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14 Reasons You Shouldn't Ignore Full Squat Benefits!

14 Reasons You Shouldn't Ignore Full Squat Benefits!

There is confusion amongst trainers and trainees as to whether squats should be performed all the way down or just half way. Find out more from these 14 reasons.

There seems to be much confusion amongst trainers and trainees as to whether squats should be performed all the way down or just half way.

In most gyms today, a common instruction during squats, deadlifts, and lunges (as taught by many personal training organizations) is not to allow the knees to travel beyond the toes. Doing so will ultimately cause the destruction of your knees!

I do not agree. There are certain instances where partial range of motion (ROM) is indicated, but for the most part, I teach people the full squat for the following reasons.

Barbell Squat

Full Squat Benefits

1
It is the most primitive movement pattern known to man

Our ancestors used to perform many daily functions (i.e. harvesting, gathering, hunting, cooking, eating, etc.) in a full squat position.

2
In case anyone hasn't noticed

We spend 40 weeks in the fetal position (which is basically a full squat) prior to entering this world - do we come out with bad knees?

3
We should strive to train in full ROM for each
and every exercise

The squat is no exception.

4
Every exercise produces stress

The body then adapts to this stress.

5
Contraction of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and
gastrocnemius maintains integrity in the knee joint

6
Sheering and compressive forces do occur around
the knee joint

Sheering forces that occur in some open kinetic chain lower body exercises, such as the leg extension); however, the large contact area of the patella with the femoral groove (as knee flexion increases during the full squat) helps to dissipate compressive forces.

7
The Squat is considered a natural movement pattern
with high functional carryover

It is also a safe exercise if performed correctly (and that includes full ROM!)

8
Drawer tests are performed at an angle of 90 degrees

So, does it make sense to only go down half way where you are most vulnerable especially when greater loads can be used (because you are much stronger in this partial ROM?)

9
The fulcrum moves

According to Ironman contributor, George Turner, the fulcrum moves to the knee joint in a parallel squat as opposed to the muscle belly of the quadriceps in a full squat.

10
If you constantly trained in a limited ROM

The likelihood of injury increases if one day you happen to squat beyond your trained ROM.

11
Partial squats performed on a regular basis will
decrease flexibility

12
There is a low incidence of lower back pain and knee
injury in Aboriginal and Oriental societies

13
Olympic weightlifters

Even these weightlifters who practice full squats have quite healthy knees compared to other athletes.

14
Research that indicates

Although you may find some research that indicates full squats as potentially harmful to the knees, only one study has ever proved this to be true. However, it was performed on a skeleton - the same results do not hold true with surrounding connective tissue. On the other hand, numerous studies show the benefits of full squats. Unfortunately, many personal training certification courses are teaching half squats as a safe version suitable for all individuals and this has now become written in stone. God forbid that you deviate from this golden rule to do something that our bodies are meant to do!

Read this carefully: squatting should be performed in a full ROM where the hamstrings make contact with the calves (so that no light can be seen passing through your legs at the bottom position). It is okay for your knees to travel beyond the toes (just do not relax the knees in the bottom position). In other words, keep the legs tight and try to stay as upright as possible throughout the exercise.

Conclusion

So, next time some fitness instructor approaches you in the gym and advises not to go deep while squatting tell him/her that they don't know squat!

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About The Author

John Paul Catanzaro is one of Canada's leading health and fitness authorities. He is a CSEP Certified Exercise Physiologist.

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anhlong1122

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anhlong1122

why 2 out of 3 picture is smith squat?

Jun 9, 2012 7:57pm | report
 
Miido

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Miido

I only see one. Anyway maybe people injure there knees because of the too **** heavy weight they lift. When I started this I went with 66 lbs to 88 lbs..

Aug 23, 2013 1:30pm | report
MiloDoh

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MiloDoh

A correction needs to be made to this article, as it gives slightly false information.

You state, "In most gyms today, a common instruction during squats, deadlifts, and lunges (as taught by many personal training organizations) is not to allow the knees to travel beyond the toes. Doing so will ultimately cause the destruction of your knees!"

This is not necessarily the case, you don't give specific information. What is taught is that when you do the squat itself, you should NOT have your weight on your TOES, which results in your knees extending over your toes. The full range of motion squat generally does have your knees directly over your toes, but with that full ROM comes your weight and balance on your heels. Hope that clarifies.

Oh, and never do squats on a machine...that's asking for bad knees.

Mar 2, 2014 12:27pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 Comments

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