Help with the squat

Discussion in 'Basic Training Principles and Methods' started by ironKid, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. ironKid

    ironKid Guest

    How important is to deep squat?

    I have some trouble to go very low because of my height. I'm 6.4 feet (194cm). I'm sure you all agree I'm quite a tall guy, so I have very long limbs.

    Because of my long legs it's really a trouble for my to go very deep. I don't have any flexibility issues, during warming up I can go as low as physically possible, however when I start loading weight, my knee caps hurt a bit if I go as low as during warm-up. I must also add that I have quite strong legs (squat PR 370 4RM), tough in my opinion my development is behind what it should be, taking into account the weights I handle.

    The question is, is it possible that my legs are not bigger because of not going low enough? Should I go lower at the expense of not loading as much weight? Maybe start using knee wraps would reduce the pain, but I heard contradictory opinions regarding the use of these.

    What do you recomend guys? Keep it the way it's going, lower the weight to go deeper or changing exercises so my knees don't suffer from my limbs leverage?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    How is your form? I am 6'1 or so, maybe 6'1.5, I don't know, and I squat deep without issues. My knees sometimes hurt if my form isn't great though. Heels shoulder with, feet pointed 45 degrees outward so the knees go in the same direction, with the knees passing just over the feet at the bottom... no knee issues when I do it that way.
     
  3. BenReffell

    BenReffell New Member

    While I'm no expert re squating but the way I've always understood it is that as long as you go low enough to get your thigh bone parallel with the floor that was good enough as this is the point that the quads get their maximum loading (though if you can go a couple of inches lower and closer to the full range, so much the better). I think this especially applies the taller you are.

    The thing to avoid is bouncing off the bottom of the movement, this will likely lead to injury. Keep it slow and controlled at the bottom of the movement so you don't go to the point where the load is taken off the quads and onto the knee joint/ligaments etc (if you see what I mean).

    Also make sure you are not cheating your quads of the maximum loading by leaning too far forward at the bottom of the squat & as you come up, if your bum goes up but the weight hardly moves, then your back takes over so you are cheating your legs out of a proper workout, could that be why they have not grown as you'd liked?

    I'd say better to keep the weight as heavy as possible and just go an inch or two past parallel.

    As Totentanz says it's vital you keep your feet pointing in the same direction that your knees end up pointing at the bottom of the movement & your knees are over your feet (not inside/outside) so there is no twisting of the knee joint and the load is spread evenly across the joint & tendons of the knee.
     
  4. lcars

    lcars New Member

    <div>
    (BenReffell @ Oct. 23 2008,1:12)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">While I'm no expert re squating but the way I've always understood it is that as long as you go low enough to get your thigh bone parallel with the floor that was good enough as this is the point that the quads get their maximum loading (though if you can go a couple of inches lower and closer to the full range, so much the better). I think this especially applies the taller you are.

    The thing to avoid is bouncing off the bottom of the movement, this will likely lead to injury. Keep it slow and controlled at the bottom of the movement so you don't go to the point where the load is taken off the quads and onto the knee joint/ligaments etc (if you see what I mean).  

    Also make sure you are not cheating your quads of the maximum loading by leaning too far forward at the bottom of the squat &amp; as you come up, if your bum goes up but the weight hardly moves, then your back takes over so you are cheating your legs out of a proper workout, could that be why they have not grown as you'd liked?


    I'd say better to keep the weight as heavy as possible and just go an inch or two past parallel.

    As Totentanz says it's vital you keep your feet pointing in the same direction that your knees end up pointing at the bottom of the movement &amp; your knees are over your feet (not inside/outside) so there is no twisting of the knee joint and the load is spread evenly across the joint &amp; tendons of the knee.</div>
    agreed. i see this all too often.

    i tend to switch between ass2grass and parallel to obtain the benefits from both.

    but if you cant get down then just go as far as you feel comfortable.
     
  5. Going lower then parallel will increase the stretch on the quads. More stretch = more hypertrophy. Also, going lower increases the activation of the hams and glutes so double benefits. Usually to go lower you'll need to increase the width of your stance. If something hurts and you don't have an old injury you are probably using wrong form. Like BenReffell said, do not bounce at the bottom, use stretch reflex but do not bounce and also be particularly careful when going low to avoid rounding the lower back.
     
  6. bgates1654

    bgates1654 New Member

    <div>
    (BenReffell @ Oct. 23 2008,1:12)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The thing to avoid is bouncing off the bottom of the movement, this will likely lead to injury. Keep it slow and controlled at the bottom of the movement so you don't go to the point where the load is taken off the quads and onto the knee joint/ligaments etc (if you see what I mean).  </div>
    Which bounce are you talking about, the stretch reflex or bouncing your *** off your ankles? The stretch reflex is fine and the other is debatable.

    If you suddenly start bouncing with a heavy weight and have not built up to it over a period of time then yeah you are going to mess your knees up. If you start doing it with light weights and progress to heavy then you probably are not going to have an issue since your knees will be adapted.

    As a real world example, look at olympic weightlifting and the injury stats for it as a sport.
     
  7. Lol

    Lol Super Moderator Staff Member

    My take on the 'bounce at the bottom of the hole':

    Bad: lower back rounding (pelvis rotating forward), knees shooting forward in front of toes, rebound from slamming hams into calves.

    Good: lower back neutral/extended, pelvis neutral, knees above toes, trigger stretch reflex from tension in lengthening hams.

    It's important to stay tight the whole time in order to get the stretch reflex in the hams to help drive you out of the hole. There should be no shortening of your hams at the lowest point; ideally they should be lengthening. Once you are at parallel you should feel your hams start to really pull against the falling weight as you endeavour to keep your pelvis from rotating forward (which would allow them to shorten). If you do this, you should get a really powerful contraction in your hams when you drive your hips up.

    When I first started squatting past parallel I had to lighten the loads but it didn't take that long to get them back up again and then to push past my previous RMs. My knees felt much better for it too.

    I also think that SLDLs helped with my hamstring flexibility which in turn helped me to hold the position of my lower back and pelvis better when squatting past parallel.
     
  8. Wildman

    Wildman New Member

    Some good nuggets of advise. The longer ROM of A2G makes the this variation more effective as indicated above. That doesnt mean there is not merit in parallel squats. Just do extra work in the lower ROM range of some other quad movement to compensate. The heavy parallel lifts are still great for posterior work that is less quad dominant.

    Also another good point made that really applies to a taller lifter who has long limbs, a wider stance. Shift into a power squatting stance with your feet a couple inches or so outside of shoulders width. Point the toes out as indicated earlier as well.

    You should be able to go lower with a bigger base. Use a slight lean forward when going wide. You use both the stretch reflex of the hamis as indicated above as well as the stretch reflex of the low back. Explode upwards with your chest out and eyes focused ahead. Many guys use a lower bar positioning for power squats as well.
     
  9. ironKid

    ironKid Guest

    <div>
    (Totentanz @ Oct. 23 2008,12:57)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">How is your form?  I am 6'1 or so, maybe 6'1.5, I don't know, and I squat deep without issues.  My knees sometimes hurt if my form isn't great though.  Heels shoulder with, feet pointed 45 degrees outward so the knees go in the same direction, with the knees passing just over the feet at the bottom...  no knee issues when I do it that way.</div>
    I think my form is good, tough I have to incline forward a bit in order to accomodate my long legs.  [​IMG]

    The pain I feel is quite endurable, but I'm a bit scared about hurting my knees. I'm a heavy guy (about 230) and would like them to last me long!
     
  10. ironKid

    ironKid Guest

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The thing to avoid is bouncing off the bottom of the movement, this will likely lead to injury. Keep it slow and controlled at the bottom of the movement so you don't go to the point where the load is taken off the quads and onto the knee joint/ligaments etc (if you see what I mean).  </div>
    I might be doing something wrong, but bouncing is definitely not one of them.

    <div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE"> Also another good point made that really applies to a taller lifter who has long limbs, a wider stance. Shift into a power squatting stance with your feet a couple inches or so outside of shoulders width. Point the toes out as indicated earlier as well.

    You should be able to go lower with a bigger base. Use a slight lean forward when going wide. You use both the stretch reflex of the hamis as indicated above as well as the stretch reflex of the low back. Explode upwards with your chest out and eyes focused ahead. Many guys use a lower bar positioning for power squats as well.</div>
    This sounds common sense, I think I'm gonna try go wider.
     
  11. BenReffell

    BenReffell New Member

    You guys have done it again, great adviceI think.

    Based on the above I will try to go a little lower (normally I only go a couple of inches below parallel) now I'll try for some of that &quot;good bounce&quot; to activate the stretch reflex.

    One thing I've wondered about is it best to maintain your natural gait? In other words if your feet normally point a little outwards (for example) should we aim to set up so our feet point the same amount further out than our knees would in the low position?
     
  12. ironKid

    ironKid Guest

    Wildman,
    I used today your advise and squatted with a wide stand. I lifted just 265kg 5RM, way below my previous max, but man, I never went so down [​IMG] , and it felt great [​IMG]

    I'll keep it this way and start building up my strength from here.

    Thanx for you advise!
     
  13. TunnelRat

    TunnelRat Active Member

    Sounds like you've had a break-through.

    I have some flexibility problems (challenges...?), so it is hard for me to get down past parallel when I do a back squat. However, for whatever reason, I've found that front squats let me get much lower, and may give my quads a better workout.
     
  14. omega99

    omega99 Member

    <div>
    (ironKid @ Oct. 23 2008,1:51)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The pain I feel is quite endurable, but I'm a bit scared about hurting my knees. I'm a heavy guy (about 230) and would like them to last me long!</div>
    Your heels are kept on the floor througout the movement, correct?
     
  15. ironKid

    ironKid Guest

    <div>
    (omega99 @ Oct. 28 2008,2:15)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE"><div>
    (ironKid @ Oct. 23 2008,1:51)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">The pain I feel is quite endurable, but I'm a bit scared about hurting my knees. I'm a heavy guy (about 230) and would like them to last me long!</div>
    Your heels are kept on the floor througout the movement, correct?</div>
    yes, despite what some people on my gym do and say, I never lift my heels.

    It took me some time when I started lifting to get this flexibility, but now it's easy and doesn't take any effort
     

Share This Page