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squats - parallel not necessary?

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

  1. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    :lol: Bit of a moving target, eh Zen?

    First it was “ligament overload” – except that ligament injuries are not very common among weightlifters, and when they do occur, they are due not to the biomechanics of the deep squat as generally due to misplaced foot positioning.

    Now, it’s “long term, look at these masters weightlifters” – except, what you are omitting is that the knee injuries that weightlifters suffer is most commonly bursitis or tendonitis, NOT “overload” injuries, but repetitive stress/overuse injuries.

    ...the same kind of repetitive stress injuries that occur in nearly every other sport!! (such as tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), golfer elbow (medial epicondylitis), runner’s knee, plantar fascitis, shoulder bursitis and tendonitis found in swimmers, baseball players, basketball players, hockey players, et cetera et cetera)

    Olympic weightlifters have a volume of deep squatting that is typically 10,000 – 50,000 reps a year!! (Usually for volume calculations only weights over 60% or 75% are counted.) For a “weight trainer” to hit these numbers, would mean deep squats for at least 200 reps (say 10x10 twice a week) a week EVERY SINGLE WEEK of the year FOR YEARS AND YEARS!! Is this really a concern?!?

    In order to maintain any sort of logical consistency (person should not engage in activity X because of repetitive stress injury incurred by elite athlete training at higher volume), you would have to argue that swimming is bad for your shoulders because elite level swimmers suffer incidence of shoulder bursitis and tendonitis!! (As a former collegiate level swimmer, I saw teammates get shoulder tendonitis in their late teens!! But does this injury, resulting from extreme volume and yardage, mean that no one should swim laps?? :rolleyes: :nope: )

    If you did 10,000 – 50,000 reps a year of TRICEP KICKBACKS for 20 years, you’d probably get tendonitis in your elbow!! Does this mean kickbacks are bad for your elbows?? You cannot extrapolate risk from repetitive stress injuries to a general prohibition against performing the movement at a completely different (lower) volume level!!

    (References available upon request, roll out the caution tape if you want...)

    I propose we agree on the following:
    Ligament tears and ruptures are uncommon among trained weightlifters who perform deep squats.
    Repetitive stress injuries and overuse injuries to the knee can result from prolonged periods (years) of deep squatting; however it is unclear the volume level that this occurs at, or whether this volume level is the same for each lifter. It is unclear whether lower volume levels reduce the risk of the development of repetitive stress injuries, but mitigating steps and precautionary measures to prevent overuse or repetitive stress injuries may be assumed to be similar to other repetitive stress injuries.
    Intermittent periods or cycles of deep squatting are not likely to result in the occurrence of repetitive stress injuries as seen in competitive weightlifters.
    The importance of the lifter knowing good form and mechanics for the deep squat is paramount.

    (I am all about the finding of common ground ;) )
     
  2. phitness

    phitness Well-Known Member

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    If the muscular relationship between hams & quads is like biceps & triceps, then I'd say quads should be stronger than hams. Plus, the 4 muscles that make up quadraceps seem larger than the four that make up the hamstrings.

    You might want to get a good quarter quat routine designed. I'm sure M@ can help there. ;)
     
  3. wh0rume

    wh0rume Senior Member

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    Well in my case, my knees only hurt going ATG.
    I did them last night with more weight, stopping before quads parallel and my knees were fine; so that's what im going to keep doing.

    I guess what's not clear to me yet is could Ronnie have these legs without going deep and coming back up before quads-parallel instead?

    [​IMG]

    Judging by what mastover was suggesting "no" ?
     
    #43 wh0rume, Dec 12, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
  4. betastas

    betastas Well-Known Member

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    Depends if the anabolic needle poked him in the butt at the bottom of every squat or not.
     
  5. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    No that's still a problem. The forces on the ligament do not have to rupture it to injure it. Ever have a ligament injury? I did about twenty five years ago. Even then it was not a rupture - just a bad strain. As it happened, that actual strain ocurred while simply walking up a flight of three stairs. Why? because I was on the high school cross-country team at the time, and had just come home from another long workout. It's not too hard to figure out that injury was due to the running. But I finished the running workout with no hint of discomfort. Happily the knee was fully rehabbed and I went back to the tennis team, and fencing in college. (Now if you want a sport that has the potential to disassemble knees those are two good ones). Knees have been injury free ever since.

    Probably the only way to really get at the difference is to compare knee injury rates between Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters.

    There's going to be a problem with these statistics because the studies which will have the best chance of segregating squat technique would be at high levels, and that raises the question of whether artificial enhancement was used which might have compromised the joint health.

    But here is at least what you can find.

    Power lifting injury statistics.

    Olympic weightlifting injury statistics.

    The powerlifting injury distribution:
    You see all that bench pressing tearing up the shoulders, as you expect. But you don't see the squatting tearing up the knees.

    For (Olympic) weightlifting you have to get into the full text (here is a link to that pdf) but what you find is that knee injury accounts for 19.1% of the injuries.

    Looks like with Olympic lifting you double the risk of knee injury compared to power lifting.

    And not that these are the injuries while they are still in elite competition. The overuse stuff will show up eventually, and probably is underestimated in both studies.

    OK so the statistics are not perfect because we don't know things like whether the power lifters in the study were enhanced, etc. And it doesn't address the long term follow up which is where the real risks pile up.

    One thing to remember (and you can see it in the powerlifting study) is of elite competitors, the better ones have lower injury rates. Part of that is because they have better technique, but part of that is because people who already have been injured are less likely to rise to the top level of competition. So when we look at the elite statistics, we should expect that for those of us who are intermediate or advanced lifters, the injury rates will be higher.

    But the Olympic elite lifters had twice the incidence of knee injury as elite power lifters. Even though the power lifters were tearing their shoulders up (as expected) and probably squatting a whole lot more weight than the Olympic lifters.
     
  6. Gordo

    Gordo Well-Known Member

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    Or the Oly Lifters for that matter.

    Steroid use would definitely factor in increased tendon and ligament injuries in both disciplines FWIW.


    This is some good discussion :)
     
  7. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    Well, the increased incidence of shoulder injuries to powerlifters is not just benching, the low-bar position also stresses the shoulders, even with a wide grip. The deadlift is the "rest" lift for the shoulders...is what it is.

    Powerlifters tend to generate much less force at the knee than weightlifters, and more force at the hip.

    The reason knees tend to be susceptible to the repetitive stress injuries in weightlifters is simply that they have two competitive lifts, and BOTH require deep squatting. Consequently, their training volume for deep squatting is incredibly high.

    Powerlifters, with the three lifts, and with the increased loads, generally do not do the amount of deep squat volume that Oly lifters do, and coupled with the force shift to the hips from the low-bar technique, this greatly lessens the potential for knee injuries.

    Looking for the other article - fatigued muscles being more susceptible to ligament strains, etc., but that can happen with ANY exercise - not just deep squats - as your example of running and then climbing stairs illustrates.
     
  8. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    I have never seen Ronnie Coleman's squat, so have no idea. However, I have a feeling Ronnie's thigh development is far more dependent on genetics and "supplementation" than on a couple of inches of squat depth.

    Can you develop your quads without full squats? Absolutely. Can you develop your quads without squatting at all? Absolutely. Can you develop your quads optimally without squatting or full squatting? Depends on individual genetics, IMO.
     
  9. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    200 squats a week doesn't really seem that high. In my long squat workouts 200 is not out of the question at all (in fact once I did over 300). The last long squat workout was this

    which is 174 squat reps. A somewhat more common leg workout for me is this recent one

    Which is 77 squat reps, 30 lunges (each knee), and (if you want to count them 37 knee extensions). That's 144 knee extensions against resistance. (Not counting cardio lifting which can include maybe a hundred lunges).

    I used to do a bit more leg volume - twice a week - and that would probably have been in the 300 reps a week range.

    So why wouldn't it be a concern?
     
  10. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    Zen,

    Throw out all the reps below 60%. Also, lunges and leg extensions don't count for volume.

    So for the second workout, assuming 185 is 60% of your 1RM, you're looking at 57 reps. You'd have to do that workout 4 times a week to hit Oly Lifter volume.
     
  11. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    One other thing

    Not precisely. All the studies are listing is the distribution of injuries, not the incidence rate (per 1000 lifters, per 1000 hours, however measured). (OK, I see the powerlifting study has incidence rates as 5.8 and 3.6 per 1000 hours for national and international competitors - moderately low risk of injury, and the Oly lifting study was 3.3 per 1000 hours - but how is this controlled for volume?) I don't really have hard numbers, but much of the literature does mention that injuries in weightlifting are relatively low in comparison to other sports (presumably soccer, football, etc. which does make sense as ACL tears are huge in those sports).

    From your study:
     
    #51 cajunman, Dec 12, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
  12. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    The chronic inflammatory problems of today are the debilitating injury of tomorrow. Chronic inflammation is becoming understood these days as a lot more serious in terms of long term consequences than previously thought. And this is a tough one - because the processes that stimulate the growth we want are in part responses to things that cause inflammation. The question is how much? And what gets inflammed? Muscle? Probably good inflammation. Anything else? Probably bad inflammation.

    Remember that post I had a while back about all the elite masters weightlifters with the knee injuries?

    They themselves limited their movements to avoid making their knee problems worse.

    So they know what the problem is - the full depth squat.
     
  13. droopy172

    droopy172 Active Member

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    I dunno i found better benefits from full squatting but part of it is flexibility for instance if your 7' tall like an NBA player chances are he's not going to go ATG. I look at it this way our body is meant to move like that if your knees hurt true don't do it but also maybe your doing it wrong as well or you put too much weight who knows there's always an X factor.

    Its like doing a vertical jump test to jump your highest what do you do you squat all the way to the bottom and spring yourself up to jump right? If you only went parallel your jump wouldn't be as high. Would you do half bench presses? If you got the ROM why not? If it hurts put less weight cuz i'll guarantee you can squat parallel a lot more then what you can full squat don't let it disappoint you just because your doing hell of a lot less weight. Your results will differ in the end. Try mixing it up do both. Maybe do heavy parallel or super light full. Remember on fulls point the toes slightly out or else your inner knees are going to bother you. Check out this link

    http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/2002/fullsquat1.jpg See how his toes are pointed.

    http://www.elitefitness.com/forum/showpost.php?p=5124176&postcount=825 Super detailed article on how to do a squat.

    http://www.crossfit.com/cf-video/backsquat.mpg Finally a video recommended from Rippetoe himself.

    I'm not taking sides but just saying don't discredit full squats as the sole thing to mess up knees. Don't be scared of it because some random guy needed his leg amputated or something for it look at bench presses I've seen multiple videos of peoples arms breaking or the bar falling on their chest. Doesnt' mean you shouldn't do it. I'm sure it can mess up a knee as well as any other exercise but none the less its a great exercise to do.
     
  14. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    Actually there's an optimum depth for each person to descend when jumping where peak power output is the greatest. This is because the further you descend the more leverage you lose. You want to descend to a point where your leverage is optimal and can get the greatest stretch reflex. This is usually above parallel but below a quarter squat.

    Squatting all the way to the bottom and then springing up will almost invariably result in a lower vertical jump.
     
  15. droopy172

    droopy172 Active Member

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    Ok ok ok true how bout this then if you were going to do a dragon punch like Ken or Ryu on someone it would be most powerful if you started from the bottom and explode with all your leg might then shouting SHOOOO RYU KEN :D then if you started from parallel.
     
  16. chicanerous

    chicanerous Elite Member
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    :lol: I wouldn't know. :) I heard martial arts involve magic. :lol:
     
  17. droopy172

    droopy172 Active Member

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    LOL imagine how that would look on video if someone tried that..... ok ok sorry to hijack the thread like that just trying to lighten it up a little.
     
  18. cajunman

    cajunman Well-Known Member

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    I would like to draw on Zen’s logic, thank him for his contributions to knee research, and expand on our knowledge of knee hazards by demonstrating that running is even more dangerous to the knee than deep squats.

    First, let us establish the injury incidence rate of running.

    From the following studies we have the following incidence rates:
    “Prevention of running injuries by warm-up, cool-down, and stretching exercises.”, van Mechelen, Hlobil, Kemper, Voorn, de Jongh. Department of Health Science, Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Published in the Am J Sports Med. 1993 Sep-Oct;21(5):711-9. found running injuries at 4.9 and 5.5 injuries per 1000 hours among their control and intervention subjects respectively.
    “Injuries in runners: a prospective study of alignment.” Wen DY, Puffer JC, Schmalzried TP. Published in the Clin J Sport Med. 1998 Jul;8(3):187-94. found running injuries at 6.76 running injuries per 1000 hours.

    So, we may state that the incidence rate of running injuries is at least equal to Olympic weightlifting and may in fact be twice as much.

    For the sake of argument, let’s be conservative and say EQUAL.

    Now, chronic knee injuries, alone, account for nearly half of the injuries from which runners suffer.
    References for this statement:
    Fredericson, M. (1996). Common injuries in runners. Diagnosis, rehabilitation and prevention. Sports Med, 21, 49-72.
    Gudas, C.J. (1980). Patterns of lower-extremity injury in 224 runners. Comprehensive Therapy, 6, 50 -59.
    James, S.L., Bates, B.T., and Osternig, L.R. (1978). Injuries to runners. Am J Sports Med, 6, 40-50.
    Scott, S.H., and Winter, D.A. (1990). Internal forces at chronic running injury sites. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 22, 357-369.
    Van Mechelen, W. (1992). Running injuries: a review of the epidemiological literature. Sports Med, 14, 320-325.

    SO, Given that knee injuries account for half of running injuries, while only being 19% of weightlifting injuries, and given that we have been conservative and assumed injury incidence rates as being equal, which they are not, then we may conclude that running has more than twice the risk of knee injuries as deep squatting.

    (Not surprising now is it that Zen’s knee ligament injury came from running, is it? ;) )

    So, I will go with the safer alternative to running, and squat deep!! :tu:

    (BTW Zen, did you know that the injury rate for the rowing machine was around 6 injuries per 1000 hours? Might want to be careful! ;) )
     
    #58 cajunman, Dec 12, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
  19. zenpharaohs

    zenpharaohs Elite Member
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    Everyone knows that. The exception being that if you are very very light. The bad idea of high volume running doesn't make deep squatting a good idea.

    Just look at the elite masters olympic lifters who have done a lifetime of deep squats. They have bad knees and they don't squat deep in training any more. Some of them avoid going up a single flight of stairs.

    If that doesn't paint the picture what does?
     
  20. Timbermiko

    Timbermiko Well-Known Member

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    I don't know...but I wonder what they would look like without the supps..;)
     

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