PDA

View Full Version : Half Squats? Or Full Squats?



shawn92
03-26-2010, 07:17 AM
For the half squats, I mean to parallel. For the full squats, it's lower than parallel or even the full motion ATG squats.

I don't know. I've read and done many researches on it, but I'm still unsure. Some people says full squats are bad for knees, but says half are bad. For myself, I've quite some problems with my knees, but they aren't really caused by the depths, I had some accidents during workout, but never mind about that.

I've tried full squats before. They feel really weird, like on my knees. I mean it's definitely more difficult. Half squats... Yeah I can do more squats and stuff. But is it bad? I understand a lot of people say that our knees shouldn't go further or too much further than our toes during squatting. Well, mine is just about the toes or the most slightly ahead.

But I understand that a full squat will definitely bring the knees slightly further than my half squat's. So...? Any advice?

jheers11
03-26-2010, 07:24 AM
Yea I have been wondering about this myself also....and I wud like to add would it be more beneficial for strength to do half squats since you can handle more weight? Or to do full-squats which I cant do as much weight with but you get a more full range of motion.

shawn92
03-26-2010, 08:09 AM
Yea I have been wondering about this myself also....and I wud like to add would it be more beneficial for strength to do half squats since you can handle more weight? Or to do full-squats which I cant do as much weight with but you get a more full range of motion.

Haha yeah. My track senior also encourages me to do quarter squats. But honestly I prefer going low and deep, at least parallel. But for the power part, I'll just do cleans. But currently I'm resting from them due to injuries... But yeah, curious about these squats stuff man.

jgood
03-26-2010, 08:49 AM
For the half squats, I mean to parallel. For the full squats, it's lower than parallel or even the full motion ATG squats.

I don't know. I've read and done many researches on it, but I'm still unsure. Some people says full squats are bad for knees, but says half are bad. For myself, I've quite some problems with my knees, but they aren't really caused by the depths, I had some accidents during workout, but never mind about that.

I've tried full squats before. They feel really weird, like on my knees. I mean it's definitely more difficult. Half squats... Yeah I can do more squats and stuff. But is it bad? I understand a lot of people say that our knees shouldn't go further or too much further than our toes during squatting. Well, mine is just about the toes or the most slightly ahead.

But I understand that a full squat will definitely bring the knees slightly further than my half squat's. So...? Any advice?
As long as you are going parallel you will be ok. You need to go as far as flexibility allows you to ... but as the weight gets heavier you won't be able to go as low .... its unavoidable. This is one reason why I like periodization on the smaller scale or larger scale .... because you get your legs stronger by pushing more weight but when you go back down you really focus on getting extremely low. Each portion of the squat works different muscles and the "hole" is the bottom and the hardest spot in the lift.

LouV
03-26-2010, 09:31 AM
As long as you are going parallel you will be ok. You need to go as far as flexibility allows you to ... but as the weight gets heavier you won't be able to go as low .... its unavoidable.

Yes and no. Parallel is fine but it is a minimum. Lower/Deeper is actually better on the knees. If you can't go low, drop the weight until you can. Staying higher is actually more dangerous on the knee joint and just a bs way to inflate your ego by putting up artificially high weight.

A lot of people on this site promote Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. I'm yet one more. It is by far the best thing I've seen to teach people how to squat and explains in very much detail as to why to squat deep. If you're an athlete that likes to lift, check it out.

Tim01
03-26-2010, 10:12 AM
When your thighs are parallel your knees are actually in their least stable position. As such I would not suggest it should be anyones goal to squat to parallel.

Generally speaking though I recommend people to squat as deep as their technique will allow. All the theory about about greater glute and hamstring activity with deeper squats is well and good. But if you can't go deep without your back rounding and knees caving in etc. then I would stick to a depth where you can maintain good form.

So, as is often the case, the answer is... it depends.

Shaun_W
03-26-2010, 10:14 AM
but as the weight gets heavier you won't be able to go as low ....

Then you're lifting too heavy.

scott_donald
03-26-2010, 10:48 AM
this is one thing i have tried to research over time...

what depth of squats?

what are the benefits of each etc...

what i preach now for the majority is full atg squats - maybe not use as much weigh but certainly strengthens the hips, helps with flexibility... but that is for the athlete...

what i have come to think is if a football player can squat 500 to parallel, or 400 ATG then his hips etc will be far stronger through a fuller range of motion... does it really matter that the player has lost the 100lbs on the squat??? is performance may improve since he is squatting deeper using the hips, glutes etc more.... and freeing the hips is very important to performing well on the field...

a PLer may be different...

so there are arguments for both methods... you can mix them... you can stick to one method...




First, Olympic lifters don't compete in the squat. They use it as an assistance exercise to aid in their competition lifts: the snatch and the clean & jerk.

While it's true that certain lifters routinely "max out" on their squats, it's done without emotional arousal and usually without assistive gear, with the exception of maybe a belt. Soviet weightlifters routinely used weights between 75-85% of their 1RM's to improve their competition lifts.
Second, for the most part, Olympic squats and powerlifting squats are completely different animals from the ground up. We'll start with the Olympic squat.

The Olympic Squat
The Olympic squat (or back squat as it's known in Olympic lifting circles), is categorized as a high bar squat. The bar is placed on top of the traps, on the shelf created by retracting the shoulder blades between the upper trapezius and the middle trapezius. The torso is relatively upright during both the descent and the ascent of the lift.
The feet are positioned somewhere between straight ahead and externally rotated 15 degrees and set approximately shoulder-width apart. The hands are placed in the same position as in the clean; in the case of the heavyweights and superheavies, sometimes slightly wider.
Unlike the powerlifting squat, Olympic lifters stay relatively relaxed under the bar, preferring a "long spine" position where they lengthen from the crown of the head to the coccyx. They use high-tension techniques sparingly. These squats are performed relatively fast with a quick, yet controlled eccentric and an explosive concentric action.
This matches the sporting need of the lifter to pull himself under the bar and recover the lift quickly. Too much tension will slow him down and cause him to miss the lift.

The Powerlifting Squat
The powerlifting squat is about lifting more weight, not necessarily getting stronger. This may be a controversial statement, but most powerlifters will tell you that they don't care if you've gotten stronger or not; they simply want to know how much you lifted in any given meet.
There are two current schools in powerlifting: "Assistive Gear" and "More Assistive Gear" (although raw federations and meets are starting to make a comeback). These two schools are exemplified by two major and distinct federations: the IPF and the WPO.
Broadly speaking, the IPF is dominated by the Eastern Europeans who use a hybrid type squat, which we'll discuss shortly. The WPO lifters use a squat style designed to optimize the advantages of their assistive gear. Let's discuss the WPO style of squat first because it best contrasts the idea of "lifting more" as opposed to getting stronger (although these lifters are obviously still verystrong!).

Jeff Lewis moving massive weights at the Arnold.
This style of squat is characterized by a low bar placement across the rear deltoids with the shoulder blades retracted and with a very wide foot placement. It's initiated with the hips; the shins stay perpendicular to the floor during the entire lift. This reduces the reliance on the quadriceps and maximizes the contribution of the hamstrings, gluteals, lower back, and the assistive gear.
There's a forward torso displacement during the descent and ascent. The hands, although in theory are kept close to the torso, are usually placed almost collar-to-collar among the heavyweights and supers due to lack of shoulder flexibility from bench press specialization and torso girth. Because of the massive loads used in the upper weight categories and the bar positioning, high-tension techniques are practiced routinely on this style squat.
The IPF lifters use modified styles of the Olympic and WPO lifters: low bar placement, medium hand spacing, and a just-wider-than-shoulder-width foot position. Their assistive gear provides less support/enhancement when compared to the WPO. Some have argued that the wide stance squat of the WPO lifters has evolved to maximize the limits of the gear, and we'd tend to agree.
Now that we've looked at the differences between the two types of squats, let's briefly examine why you should be squatting. Later on, we'll figure out which method is best for you.

Why Squat?
Why not? There are lots of myths regarding squatting: bad for the knees, bad for the back, etc. The reality is, whether or not a squat is bad for someone is dependent upon that individual, at that moment.
Many articles have been written on the merits and benefits of squatting, so let's quickly review:
• The legs "feed the wolf" — the stronger the legs, the stronger the body
• Improved athletic performance
• Improved metabolism
• Improved body composition
• Improved sex hormone profiles/production (determined by load)
• Improved activities of daily living
Which style of squat is the best? Neither and both. The individual's limitations usually dictate the style of squat he uses. Most individuals should learn how to box squat before any other squat. Why? Because most of the people we work with are office workers: everything's tight that needs to be loose and everything that needs to be strong is weak.
Beyond that, sitting on a chair is an environment in which they feel "natural" (as sad as that may be!). Why not take them from a familiar environment where they can feel successful, and then move them to a less familiar environment once they have some success under their belt?
As their mobility improves throughout the body, they should be moved into an Olympic style squat. Why? Because this is a "natural" squat. If we watch children squat, this is how they do it — the body folds like an accordion with the joints stacked one on top of the other. This takes advantage of natural bone rhythms and allows all the muscles to work in harmony with each other. It also allows for the full development of the leg musculature.


Don't believe us? Look at the leg and hip development of elite weightlifters and try to argue with us. Pyrros Dimas is a great example. However, if the mobility doesn't suitably improve, they should stay with a hip initiated squat.



A Personal Story
When I (Geoff) taught myself how to Olympic squat, it was at a time when the shin was supposed to stay vertical, the knee never moved over the foot, and you never squatted below parallel, or in the words of Harold Ramis's character in Ghostbusters, "Something very bad will happen."
I'd just been diagnosed with bilateral patella alta, or lateral kneecap tracking, apparently brought about by powerlifting style squats — low bar, wide stance. Walking up and down the stairs was excruciating, let alone squatting.
About that time I'd become interested in Olympic lifting. I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I did notice that weightlifters squatted below parallel and their knees moved over their feet, even sometimes over their toes! And you know what? They had huge, well-developed quads, even that hard-to-get tear drop thingy right above the knee that leg extensions were supposed to be for (the same ones the ortho gave me to "fix" my condition) but never seemed to really work.
The funny thing at the time was, everyone who'd told me that I shouldn't squat rock-bottom couldn't do it themselves and couldn't justify why weightlifters could and how they achieved that spectacular leg development in spite of violating all the known "laws" of squatting.
Nobody told me how to make the transition from power to Olympic squats, so I just made some stuff up. It seemed reasonable to me that even though I couldn't perform an Olympic squat, I should try to get my body used to that position.
So, I grabbed on to the power rack, placed my feet in the Olympic squat position and just tried to wiggle myself into a weightlifting squat position, sometimes spending 5-10 minutes just moving in and out of the hole, stretching the tight "squatting" muscles as I went along. The more I did, the greater my depth increased until eventually I added weight.
I just did what I thought made sense. And I did it all the time: in the gym, at home, whenever, wherever. I can't remember how long the process took, but it wasn't more than a few weeks.
Twelve years later while attending the RKC, I learned that Pavel calls this method prying. The gist is to "create space" in your joints in the specific weightlifting squat position. Here's what it looks like:


Specific Mobility
Performing mobility work for the feet, ankles, knees, and hips at a bare minimum is necessary to speed up the process of transitioning from the box squat to the Olympic squat. Focus on performing slow, controlled movements through full ranges of motion.
Never fight your balance while trying to regain mobility, so hold on to the power rack or a wall. Use two hands if you must. After you have the movements down, only then should you consider "stand-alone" joint mobility.

Mobility Work
For specific foot, ankle, knee, and hip mobility we like to use the R-Phase DVD from Z-Health. The prospect of explaining these drills here is too monumental to even begin, but if you want to explore additional mobility work—which we highly recommend—check out the R-Phase DVD.

Specific Flexibility
Specific flexibility for the calves, quads, hip flexors, adductors, and gluteals is also necessary. Perform these drills after your joint mobility work, or pair them with the mobility work in a manner similar to the following: ankle/calf, knee/calf and quad, hip/quad, adductors, gluteals, and hip external rotators.
The flexibility work you perform should match your weaknesses in the squat. If you have tight adductors, spend extra time there.

kris90
03-26-2010, 11:00 AM
ATG squats just incorporate more hamstring and glute activity. if you are doing squats simply for your quads only, then there's no need to do ATG (imo). do whatever you can push more weight in, but if the only exercise your doing for legs are squats, then ATG would be good because it will get hamstrings and glutes involved. if your doing other exercises like lunges or SLDL, then you wouldn't need to do ATG. just my 2 cents.

The_Terrorist
03-26-2010, 11:28 AM
ATG is waaaaay better for football IMO.

ajmemeni_cro
03-26-2010, 11:46 AM
ATG squats just incorporate more hamstring and glute activity. if you are doing squats simply for your quads only, then there's no need to do ATG (imo). do whatever you can push more weight in, but if the only exercise your doing for legs are squats, then ATG would be good because it will get hamstrings and glutes involved. if your doing other exercises like lunges or SLDL, then you wouldn't need to do ATG. just my 2 cents.
above paralel (partial) squats can cause injuries for the knees, so those are not recomended.
I quess the box squat handles that.

on the other hand, I couldn't squat below paralel because my hips would come 'under' (lower back would round) when I started squating. The thing that helped the most was rigorous streching of the hamstrings. Improved a lot after two weeks or so.

ajmemeni_cro
03-26-2010, 11:49 AM
A lot of people on this site promote Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. I'm yet one more. It is by far the best thing I've seen to teach people how to squat and explains in very much detail as to why to squat deep. If you're an athlete that likes to lift, check it out.
+1

there are videos on youtube of Ripp explaining the squat.

carl.c
03-26-2010, 12:05 PM
shwan92: The full squat is the only way to go if yor an athlete. Full range is anything about 3 inches below parellel.
Now the most inportant question is what is your knee injury? It is silly to say you have one with out explaining what it is. If you are having trouble going below parellel it may well be a reslut of the injury and additional supporting work may need to be done before you can go squat properly.

jgood
03-26-2010, 01:24 PM
Yes and no. Parallel is fine but it is a minimum. Lower/Deeper is actually better on the knees. If you can't go low, drop the weight until you can. Staying higher is actually more dangerous on the knee joint and just a bs way to inflate your ego by putting up artificially high weight.

A lot of people on this site promote Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. I'm yet one more. It is by far the best thing I've seen to teach people how to squat and explains in very much detail as to why to squat deep. If you're an athlete that likes to lift, check it out.
The danger studies are from above parallel squatters and again each phase works the muscles differently.


Then you're lifting too heavy.
Not necessarily ... depends on what % of your 1RM you are working. Also, not everybody is flexible enough to reach a full atg squat position. Again at least reach parallel.

txapn
03-26-2010, 05:36 PM
scott_donald has hit right on the head!

for an athlete full squats are better for the HIPS, which is very important in sports and very neglected in most high school athletes!

now as far as hitting the glutes and hamstrings in all actuality going as low as you can will put the tension and hit the glutes and hams! WHETHER IT BE QUARTER SQUATS OR PARALLEL, but be warned that anything above parallel puts alot of strain on the knees (so they are not recommended) the reason most cant squat low enough properly is bc of muscular imbalances. and lack of flexibility!

the key is progression! i know alot of guys especially on here (in the sports forum) dont want to hear this nor do they want to try it, but starting out squatting with a stability ball against the wall and going low as possible is a great start! or even hitting the stability side of the legs (one legged squats/ bosu squats just examples) or trying to learn the great art of foam rolling, and then of coarse progressing into weights and so on...

xxtwistedxx
03-26-2010, 05:55 PM
we do both

...dont hate

any normal day its ATG all day. but i like to mix in high box squats or high band squats to work lock out strength. similar to board bench. now these happen only occasionally and during the offseason since some of my guys were quarter squatting almost 200lbs over their ATG squat. or even more. when i had my knees (tendonitis now) i was squatting ATG 440 but 1/4 squatting almost 700lbs for triples. usually just threw that in once a month to break up the usual routine we had. worked pretty well. 20 kids and currently my knees are the only ones jacked up. although i am starting to squat again... just not very heavy

shawn92
03-27-2010, 02:24 AM
shwan92: The full squat is the only way to go if yor an athlete. Full range is anything about 3 inches below parellel.
Now the most inportant question is what is your knee injury? It is silly to say you have one with out explaining what it is. If you are having trouble going below parellel it may well be a reslut of the injury and additional supporting work may need to be done before you can go squat properly.

Oh err, I injured my right knee about 1 and half months ago during my squat. I did my 2RM squat (it was slightly above parallel) and I accidentally hyper-extended my right knee while putting the weights back on the rack. Well it was an accident.

And I've recovered about 2 weeks ago and I started loading up the weights again. But earlier this week, I felt the pain came back after squatting. But I was squatting about parallel and stuff. So I was suspecting my form, and also my knees wasn't fully recovered... But all these time I've been trying to find what's wrong with my form or what's the correct form...

I've tried doing deep squats or ATG squats before, but somehow it feels really awkward and weird for the knees man... Man, I really don't know.

But yes, I'm training all these for my track performance...

shawn92
03-27-2010, 04:17 AM
Okay, so I think I shall just do deep squats. As low as I can of course. Hmmmm, but, is it normal to feel like tingling feeling at the knees when we squat all the way down? I feel the tingling feeling even when I just swing my lower leg to and fro. But sometimes I can hear some cracks or sounds at my knees, they don't hurt, but the sound's just scary.

But currently I'm still injured, so I'll feel a little pain at the bottom of my knee caps...

scott_donald
03-27-2010, 05:06 AM
certainly wait till you are fully recovered... and ease yourself in...

make sure you are doing the bottom of the squat stretch - where you sit in full squat heels down... upright torso and pushing knees out with your elbows... work on freeing the hips with rotations etc... soo much you can do to get yourself into the correct position...

shawn92
03-27-2010, 07:39 AM
make sure you are doing the bottom of the squat stretch - where you sit in full squat heels down... upright torso and pushing knees out with your elbows... work on freeing the hips with rotations etc... soo much you can do to get yourself into the correct position...

Hmmm. What do you mean by pushing knees out with my elbows? And what other ways do you know of to help in getting into doing the full squats?

Btw do you all have difficulties doing full squats? Do your knees feel weird? Especially the knee tracking with the toes and stuff? Mine just feels so weird.

Btw check this link out, I think his form and depth is really good. Yeah?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYojAPYILEo

TheHitStick
03-27-2010, 08:02 AM
Mix it up, after doing to parallel for awhile go ATG (with good form that is and good weight) and then switchback to parallel. It feels 100x's easier once you go back to parallel and it feels like your weight increases faster.

That's just what I do though.

Parallel
ATG
Box Squats

It all switches up.

Willhu12
03-27-2010, 01:22 PM
ATG and for a very good (well, several actualy) reasons.

1.) Going ATG stops you from using a weight that causes distress to the spinal erectors (and possibly the spinal colum itself) and thus is a injury precaution measure.

2.) You don't create an imbalance of strength between the quads and the lower parts of your posterior chain, so pulling muscles becomes harder.

3.) If I recall, you also get more calf activity going ATG (anyone want to clarify?)

scott_donald
03-27-2010, 01:39 PM
this is a perfect squat...

cvkZuG-CFjI

carl.c
03-27-2010, 01:44 PM
sucks to get an injury racking the weight. You need to let the knee recover your probably trying to compensate for the injury throwingoff your form.
Try backing off to 50% of your max. then every other work out add 5lbs.If the problem persists see an orthopic doc for evaluation. Sucks to have to back off on the training but its the only way to heal.
if your doing leg extention or using the leg rack stop, also if your doing dead lifts on the same day change them to a diffrent day or stop them until you can squat with out discomfort.

xxtwistedxx
03-27-2010, 04:15 PM
this is a perfect squat...

cvkZuG-CFjI

you dont think hes bouncing too much from the bottom? impressive nonetheless. almost seems he drops and gets it up from the recoil.

GodsAngina
03-27-2010, 05:39 PM
you dont think hes bouncing too much from the bottom? impressive nonetheless. almost seems he drops and gets it up from the recoil.

que la chingada?

shawn92
03-28-2010, 12:30 AM
sucks to get an injury racking the weight. You need to let the knee recover your probably trying to compensate for the injury throwingoff your form.
Try backing off to 50% of your max. then every other work out add 5lbs.If the problem persists see an orthopic doc for evaluation. Sucks to have to back off on the training but its the only way to heal.
if your doing leg extention or using the leg rack stop, also if your doing dead lifts on the same day change them to a diffrent day or stop them until you can squat with out discomfort.

Hmmmm, well, my knee pain came back last Monday... It's feeling better now, but I don't know if I can squat tomorrow. Shall see.

Btw I don't do deadlifts on the same day with my squats... But is it okay to deadlift? Haha. :) Yeah, I'm focus more on upper body and some calves. Sucks to not squat man. I feel weak. Hahaha.

shawn92
03-28-2010, 12:41 AM
this is a perfect squat...

cvkZuG-CFjI

Those are some monster squats man!

scott_donald
03-28-2010, 06:24 AM
you dont think hes bouncing too much from the bottom? impressive nonetheless. almost seems he drops and gets it up from the recoil.

no great technique...

he is using the stretch reflex to help him out of the hole... he is not training for PL...


Those are some monster squats man!

ya he is your american big hope in o lifting!!!well with a couple others...

shawn92
03-28-2010, 06:49 AM
no great technique...

he is using the stretch reflex to help him out of the hole... he is not training for PL...



ya he is your american big hope in o lifting!!!well with a couple others...

What you sayin man? Firstly I'm no American and, his technique is good man. At least he goes all the way down man.

scott_donald
03-28-2010, 06:51 AM
What you sayin man? Firstly I'm no American and, his technique is good man. At least he goes all the way down man.

ok...

he is only 19 that guy and name is pat mendes... he is a machine... snatches 190 etc cleans 220 easy... and as long as he competes should be americas answer in weight lifting...

Shaun_W
03-28-2010, 06:54 AM
I think he means "no, great technique", as in no it's not poor technique, it's great technique.

xxtwistedxx
03-28-2010, 10:25 AM
i meant bouncing off the bottom being bad for the knees. never worried about pl stuff. ive always figured if you can do it you can do it but up till now always figured bouncing out of the hole puts undue stress on the knees.

shawn92
03-30-2010, 08:53 AM
ok...

he is only 19 that guy and name is pat mendes... he is a machine... snatches 190 etc cleans 220 easy... and as long as he competes should be americas answer in weight lifting...

Haha yeah, I've seen his videos on youtube. Fierce man! At such a young age... Nice nice.


I think he means "no, great technique", as in no it's not poor technique, it's great technique.

Hmmm okay... Hah.

TheHitStick
03-30-2010, 02:51 PM
you dont think hes bouncing too much from the bottom? impressive nonetheless. almost seems he drops and gets it up from the recoil.

Bouncing? Are you suppose to just sit there that low with the weight lol? It's performed fast, it's building fast twitch muscle fibers and it's good form. I don't really see a problem.

ebach20
04-03-2010, 07:23 AM
For the half squats, I mean to parallel. For the full squats, it's lower than parallel or even the full motion ATG squats.

I don't know. I've read and done many researches on it, but I'm still unsure. Some people says full squats are bad for knees, but says half are bad. For myself, I've quite some problems with my knees, but they aren't really caused by the depths, I had some accidents during workout, but never mind about that.

I've tried full squats before. They feel really weird, like on my knees. I mean it's definitely more difficult. Half squats... Yeah I can do more squats and stuff. But is it bad? I understand a lot of people say that our knees shouldn't go further or too much further than our toes during squatting. Well, mine is just about the toes or the most slightly ahead.

But I understand that a full squat will definitely bring the knees slightly further than my half squat's. So...? Any advice?

Just work on your form and do full squats,you'll have much better results. You could try box squats on the side to get form down in terms of sitting back and not leaning with knees over toes