Squat depth

Discussion in 'Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST)' started by HST_Rihad, Jul 6, 2013.

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  1. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    How important is squatting depth to parallel, or slightly below (ATG, etc.), for muscle growth? I mean, for someone not intending on competing in powerlifting events, would it be appropriate to squat slightly above the parallel? I feel a bit more comfortable and loads are a bit heavier than in PL squat, but at the cost of lower quadriceps etc. extension. Is it still ok for muscle growth?

    p.s.: same goes for leg pressing depth.
     
  2. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    Stopping short of parallel is hard on the knees. You will also get better results from going deeper and using less weight.

    Sent from my XT907 using Tapatalk 2
     
  3. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    As bulldog said, stopping short puts more stress on the knees and is a terrible idea. Going lower keeps tension on the muscles rather than the knee joint.
     
  4. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    Yup. It's pretty much a nightmare, physics wise. It's kind of akin to constructing a building with one wall, a roof and then putting all the weight at the unsupported end of the roof. Stress centres on the join and f**ks it up.
     
  5. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    There's a new guy in the gym I go to, I've seen him squatting twice already. About 175 cm tall (5'9"), you can tell easily that he's had quite some years of working out under his belt: he's pretty lean, has got quite big muscles (but nothing making it obvious he's on juice) and has good form. Spending roughly 50-60 minutes for the squats only, he starts with 60 kg (132 lbs), but even there his depth is about half until parallel. By the time he gets to 220 kg (485 lbs) his depth is at most 1/4, or better yet, 1/5 of until parallel. His legs are quite big. Can legs grow big naturally at such a squatting depth, or is this only because of steroids?
     
  6. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Genetics,.etc, and what else is he doing for legs?
     
  7. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Only these partial squats, some leg curls after that at full ROM but nothing that I couldn't handle load-wise. Then some leg presses at 70% of my 5RM loads, that's it.
     
  8. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Just for point of reference, I have large legs and only work them sporadically. Could be a similar situation.

    Also what he does now isn't necessarily what he did in the past to get to this point.
     
  9. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Yeah, I thought about that, but he would've at least squatted at proper depth for the warmup 130 lbs sets.
     
  10. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    The quadriceps still get heavily stressed in a partial squat, as long as the load is heavy enough. The glutes and other thigh muscles don't contribute as much when the depth is very shallow.
     
  11. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    That isn't necessarily true. You can build big legs without squats and you can build them without learning proper form. It's possible he built his leg size with leg press, leg exts and leg curls and just recently took up squatting
     
  12. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Maybe higher loads are more important than ROM? This goes well along with HST principles of increasing tension, and proper exercise form isn't as important as say in PL contests.
     
  13. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    If you want to isolate the quads, then a hack squat machine or leg extensions are a better choice. Really heavy, partial high bar squats can do it too, but is dangerous. Better to squat to parallel and build balanced knees.
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    I would stay with the leg press rather than try partial squats. I also use the leg press sled and it works great. I press roughly equivalent to a parallel squat. 560 pounds (255~ kg) is my 5 RM so far and it seems to be a very effective exercise for quads, glutes and adductors. I have seen guys load up 600-700 pounds and do partial leg presses also, but it's not very impressive, just big ego exercise. All the guys with biggest legs in the gym seem to squat fairly deep or do leg presses similarly deep.

    To be fair, stopping just before parallel is ok, but usually this leads to bad habits and next thing you know you are 1/4 squatting or worse.
     
  15. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    Realistically you can (obviously) still grow stopping shy of legal depth, as a whole lot of bodybuilders world-round demonstrate. To avoid making the depth random/arbitrary you could always squat to a box slightly above parallel.

    That said, full squats, when done correctly, probably do have several advantages for growth, including increased recruitment of the hams/glutes (in particular) and more actual stretch on the prime movers at the bottom (thus being more conducive to strain, in turn more conducive to growth).
     
  16. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    Does this better stretching surpass bigger loads by their effect? I really doubt it. At such loads we can't possibly expect hams/glutes to not be recruited fully, no matter what the actual ROM is.
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Well-Known Member

    In some exercises I think what you are saying here is valid. In the case of the squat, the extra load in a partial squat is due to mechanical advantage, and the load is not being transferred as well to the muscles. The reason people can squat more in a partial is purely mechanical: lever arms, torque transfer and such. It's basic lever arms physics.
    Though to the best of knowledge of kinesiology, I do think that you are correct in that the top half of a squat puts more stress on the quadriceps, while the bottom half puts the quadriceps at a mechanical disadvantage and allows the hip muscles to take over some. So doing partial heavy squats most likely is an effective quad exercise, albeit not very functional and perhaps dangerous once the loads get up there.
     
  18. HST_Rihad

    HST_Rihad Active Member

    This range of motion thing bit me badly just recently and here's how. I've been dieting for a while, and while I haven't lost strength in any of the exercises (strength even went up in some), the one notable exception is bench press, where I'm having about 15% drop in strength. A guy on another forum suggested that that may be because my chest shrank in its girth due to dieting, so vertical ROM has increased by no more than an inch, and physical leverage has changed. I have two ways of solving this: simply succumb to the "new" me and work up from here, or put a wooden plate or something on my chest thus bringing back ROM of the fatter^H^H^H "older" me. Just as an aside, now I know perfectly how all these behemoths manage to bench 600+ pounds: their chest is so huge that the barbell has only about 5-6 inches to move, so technically it's their full ROM :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  19. mikeynov

    mikeynov Super Moderator Staff Member

    Indeed, and treating load on the bar as being synonymous with the amount of force the actual muscles are generating is misleading due to these differences in leverage. The idea is that a heavier weight will make up for the decreased recruitment with depth, but I'm not sure we can necessarily say that.

    And growth isn't just recruitment, otherwise the peak contraction/partial ROM stuff would be optimal for hypertrophy, which it clearly isn't. Having "enough" ROM is clearly important, and having a stretch-under-load component is probably important as well (e.g. RDL's for hamstrings, full squats for quads/glutes/hams, chins/pullups for lats, bench for delts/pecs etc.).
     
  20. nislyj

    nislyj New Member

    It was my understanding that the problem with partial squats as that after enough time, they will lead to a development imbalance between your quads and hams, which gone unchecked, is what eventually leads to knee problems. Parallel squats develop quads and hams more or less equally, along with glutes and adductors, which can lead to a very balanced and functional lower body.

    That's what I was told, anyway.
     
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