The squat, it’s been called the king of all exercises, and for good reason. The squat recruits more muscles and utilizes more joints than almost any other exercise (I see you deadlift). Yet, in the fitness industry there are a number of differing opinions on, not only their merit, but how they’re properly done. For this reason, a number of new trainers and clients learn how to do back squatting incorrectly (certainly with lack of knowledge on the subject). There are a few givens in terms of results that are not up for debate and for that reason, squatting is a preferred exercise for building lower body strength and size, especially in the quadriceps. Let’s try and answer some of the common questions related to squatting, and more specifically, how to achieve a deep squat.
DOES IT MATTER HOW LOW I GO?
When it comes to training, we should always try and train through the full range of motion in a particular exercise. Longer muscles have been shown to be stronger and pre-stretching a muscle leads to better motor unit activation. Not only that, but it is healthier for our joints to take them through a full range of motion regularly. Despite these truths, the acceptable depth for a squat is a highly debated topic, but I will always push to attain a deep squat.
A couple opinions AGAINST full depth squatting are: it’s bad for the knees, transference [sport in question never goes into such deep angles of flexion (hip, knee and ankle) so we don’t need train there]. The first AGAINST argument is one that is an understandable concern. Safety always trumps performance. That being said, a full range deep squat is actually a better alternative for our knees, and here’s why…