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how deep do you squat?


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I don't know the answer. I read somewhere that it is important to squat really deep. 

Hopefully, I am doing the right form.

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A 60-90 degree angle is appropriate. Any lower than that puts stress on the knees, unless you're pretty flexible. I'm tight in my hip flexors so I can't quite squat to 90 degrees. Just make sure to keep your back straight, keep your knees behind your feet and squat as low as you can without feeling uncomfortable.

You should squat as deep as you can without rounding the lower back.  If the lower back rounds before your thighs get below parallel with the ground, it would be a good idea to work on your hip mobility until you can get passed parallel.

Original Post by cellophane_star:

A 60-90 degree angle is appropriate. Any lower than that puts stress on the knees, unless you're pretty flexible. I'm tight in my hip flexors so I can't quite squat to 90 degrees. Just make sure to keep your back straight, keep your knees behind your feet and squat as low as you can without feeling uncomfortable.

Below 90 degrees is better for your knees if like floggingsully said, you're able to do it properly. The 90 degree thing is yet another fitness myth that gets thrown around.

Maybe you were saying the same thing he was, but I wanted to make sure before there was a thread of "DON'T GO BELOW 90 DEGREES Surprised"

#4  
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I always feel like I'm arching my back rather than rounding.  I can never get a good side look at myself in the mirror, so it's hard to tell.  Laughing  Is an arch appropriate?  It seems that most pictures I see, there's a slight arch in the back.  (I go allllll they way down baby....and it hurts.)

I think you want to keep the natural arch, but you shouldn't be pushing to arch your back, if that make sense?

go here http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/excercise.htm l watch the video air squat w/ demo + explanation. After I watched that I did my squats in front of a mirror to see how I did them and I realized I did that"butt wink" thing that they talk about not doing. 

This has already been answered really well, but I'll go ahead and echo what they said. The idea that going below parallel is bad for your knees is a myth that was debunked long ago. In fact, the load your knee bears is heaviest at that point in the lift so stopping your descent and changing your momentum to move upward is actually harder on your knees than a lower point when your glutes, quads, and hamstrings take on more of the burden. As for depth, floggingsully already answered that: until your lower back rounds. There is a very distinct moment when squatters hit the limit of their flexibility and their pelvis rotates under (it sort of looks like sucking your butt in, if that makes sense). As soon as the pelvis tips, you lose the natural curve of your spine. I recommend standing sideways on to a mirror and doing squats with only body weight to learn how it feels when you hit that point. Then work on your hamstring and hip flexor flexibility to increase depth.

And since you mentioned form, aside from the back rounding there are a few other things to watch out for. Don't lean too far over at the waist. A lot of people do squats that look a lot like good mornings and with heavy weights, it puts far too much stress on the lower back. Focus on keeping your chest up, particularly when you get fatigued. Push through your heels as you lift (I sometimes scrunch up my toes in my shoes to make sure I do this) and make sure your knees follow the alignment of your toes. Have someone watch you to make sure you aren't leaning to one side as you come out of the hole. My right side is stronger than my left, so I have a tendency to tip the bar to compensate with that side. Wow, I just wrote a novel when I meant to have a short response, but I hope that helped.

I squat till my thighs meet my calves :)  I say the general rule of "till your back wants to round" is a good one.  I happen to be one who can do a squat all the way down and still have an arch in my back.

Wallpaper - thank you so much for the comment about scrunching your toes to make sure you push through your heels.  I constantly have trouble because my weight wants to shift and I think trying that will help :)

#9  
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I got as far as I can with that amount of weight while still keeping good form (flat back).  Look in the mirror, push yourself, but listen to your body and you should be fine.

#10  
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Original Post by girlfighting27:

go here http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/excercise.htm l watch the video air squat w/ demo + explanation. After I watched that I did my squats in front of a mirror to see how I did them and I realized I did that"butt wink" thing that they talk about not doing. 

 OMG this is the best thing I've ever seen...thank you so much!  EL POLLO LOCO!!!!!  I'm dying right now!!!

Anyone else have trouble keeping their balance when trying to squat deeper?

I did squat yesterday and paid attention to my form in the mirror. I can't even get to parallel. I just made it for 5 reps. 3 sets.I am not sure if that is enough. Before, I used to do 12 reps. 3 sets.Undecided   

a few weeks ago, I asked a PT to correct my form and he said it was fine. ???? this is sad.

now, what should I do? lift light weight ? 

My guess (I know that it's true for me) is that you don't have the flexibility/mobility to go lower. Over time, I've increased the depth I can squat, but I'm still not at parallel.

Have you thought about doing a 5x5 routine (5 reps for 5 sets)? If you've been doing 3x12 for a while, it might be god to mix it up.

if I can't reach parallel, that means I am doing it wrong? can I still increase the weight even if I don't reach parallel?

I don't think that you are doing it wrong, just you should be working on increasing your mobility to eventually reach parallel, or lower.

Kinda like if you are doing pushups - it isn't wrong not to go all the way down, but your goal is to go all the way down to get the fullest range of motion.

I'd say that it's wrong to not go as low as you can (so don't stop at parallel if you could go past parallel), but as long as you are going as low as you can, it's ok? Also, for me, I can go lower with more weight, so I think it would be ok to add weight. Although if you are only getting 5 reps, and you want to stay on a 3x12, you might want to wait to add weight til you can do 12?

Really hoping someone else confirms this, cause I'm NOT the expert on squats. Anything but.

thanks. I went to the gym today and tried to watch people who were with PT. To my surprise, none of them did it. no one reached parallel.

So I followed the advice and tried my best to reach parallel doing 5x5n today.

my quetion now which one is more important:

1- increase weight - can't reach parallel.

2- decrease weight - reach parallel.

 

bump

 Well, looking at my ACSM manual and seeing the instructions for what they think a squat is, I can't say as I'm surprised that the PT's don't know what a squat looks like. The pathetic instructions is enough to make a grown man cry...

 Check out this article on increasing flexibility/squat ROM - some simple instructions on how to assess your flexibility and what to do about it if you come up short.

 It's better to do the full range of motion with less weight and strengthen all your muscles than to do the partial version and only train some of them. For one thing, you're at an increased risk of an ACL tear if you've got a front/back strength imbalance, and a partial squat will only work your quads while leaving your hamstrings understrength. Which is doubly problematical because women in general tend towards understrength hamstrings to start with, and exacerbating the problem isn't doing you any favors.

 Like Mark Rippetoe says in his book: "if it's too heavy to squat below parallell, it's too heavy to have on the back".

 'cos generally people won't have the core strength or spinal erectors/trunk strength to properly stabilize a weight that's heavier than what you can use in a full squat anyway, so doing quarter-squats with heavier weights than what you can do full squats with isn't good for you.

 So, game plan: Stick with the weight you can do proper full squats with, and work on hip/ankle/hamstring mobility with third-world squats and perhaps some dynamic hip mobility drills.

 

thanks, Melkor. it is a great video. I am just wondering if I have to push my knees out the way he did ?? and he really squat very deep. is that a desirable level?? 

Only for the warmup part; for the athletic squat which is the most common you only need to go down to where your hip joint is below your knees.

 If you want to have a bit more of a visual demonstration of the squat and common problems, look at the Squat Rx series of videos. In the mobility video, Nick goes to a depth that's appropriate for an Olympic weight lifter a.k.a ass-to-grass, but you really need to be very, very flexible and have a good idea of what you're doing to go that deep without fear of injury. I don't recommend you do that without instructions in-person from someone who knows what they're doing, too many things that can go wrong that you can't really see without either an instructor or a video camera checking your form. 

 If you find that you can't go to the full depth at all due to lack of hamstring flexibility or other mobility restrictions - well, just do what you can and work on the mobility issue. No reason to stop training just because you've got a little issue to fix ;)

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