Full (deep) squats or Parallel squats

Discussion in 'General Training' started by Manic, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. Scott S

    Scott S New Member

    Interesting stuff, Blade.
  2. BIZ

    BIZ New Member

    Some of you may find this bit of info pleasing. A study that looked at knee torque in relation to where the knees are during the squat found a very small increase in torque when the kness went over the toes on the eccentric. However, when the knees were kept back, the torque on the lumbar region went way up. The researchers concluded that a person with healthy knees may be better off letting the knees travel past the toes slightly considering that the torque increase is meniscule when compared to the torque increase on the lower back when one forces their knees to stay behind their toes. hmmmmm.....
    I will try to find the reference for this study again and post it if necessary. It was cited in an article I read in M & F (I know, I know, it was left at the gym, so I read it).
  3. boggy

    boggy New Member

    Can I conlude, seeing that study, that partial but heavyer squats are better thights buider than parallel/deep squats?
  4. Manic

    Manic New Member

    Well, to me,

    …doesn't seem to suggest that.

    But… if you don't want to stress your glutes too much (gluteus maximus), you might as well do partials. Keep in mind that some articles suggest that "As squatting depth increases, quadriceps-muscle activation also increases, and thus expanding the depth of squatting should be associated with augmented gains in quad strength." (How safe is squatting?). Also, partial squats performed on a regular basis might decrease flexibility (if you ALSO do full squats with or without weights, it might be okay though).

    Manic :)
  5. boggy

    boggy New Member

    my reasoning was:

    if there's no significant diff btween leg and glutes contributions (which,in my maybe wrong understanding,means that load distribution on legs is the same in partial and parallel squats) partials are more effective when trying to get bigger legs bcause you can load more weight.

    I am only asking if this makes sense... [​IMG]
  6. Manic

    Manic New Member

    Partials are generally not that highly regarded as far as their hypertrophic potential (but I guess it depends how much "partial" it is). Here's what I found :

    Hope that helps...

  7. BrianG

    BrianG New Member

    I've read that the deeper you go, the more your hamstrings are used in addition to your glutes.

    Based on my experiences, my recommendation is to squat as deep as you can physically go without losing the arch in your back or your pelvis starting to curl under (due to a lack of flexibility in your groin and hamstrings). Doing so places enormous strains on your spinal muscles, and you also can tend to move your disks out of position and create nerve impingement and other, larger issues. The importance of keeping your back set increases with increasing load, so I tend to do full squats with my lighter warmup weights and then go only to parallel with the heavier warmup and workout weights. (My pelvis starts to curl under when my hip joint is about 1 inch below by knee joint.)

    I doubt there are any knee issues from going deep, unless you have some pre-existing structural deformity or injury. After all, infants, toddlers, and young children natually deep squat all the time, but of course without any weight on their backs.
  8. Jonas Olofsson

    Jonas Olofsson New Member

    I have gone from half squats to full squats because:

    1 I have easier to keep my back tight without leaning forward when I go down all the way. When I stop halfway I have a tendency to lean forward a bit when I start to move upwards again.

    2 I dont bounce in the lowest position, which my knees apreciate.

    3 I feel my quads doing the work more, the deeper I go.

    So, it sounds like Im not built like the rest of you guys...

  9. Manic

    Manic New Member

    That's an ooooooooold thread guys. :confused: Still fun to see it's still around though.

    There are other huge threads on squats if you're interested.
  10. Old and Grey

    Old and Grey Super Moderator Staff Member

    Parallel for 2 reasons:

    Going beyond parallel puts my knees in front of my toes which causes stress on my knee cartilages which have already been operated on, and

    I don't want a big arse. That is just added weight and stress on my cardiovascular system that I don't need.

    I also do no do a full stretch on leg extensions for the same reason.
  11. OneMoreRep

    OneMoreRep New Member

    i do parallel... i'm starting to think i should do full.
  12. Lance

    Lance New Member

    I do full and am wondering if i should do parallel. [​IMG]

    And i do have a huge arse, lol.
  13. McDee

    McDee New Member

    so in summary:

    -proper form is what matters more then squat depth?

    -squat depth makes a difference in what muscle groups are worked?

    -a deeper squat will fill out your @$$?

    I still wonder about the knees over the toes part though, you are saying letting your knees rock forward a little puts a tiny bit more stress on the knees, and lessens stress on the lower back right?

    I keep my shins close to parallel and my knees don't rock over my toes. I don't have any lower back pain that I know of but my knees are a little sore sometimes, not usually from squats but from jogging, downhill skiing and extended sessions on my dirtbike over the last 23 years...

    BIZ, if you could find that study that would be apprecieated.
  14. Fausto

    Fausto HST Expert

    I do the same, just yesterday, went ATF or ATG up to 80 Kg. but could not do the same for 100 Kgs. so, I went still beyond parallel onto a decline (15 degrees) bench, till my rear end touches (or just about) and back up again.

    Squats are the ####, I keep saying they are a must in my program.

    It is a pity thought that I have not seen my strength capabilities on a leg press, would like to sometime :confused:
  15. faz

    faz Active Member

    The BNBF Squatting Experiment: Does squatting involve the same amount of muscular activation as leg press or hack squatting?

    In order to establish the most effective resistance exercise for quadricep development the BNBF sanctioned a scientific investigation, collaborating with Napier Universities sports science research department. The investigation was prompted by varying opinions on the optimal resistance exercise to induce muscular hypertrophy in the quadriceps of body builders. Many body builders and trained coaches believe that conventional squatting is ineffective at producing large quantities of muscular hypertrophy when compared to such exercises as hack squatting and leg pressing. In order to establish whether these views had any scientific grounding, a series of controlled experiments were undertaken in a private resistance training facility.
    Three trained body builders with at least five years resistance training experience were recruited for this micro study. Each of the subjects had refrained from leg training 2 days prior to the commencement of the experimental protocols to ensure neuromuscular fatigue and myofibril damage had no influence on results. The testing was separated into three phases, squatting, leg press and hack squatting conducted in randomised order to eliminate any potential influence of fatigue on the results as previously stated. The exercises were as follows; wide and normal stance squatting at 3/4 depth and 90 degrees (parallel), wide and close stance leg press and finally close and wide stance hack squats. Each subject performed 3 repetitions of each exercise at 90% of there 1 repetition maximal established 1 week prior to the testing session. Five minutes recovery was given between trials.

    Muscular electromyography was used to measure muscular activation during each trial in millivolts. A four channel EMG was attached to the Vastus Medialis, Rectus Femoris and Vastus Lateralis of the right quadriceps and also the Biceps Femoris of the Hamstrings. The average of the three repetitions was taken as the result for each exercise. After the completion of the testing the results were collated and subsequently analysed.

    The results demonstrated that shallow ¾ squatting (68º knee flexion), both wide and shallow stances, produced the greatest amount of quadriceps stimulation. Shallow squatting elicited 20% more muscular activation throughout the three quadricep muscles measured compared to full 90º squats. This is likely due to the constant load applied to the quadriceps during shallow squats. During full squats the load is assisted by the gluteus and hamstring muscles during the concentric drive phase of the action which reduces the load and subsequent activation of the quadriceps. This was evident from the EMG results, with the Biceps Femoris muscle being stimulated 50% more during full squats compared to shallow squats.

    Hack squatting and leg press both produced similar muscular activation patterns for those measured during close and wide stances. However quadriceps activation was 30% and 15% less when compared with shallow squatting and normal squatting respectively. Biceps Femoris activation however was significantly reduced during leg press compared with all other exercises. Activation of the Biceps Femoris muscle was 18%, 200% and 450% greater for hack squatting, shallow squats and full squats respectively compared with leg press.

    These results suggests that leg press isolates the quadriceps muscles better than squatting or hack squatting. However in relative terms, squatting shallow and to a lesser extent full squatting, produces more muscular activation of the quadriceps in relation to the relative load applied compared to any of the other exercises tested. Squatting also utilised more of the biceps femoris (hamstring muscle) than leg press or hack squatting as previously stated. This translates into a more complete utilisation of the leg muscles during each contraction. Also full (90º) squats elicits the utilisation of the gluteuls which again provides a more complete leg workout compared to hack squatting or leg press. Therefore squatting should provide more muscular stimulation and subsequent development compared to other exercises. A greater level of muscular activation results in a larger percentage of the muscle fibres being utilised during the activity allowing for more muscular damage to result. As the body is an over compensatory system, if enough recovery is given the body will not only repair the myofibril damage but muscle hypertrophy will result. If this form of training is continued with a constant progression of the imposed load, the result will be larger stronger muscles which is the ultimate goal of the body builder.

    Accordingly squatting to 68º and 90º of knee flexion should produced greater gains in muscle mass and strength in the quadriceps compared with leg press and hack squats.
    However squatting below parallel will noticeably shift the implied load away from the quadriceps and induce greater activity within the hamstrings and gluteuls. This may reduce quadricep development. However squatting below 90 degrees will shift the emphasis from hamstrings to gluteals. Accordingly squatting to 85º will likely induce the optimal ratio between quadricep and hamstring / gluteul development in one exercise and result in greater overall leg development compared to leg press or hack squats. Therefore squatting, preferably to 85º should be an essential part of any bodybuilders leg workouts.

    Written by Scott Macrae,BNBF Scientific development officer.
    Bsc Honours Sports Science.
  16. Fausto

    Fausto HST Expert

    An interesting article faz! :D

    No doubt, so 85° is then the ideal, hey?

    I can only perform full squats to about 80 Kgs, after that I go to slightly below 90°, but hey, if 85° is teh way to go, then yep, sounds promising!

    Thanks mate!
  17. faz

    faz Active Member

    your welcome fausto :D ..i used to do full squats but allways had back problems..since i have changed to parrallel(i use a bench as measurement) no problems :D
  18. Fausto

    Fausto HST Expert


    I can sympathise with you my back has been sore ever since, even though I felt good after doing the squats ATG.

    I also use a bench as a measurement, we used to do that in athletics and I have kept that practice ever since, but I must say I had to try the full squat version.

    My dillema now, how to I get rid of the [email protected]$$? [​IMG]

    Serious it is my second week of SD and my lower back is till bugging me [​IMG]
  19. faz

    faz Active Member

    fausto try dropping squats for your next cycle..try leg press for a while..and when you go back to them just go down to parrallel..
  20. Fausto

    Fausto HST Expert

    Wish I could mate!

    I train at home, there is no chance with the equipment I've got. [​IMG]

    Pitty I've been wondering how much can I push seeing tha my squats are up to 130 Kgs.


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