Full (deep) squats or Parallel squats

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

  1. M@x

    [email protected] New Member

    I just read a similar threat in a german forum and I do not have the power to wright all the stuff I wrote fife minutes ago!

    In short terms:
    1. To do only parallel squats caused knee problems in my case!
    i fixed it throught deep squats. Train full range or get injured !

    2. To avoid huge glute! Do squat only max effort or dynamic effort (wsb stuff) use Bulgarien split squat , leg press for Leg mass, iso exercises .... (parallel squat also create a huge glute )....
    3. Huge glute deepends on anatomic structure (short legs ;-) Powerlifter body)
    4. Sowjet training Rules say:
    Mix Deep Squat with Parallel Squat, depending on your sport-> Vollyball 25 % deep 75% parralel Ski jumping 25% parallel 75% deep
    5. Read squat analysis at exrx.net
    6. Dorrian Yates said on T-mag that you can avoid the huge glute Problem by doing squat in a power rack and change body position!
    7. conclusion : do both!
    Conclusion: Do both .....
  2. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member


    Try doing bench step ups or lunges in place of squats.

    Training through injury is not a wise idea.
  3. battlechaser

    battlechaser New Member

    I always thought the key to total muscular development was full range of motion. Wouldn't going halfway down only work half the muscle?
  4. rpopple

    rpopple New Member

    To add my penny's worth to this thread, the bottom line is that you have to work within the constraints of your OWN body.

    I'll explain. I'm 6' 3", so when I started squatting, I was squatting to just above parallel with a fairly wide stance as this felt most natural for my body's bio-mechanics.

    However, everthing I read told me I should be squatting to at least parallel and that my stance was too wide, so I changed my stance and the depth of my squatting. This ended in me having sore knees / lower back, as once I broke 80 degrees, I couldn't maintain an upright posture and my knees moved too far past my toes. Needless to say that I went back to squatting as I had started.

    Then I discovered the HST site and everything squat related suggested ATG squats. Again I felt the need to change only to suffer the same side effects previously mentioned. Its been 2 weeks since I've hit squats with any anger to allow my lower back to recover. I spent 45 mins last week just experimienting with different stances, plates under heels etc to find the most comfortable position. Ultimately, I ended back where I started, widish stance to about 80 degrees. I can maintain my posture, press through my heels and feel the quads working all the way through the movement. I have fairly decent leg development so I'm not getting hung up on the fact that I never will be able to squat ATG or even to parallel.

    Moral of the story? Work with YOUR body. It aint worth the pain of trying something that is just not natural for your body.
  5. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    Post #12 by Stevie = excellent advice.
    Anecdotally, I did leg presses and occasional parallel squats for years. My legs are nonresponsive for the most part. I've always done leg curls. I quit free squats because of back and knee pains, switching to lever squats, the knee pains continuing to where I had to wrapknees for anything over 350.
    Recently, I'd switched to ATG (still using the levermachine) and quit doing curls. My knee pains are gone, and I'm doing 550 without wraps. Adding in the Madcow 5x5 program grew me 1/4" or so and my hams are just as strong as ever.
    As my back rehabs, I'm building a squat rack to get back into freeweights, which I'll start with an empty bar and progress slowly focusing on form. If the back won't take it, I'll return to levers. We have to do what works for us.
    ATG rules!!! [​IMG]
  6. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    (rpopple @ Feb. 12 2007,10:03)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Moral of the story? Work with YOUR body. It aint worth the pain of trying something that is just not natural for your body.</div>
    Also, you may need coaching to spot areas where your flexibility or technique is limiting your performance. Proper ATG squatting requires a good deal of practice to get the movement just right.

    There is some good on-line tuition. Here's a link to one of Dan John's Strength Seminars:

    The Video FitCast- Episode 6
  7. vagrant

    vagrant New Member

    rpopple, post #44:

    I had the same problem and fixed it slowly over time with very wide squats off a box - 2x shoulder width or more. This taught me to go to paralell.

    Then I dropped the weight really low and started doing ATG, again gradual improvements and less knee pain. I'm only 6' so that may have a bit to do with it though.

    The only thing doing it the way you've describe that is a bit scary and you've got to watch out for because it may sneak up on you is that as the weights get heavier and heavier you may find that you are squatting higher and higher. Eventually, one day with a heavier weight, you go a bit deeper than usual and there goes your back.

    If you must squat higher, find a bench or something at the right height (for your body) and put it under your butt to help you gauge depth. Then you will know the higher squats aren't sneaking up on you.

    If there is a way to hurt yourself...I've found it. Just sharing so you don't make the mistakes I've made.
  8. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    I actually go parallel, and oh it hurts....
  9. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">If you must squat higher, find a bench or something at the right height (for your body) and put it under your butt to help you gauge depth. Then you will know the higher squats aren't sneaking up on you.

    If there is a way to hurt yourself...I've found it. Just sharing so you don't make the mistakes I've made.</div>

    This is why I may go back to safety squats or leg press since I lift solo.
  10. rpopple

    rpopple New Member

    Further to my previous post, I had my first proper squat session on Monday since changing my squatting style.

    Stance, slightly wider than shoulders, toes pointed a little outwards, I squatted until I could not maintain upright posture and the body was going to have to lean forward to compensate for the depth, which was a little above parallel (80 - 85 degrees). The weight was moderately heavy for me, 100kg for 3 x 8.

    For the first time in a long time the exercise felt great, no lower back pain whatsover and very taxing on the quads. I also felt the quads overall had a better workout, although this is at the expense of hams and glutes, due to not breaking parallel.

    I agree with vagrants comments that there is potential for injury and therefore, attention to form is key, expecially ensuring that knees don't buckle inwards on the way up.

    This may be a controversial statement, but I feel for the sake of training in the long run and the health of my lower back, squatting in this manner is best for me

    I'm going to hit the squat again today with a little more weight so we'll see how that goes.
  11. BIZ

    BIZ New Member

    I go butt to calves until I use anything 315 or higher. Too much strain on the back at that point and I get nothing extra in my quads by going so low, just a bigger butt. Does help with the flexibilty when I warm-up with below parallel squats, but that is about it.
  12. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    I've traded my pastor my old bench for a pair of very antique looking York Barbell stands- and begun my freeweight training, along with studying and participating in the video Lol posted above. I find that I lack flexibility in the hole and have trouble staying off my toes, so I'm doing bottom squats after my last set with light weights (135-185) to train as Sci recommended.
    Thanx to my rotators, I have trouble doing a narrow grip on the bar, but with a manta ray I don't need it for the bar support, but I stay narrow as I can to keep the chest out. I feel new muscles (unworked muscles) coming into play getting off my lever machine, so it'll be a while before I have any decent numbers I think.
    Because of ROM lessening as the weight increases, I've limited my sets so far to 295, in order to keep form. I suspect I may need to stretch my achilles tendons...?
  13. BIZ

    BIZ New Member

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">Because of ROM lessening as the weight increases, I've limited my sets so far to 295, in order to keep form. I suspect I may need to stretch my achilles tendons...?
    You got it quad.  You answered your own question.  Keep working the deep squats, stretching your calves (with knees bent as well as straight), and you should see your flexibility go up. Another issue is obviously lumbar strength with heavy loads, especially as you get into the bigger loads. My butt and back take a beating if I go too low on heavy squats (~5RM).
  14. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    From you other post (Biz) I'm not sure if I should be actually trying to hit the dirt with the heavier weights all the way to my max. I seem to be in the same exact position as on my lever machine, but I'm rocking forward onto my toes a bit and feeling stiff as a board. I've been ATG hitting 560 for reps in the machine, but I actually have a little trouble getting 300 off the bottom with freeweight, partially due to balance issues I'm sure, but my neck, torso, hips, shoulders - feel like they're crammed into a box or something. I can barely look up, but my neck is 19&quot; too.
    I'm stretching just about everything when I can and doing the bottom squats with just 175 on it at the end of my sets. I'm hoping that will give flexibility and some bottom power, unless you have a better idea.
  15. BIZ

    BIZ New Member

    Quad...By the looks fo your pics, you have a thick neck/trap area...maybe tight in the anterior shoulders too?  I know I am from powerlifting.  All these things add up to one uncomfortable rack position for the back squat...to the point where you may experience wrist pain from having them hyperextended so much, experience fatigue in the upper back do the increased work you have to do to pull your scapula back because your anterior delts and pecs are pulling them anteriorly.  Elbows may even hurt some.  Any of that sound familiar?

    If not, I am not sure what to tell ya except that the monster loads you lift just overpower your structural muscles and you lean forward, or maybe your torso is a bit out of proportion with your lower limbs, making a deep squat very difficult to achieve without a lot of forward lean and shifting of weight to the balls of the feet to keep from falling over.

    Over-head squats and front squats with nothing more than an empty bar coupled with stretching of the lumbar spine, glutes, Achilles tendons, and hip flexors has helped some of our athletes here at the university improve their squatting technique.  For the tall guys or the ones who just have an abnormal frame, they end up doing more safe squats than back squats, and when they do back squat they only go as deep as they can without rounding the back and going onto their toes.  Just have to work around the genetics of people.  Heck, their is no code (although many will argue otherwise) that says you have to squat ATG to get big and strong.  Personally, I'd rather nail 560 lbs going to parallel than 315 going ATG.  The overload on the muscles and the satisfaction of hoisting that much weight would be worth it.
  16. Fausto

    Fausto HST Expert


    That makes me feel a whole lot better, as you do exactly what I do, when the weight gets too heavy you simply go parallel, I do box instead (not much difference).

    The point is that I can hoist 140 Kg on box instead of only 100 ATG. There is a difference is the amount of DOMS from doing ATG compared to box but surely the legs get worked enough (well at least research says so).
  17. Lifting N Tx

    Lifting N Tx New Member

    I'm not even close to a squat form expert, but I have a few random observations/impressions.

    First, I think that this whole question of squat style is highly affected by both personal preference and body type. I like having ATG squats be a more compound exercise, and find them to be easier on my knees. However, I went from doing half squats in the mid-upper 200s to ATG at not much more than 100 lbs. Now, 6-8 months later, my 5RM is around 200lbs ATG, high bar, pretty upright torso. Better, but still not exactly an ego booster. Same thing that Biz noted, just at much lower weights. [​IMG]

    I will say that my impression is that most guys who have trouble with ATG squats either have flexibility issues or pre-existing injuries. It may be that my body type lends itself more to ATG, though. Maybe ATG is not the best term-if I go hams to calves I'm still not too far below true parallel, and my knees are far forward, but with a fairly upright torso. It's not that far from the form of a front squat. The fact that my torso can remain fairly upright no doubt spares my lower back, which isn't affected a lot by squats. My quads, however, are highly affected by ATG. If I try to keep my knees far back PL style, even only going to parallel, it'll wind up being almost a good morning. Long legs, medium torso.

    I guess in summary, for those who have knee issues with squats, try ATG. Make sure to work on flexibility. For those whose backs are bothered by squats, work on flexibility and squatting without so much forward lean. In doing so, the knees will come forward, and ATG will be better to help avoid stress on them. Some who have good backs but tender knees may benefit from more of a power lifting style, posterior chain emphasizing squat, which won't be ATG. Some may have a body type that makes it very hard to go ATG without a lot of forward lean, but I'd work on flexibility before concluding that was the case.

    Those are my thoughts, and as I say I'm no Mark Rippetoe with expertise in coaching the squat. As I mentioned, my bias is for ATG, but to each his own.
  18. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    I am having a problem with squats.  When I get below parallel, my torso bends forward (I have a very long torso) and I feel more strain on the back than in my legs.  I don't think it is an erector weakness, but more a form problem.  I can't seem to keep my torso upright and go ATG.  My spotter noticed it today and my back felt destroyed after the squats, while my legs felt fine.  Maybe let my knees go more forward?  I feel like I can't balance ATG with out bending way over.

    Once I get in 'the hole' I feel like I am falling forward, if I stay upright I feel like I can't balance and will fall backward.
  19. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    I found an answer to my problem over at Elitefts.com. Dave Tate wrote an article about box squatting to develop hip strength/flexibility. In the article he addressed this problem and that box squatting is essential to developing proper depth/ hip drive. Will start these soon!
  20. scientific muscle

    scientific muscle New Member

    Dave tate quote:
    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">As far as the definition of &quot;parallel,&quot; it's defined as when the crease of the hip is in line with the top of the knee. Remember, most people have very poor hamstring and hip strength to squat properly in the first place. If they tried to squat without the box they'd fall over backward. The box is the best way to teach proper squat form while bringing up their weak points. The box squat also breaks the eccentric/concentric chain. This is one of the best ways to build explosive strength. The box squat also causes you to squat from a static contraction to a dynamic concentric contraction, another very effective way to build explosive strength.</div>

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