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  1. #1
    Registered User BrandonH20's Avatar
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    Can't squat below parallel. Should I not squat at all?

    I'm a big fan of squats, but I've come to realize that even when I started going lower than I used to, it still wasn't below parallel. I finally looked in a side mirror while I was squatting and I was only going TO parallel. I tried doing a squat without a bar or weights, and if I try to go lower than parallel, I fall over backwards. I can do it if I hold on to something to keep my balance. I've also read that stopping at parallel is a horrible place to stop, because you don't want to reverse the weight back up at that point of the bend. I want to keep squatting but I'm worried about the health of my knees if I continue. Maybe someone else has had this problem or there's something I can replace it with?
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  2. #2
    Never get outworked AusPower's Avatar
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    Widen stance, point toes further outward and squat down, not back.

    You can do it, it's a natural human position.
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    Watch this Dan John vid, it makes everything simpler for you.
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  4. #4
    Registered User matjusm's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BrandonH20 View Post
    I'm a big fan of squats, but I've come to realize that even when I started going lower than I used to, it still wasn't below parallel. I finally looked in a side mirror while I was squatting and I was only going TO parallel. I tried doing a squat without a bar or weights, and if I try to go lower than parallel, I fall over backwards. I can do it if I hold on to something to keep my balance. I've also read that stopping at parallel is a horrible place to stop, because you don't want to reverse the weight back up at that point of the bend. I want to keep squatting but I'm worried about the health of my knees if I continue. Maybe someone else has had this problem or there's something I can replace it with?
    Squatting to parallel isn't that bad for you, do it if thats all you can.

    And I just can't understand how a person can't do a full squat as its one of the most natural movements for your body. Think about sitting down as opposed to sitting back. And if you do have problems, just keep working at it and you should be able to do full squats soon enough.
    Are you seriously suggesting that a position like this is impossible for you to achieve? :
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  5. #5
    Registered User BrandonH20's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by matjusm View Post
    Squatting to parallel isn't that bad for you, do it if thats all you can.

    And I just can't understand how a person can't do a full squat as its one of the most natural movements for your body. Think about sitting down as opposed to sitting back. And if you do have problems, just keep working at it and you should be able to do full squats soon enough.
    Are you seriously suggesting that a position like this is impossible for you to achieve? :
    Yeah if I have to squat down to grab something, I lean forward on my toes instead of keeping my feet flat. That's what feels natural at least.
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    Polski Bro mobikwa's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BrandonH20 View Post
    Yeah if I have to squat down to grab something, I lean forward on my toes instead of keeping my feet flat. That's what feels natural at least.
    That's normal. Once you have a bar and weights on your back it will bring your center of gravity forward a bit and you won't fall backwards anymore. When doing bodyweight squats you keep your arms straight out in front of you to keep from falling.
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  7. #7
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by matjusm View Post
    And I just can't understand how a person can't do a full squat as its one of the most natural movements for your body.
    It's our Western lifestyle. Our bodies don't only adapt to what we do in the gym, but to day-to-day life as well. So if we sit all the time, our bodies adapt to that; if we squat all the time, they adapt to that, too.

    Notice that the picture you posted (it's stupidly big, remember we don't all have 40" plasma screen tvs as computer monitors) as an example is of an Asian. In Asia their toilets are on the floor, and it's common for people to squat in the street while talking to each-other.

    In the West we sit down on seats for the toilet, we sit for work, sit for transport, and sit for leisure.

    On the flipside, many Japanese women will be somewhat bow-legged and pigeon-toed - when they sit kneeling on the floor they splay their lower legs out and feet in, doing this as children when their bones and joints aren't yet firm means they bend. So every culture has some way of living day-to-day that messes up their body. Our Western lifestyle just happens to screw up our squats.

    Luckily, it's not that difficult to sort out. The Dan John vid above will help the vast majority of people to squat below parallel. The rest will need some time to ease into it, but it can almost always be done eventually.
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  8. #8
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    go back to bar only and keep practicing with it until u can..then slowly ad weight again.. i think to parallel is great too! either one is better than no squats!
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by BrandonH20 View Post
    I'm a big fan of squats, but I've come to realize that even when I started going lower than I used to, it still wasn't below parallel. I finally looked in a side mirror while I was squatting and I was only going TO parallel. I tried doing a squat without a bar or weights, and if I try to go lower than parallel, I fall over backwards. I can do it if I hold on to something to keep my balance. I've also read that stopping at parallel is a horrible place to stop, because you don't want to reverse the weight back up at that point of the bend. I want to keep squatting but I'm worried about the health of my knees if I continue. Maybe someone else has had this problem or there's something I can replace it with?
    Am I the only one that bursted out laughing at this part?

    LOL strong word choice OP..

    Not makin' fun of the thread just love how you worded that haha.

    Find your balance.. practice makes perfect. A bit wider stance and feet facing out a bit might help like the people above have suggested. Good luck!
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  10. #10
    Registered User Oldschool68's Avatar
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    Try elevating your heels by using either a board thats 2-4 inches thick or use two 10 pound plates to stand on(one or each foot) this may help u keep your weight more forward throughout the movement... as you begin to get the right feel for where your body needs to be throughout the movement u can decrease the elevation in your heels gradually untill you are on flat ground... keep squatting man! Itis too important of an exersize to neglect... lighten the weights and work the form! good luck!
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by BrandonH20 View Post
    I'm a big fan of squats, but I've come to realize that even when I started going lower than I used to, it still wasn't below parallel. I finally looked in a side mirror while I was squatting and I was only going TO parallel. I tried doing a squat without a bar or weights, and if I try to go lower than parallel, I fall over backwards. I can do it if I hold on to something to keep my balance. I've also read that stopping at parallel is a horrible place to stop, because you don't want to reverse the weight back up at that point of the bend. I want to keep squatting but I'm worried about the health of my knees if I continue. Maybe someone else has had this problem or there's something I can replace it with?
    Post a video, sounds like you're not leaning your torso forward enough (back is too vertical) to compensate gravity. Flexibility drills will help to.
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    Registered User SpeedEuphoria's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BrandonH20 View Post
    I tried doing a squat without a bar or weights, and if I try to go lower than parallel, I fall over backwards.
    with the bar on your back you wont fall back
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by SpeedEuphoria View Post
    with the bar on your back you wont fall back
    Yes you will, a bar on the back won't magically stop you falling either forwards or backwards, it's about centre of gravity, off centre either way by too much and you fall.
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    Work on flexibility in your hips and hamstrings and stretch out your calves; over time you'll find that your mobility and range of motion will increase. I'd also say that if you do all that and it still doesn't work, then try front squats or lunges. If THOSE exercises don't work, then go to the leg press. The squat is a great exercise, but if you can't do it right, and if it does compromise your lower back, then don't do it. JMO...

    And for the record, most Japanese and Korean households have Western toilets. The "slit trench" style of toilets, while still seen at train stations and whatnot, is slowly disappearing. (Thank God for that!). Perhaps they still have a plethora of them in the other Asian countries although I hope not...
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    I would highly recommend you seek out Mark Rippetoe's Instructional video on squatting from the Starting Strength package.

    Here is another video of Mark instructing not from the SS package:

    Last edited by realeyz; 01-17-2011 at 06:09 AM.
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    Originally Posted by ltbs View Post
    Yes you will, a bar on the back won't magically stop you falling either forwards or backwards, it's about centre of gravity, off centre either way by too much and you fall.
    But the bar, and then bar+weights will bring your CoG forward slightly and you won't be as inclined to fall backwards. It's hard as hell for me to do bodyweight squats but with the bar they become no problem.
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    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    Watch this Dan John vid, it makes everything simpler for you.
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