
     
  6. mastover

    mastover Well-Known Member

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    :bow: :bow: :bow:

    I have a bad feeling that the Figure girl competitor I'm training legs with next week is going to be doing 40 rep squats. :eek:

    I'm calling up my lawyer tonight to draft my Last Will and Testament. :blank:
     
  7. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Well I got no objections to 40 rep squats. If her pelvis is anything like mine, she will get bigger glutes, bigger quads, and possibly growth in the lumbar extensor area. I don't know what she looks like now, but the glute and quad size could be useful; I would be slightly anxious about the lower lumbar growth for a figure lady. I find it really comfortable in my daily life, but I'm not a body builder by any stretch.

    EDIT: If her pelvis is anything like mine, she's not going to win any figure competitions either.

    As to you? Have fun! I'm just about an hour away from a nice big workout. I have no idea what it might be, but the long squat is one of the possibilities. I feel strong - the hamstring screaming from last Monday is long gone. The shoulder is not acting up much. I can't think of any good excuses.
     
  8. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    Narrow-minded dogma.

    Studies have suggested stress on PCL does not increase linearly; stress between 70%, 90%, and 110% knee flexion are not significantly different.

    Deep squats may be used by:

    Powerlifters. Some feds require squats to go past parallel, not to parallel. Training deeper squats early in the cycle and shallowing out closer to the meet is a common practice. Box squats may be done to a box several inches below parallel to build power out of the hole and for carryover to the deadlift.

    Bodybuilders. Deep squats hit the vastus medialis oblique like no other exercise. Ironically, EMG studies have shown leg rotation (i.e. turn your feet out), does not affect the relative contribution of vastus medialis or lateralis to leg exercises, but the deeper the squat, the more work the vastus medialis receives. (VMO can also fire harder when the adductors are flexing strongly, which a deep squat also provides.)

    Strongmen competitiors. Clean and press events, stone loading, even tire flipping may require a competitor to go into a deep squat or at least a past parallel squat.

    Martial artists (??) - not my area of expertise at all, but from my Chuck Norris movie-viewing experience, deep squats may help when dropping down into a low ankle sweep, and then roundhouse kicking other bad guys in the area. :tu:

    Other sports: Squat specificity is debated endlessly by more knowledgeable people than you or I. It has been shown that deep squats have more carryover as far as strength transfer to a wider range of leg movement than shallow squats - i.e. shallow squats do not carryover to your full squats, but full squats carryover to parallel squats. (Why most powerlifters will do deep squats, and when they do partial squats for psychological or weight acclimation, they will still include deep squats.) This is why two trainers will argue over whether basketball players should/should not do deep squats - one says they will never do anything in the sport from a deep squat position, the other argues the strength carryover throughout the range of motion justifies it.

    Just to make it clear, I am NOT saying everyone should squat deep or deep squatting is the Holy Grail, but spare me the whole "deep squatting is only for Oly Lifters and idiots" garbage.
     
  9. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    Partial squats will strengthen your quads, but the carryover outside of the range of motion is limited. Parallel squats will strengthen your quads from zero to 90-100 degrees flexion (depending on where parallel is for you). Lunges, step-ups on a low box, bulgarian squats can all hit the quads, but the forces at the knee aren't significantly different from the squat. Reverse sled dragging can hit your quads.

    Ideally your hams and quads are balanced, but I am not aware of any problem from the hamstrings being stronger than the quads - weak hamstrings is a bigger concern. The other issue is how to measure the imbalance - is it knee flexion vs. knee extension or knee extension vs. hip extension (or even concentric knee extension vs. eccentric knee flexion)? Which exercises to use? So, your imbalance may not be as pronounced as the numbers appear. If you are concerned, you need to talk to someone *in person* like your coach/trainer who can observe you through a range of motion/exercises, not an internet message board. :gl:
     
  10. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    If you think I have a narrow mind about exercise, why not try all the exercises I do? Check my journal. Yeah, you called me out. I'm calling you back. :tu:

    As to the tension on the PCL: It goes up sharply when you get past about 100 degrees knee flexion. The tension on the muscle doesn't go up much past 100 degrees knee flexion. The numbers (I can go look them up) were along the lines of the maximum tension on the PCL was about 2.5 times the maximum tension on the quadriceps. OK that's an experimental result.

    Now if you really DO have a reason to apply more than twice the tension to a ligament that you apply to one of the bigger muscles in your body, be my guest. Just keep in mind that the more advanced you are as a lifter, the more your muscles have increased strength compared to your ligaments, which increase in strength slowly if at all. Or don't keep it in mind. It's your knees, not mine.
     
  11. Timbermiko

    Timbermiko Well-Known Member

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    I saw my strength coach recommended just that to a cyclist.
     
  12. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    Huh? Talking two different things here. You parrot a narrow-minded dogmatic view of deep squatting. This is irrelevant to your exercise variety. You could do every exercise in the Keys to the Universe on an inverted bosu unilaterally with a flex band, and your view of deep squatting would still be narrow-minded. I’m "calling you out", you're "calling me back", whatever :rolleyes: …I listed several situations where an individual may choose to squat deep other than “being an Oly Lifter” or “having a desire to overload his ligaments” – if your view is not simply narrow-minded dogma, then respond and address.

    Ironically, studies of elite Oly lifters and powerlifters found they had greater knee stability. As has been discussed previously in another thread, it is open to argument whether the activity itself pre-selects for individuals with stronger knees than average - OR, it just may be that deep squats, done with proper technique and form, can strengthen the knees. I don't expect any study to conclusively answer that question any time soon, and I don't really care deeply enough to jawjack it back and forth.

    My point view on any exercise, be it deep squats, upright rows, deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, bent over row, press behind neck, wide grip bench to the neck, etc etc, is as follows:
    If the exercise does not cause you pain,
    If you know how to perform the exercise correctly,
    If you derive some benefit, or believe you derive some benefit from the exercise,
    THEN KNOCK YOURSELF OUT.

    However, if an exercise causes pain, worries you about an injury or re-injuring a previously injured area, worries you that you don’t know how to do it properly, you don’t feel helps you, or you don’t feel you need to do it, THEN DON’T DO IT.

    Could Life be any SIMPLER?

    No exercise is perfectly safe. (Or, as Louie Simmons puts it “perfectly safe is generally perfectly worthless”) Each exercise has risks. Each exercise has benefits. Individuals need to examine their goals, and decide to include or omit exercises based on their own "bang for the buck" on each exercise and their own level of risk. But to tell someone that only a very small population should be doing an exercise is pure BS.

    I look forward to your expanded list where you outline exactly WHO should be doing deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, leg extensions, bent over rows, good mornings, etc…perhaps you can do a sort of “Keys to the Universe” yourself, except with a little passage by each exercise limiting who should do it (instead of leaving it up to individual lifters to make that decision for themselves)...:rolleyes:

    Deep squatting tends to have its fanatical proponents, and its fanatical opponents - ironically, I find that some of the most effective exercises seem to establish the deepest divisions - but, if you cannot acknowledge points of view outside your own little "no one but Oly lifters should deep squat", if you cannot acknowledge that an individual may intelligently make the decision to squat deep for the furthering of their own goals, and may in fact derive benefit from deep squatting, even while others may not, then IMeversoHO, you are nothing but a fanatic opponent, and narrow-minded as well. :blank:
     
  13. betastas

    betastas Well-Known Member

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    How about we see some scientific studies that show one side or the other in relation to benefits of deep squatting instead of talking about "narrow minded dogma"?
     
  14. droopy172

    droopy172 Active Member

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    When I transitioned from regular parallel squats to ATG squats I found it a lot easier on my knees. Also, my whole leg would get sore after my set of squats than if i did regular parallel squats I predominantly feel it in my quads only. One thing I did notice though is I originally pointed my toes forward but when I read the rippetoe article on how to do squats where you point your toes slightly out and not to look up but straight ahead my knees didn't bother me at all. This article was of some help as I too thought that ATG squats would screw up my knees.

    http://www.johnberardi.com/updates/jan312003/na_myths.htm
     
  15. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    If you want a literature review then here is a reasonable place to start. Complete with:

    and

    [​IMG]
     
  16. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    From "Knee: Posterior Cruciate Ligament: Injuries, Treatment and Rehabilitation" by Pekka Kannus (Accident & Trauma Research Center and The Tampere Research Station of Sports Medicine, The UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research, Tampere, Finland), Markku Jérvinen (Department of Surgery, Section of Orthopaedics, University Hospital, Tampere, Finland), and Per Renstrîm (Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation, McClure Musculoskeletal Research Center, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, USA)

    (Where is weightlifting??)

    The mechanisms for PCL ruptures are identified as being:

    In this comprehensive review of PCL injuries, and addressing the five most common mechanisms, and three other possible mechanisms, NOT ONE is "deep squatting"!!

    Zen, you also omitted a key sentence from your own citation:
    Finally, from "Cruciate ligament forces in the human knee during rehabilitation exercises." (Toutoungi DE, Lu TW, Leardini A, Catani F, O'Connor JJ., Cambridge Consultants Ltd., Science Park, Milton Rd, Cambridge, UK.),
    BUT
    (i.e. LEG CURLS!)

    :rolleyes: Polly want a cracker?
     
    #36 cajunman, Dec 11, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2006
  17. Gordo

    Gordo Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  18. Happy Monster

    Happy Monster Well-Known Member

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    :bb:
     
  19. JoeSchmo

    JoeSchmo Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Seriously though, this is an interesting discussion/debate -- especially since I've always gone past parallel....
     
  20. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Yeah it's interesting. It's not going to get settled here by us though, so we might be getting the caution tape out with the "nothing to see" any minute now.

    The injury question for weightlifters? It's going to depend on which population you ask. Here, we find

    Knee injury was the most common.

    The real thing is not to look for catastrophic injury though. It's to look at the long term. So if you check this link on masters lifters you find that it is not uncommon that they have shot their shoulders to bits and have some pretty sad knees.


    So if you want to know what a long history of deep squatting brings? Just ask elite masters weightlifters.
     

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