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http://articles.elitefts.com/training- articles/why- the- hell- would- i- want- to- half- squat/ June 6, 2013
Why the Hell Would I Want to Half Squat?
The other day I was squatting. No surprise. I then got a talk from yet another ‘expert.’ Again, no surprises there! He came up to me after a set and said, “You know, if you do five, you should do six.” Uninterested, I replied, “Oh really” and then sat down. “Yea,” he said. “When you get to five and can’t do any more, you should just carry on to like ten or more and do higher squats.” With a dumbfounded look in my eye, I looked up from my bench and simply replied, “Why the hell would I want to half squat?” Before he could reply, I simply carried on. I don’t believe in half squats. In my eyes, a squat is only a squat when you go arse to grass or parallel. Quite simply, you either squat or you don’t. This incident got me thinking of all the reasons why I believe you shouldn’t half squat, and this article was born. Before we get started, granted not everyone is built for squatting. Some people actually do have structural issues that prevent them from squatting to depth such as femoroacetabular impingement and unique anthropometrics as well as a whole host of other injury issues (I haven’t forgotten this). For these people, there are alternatives. However, most people can squat and indeed have the ability to hit parallel at least. If they say they can’t, they need to get more instruction on technique, address mobility issues, and strengthen their posterior chain. If you’re in the process of improving range of motion, I would allow squats shy of full depth as long as they are all part of the process of gradually increasing depth. In such cases, I would rather use box squats at varying heights, as this teaches the use of the hips, not the knees. Either way, in this process, the weight stays the same as you gradually learn to squat lower for progression. This weight in most cases need not be heavier than the bar or say a light dumbbell if you’re goblet squatting. You don’t put more weight on the bar and stay at the same depth. Half squats or varying height box squats should be used as part of a learning or rehabilitation process, not as an ego inflation tool.
say that full squats are bad for your knees. and secondly. The combined backward pulling actions of the hamstrings and the adductors serve to balance the forward pulling force of the quadriceps. they are all massively wrong. Anything above this and the knee is subject to excess anterior forces because the hamstrings and adductors aren’t stretched and don’t provide a posterior force in the movement.’ Thus. which span the back and inside of the leg. as they’re anchored at the distal attachment while the proximal attachment moves relatively further away. Proper distribution of force about the knee is pivotal to knee health. As Dan John says.” Let’s have a little anatomy lesson…The squat movement doesn’t just involve the quadriceps as many ignorantly believe. During squatting.Myths OK. “Squats don’t hurt your knees. This includes the hamstrings and adductors. but this only occurs when the hamstrings and adductors are stretched. Well. only all the people who are wrong say that. as the hips are pushed back and anteriorly rotate slightly. with all that in mind. hip . The adductors also serve to pull the knee backward but from above the knee and toward the inside. and of course the glutes.” Wrong! But wait—everyone. “Full squats are bad for your knees. This dramatically increases the likelihood of developing patella tendonitis or patella tendinopathy. including doctors. The adductors attach on the pubis and ischium (proximal) and along the posterior medial aspect of the femur (distal). the hamstrings are anchored at the distal attachments and so sitting back entails the hamstrings to stretch. it’s obvious that full squats serve to keep the knees healthy. which occurs only in the full squat position. let’s tear down half squats and some myths surrounding deep squats in the process. the stretched hamstrings and adductors in the bottom of a deep squat serve to provide a rebound out of the ‘hole. In much the same way as described for the hamstrings. It’s an exercise that uses the entire leg and hip. the ‘sitting back’ and ‘knees out’ motion requires the adductors to be stretched. they serve to pull the knee backward from below. It’s half squats that lead to dodgy knees. Thus. Squatting how you squat hurts you knees. As an added fact. Because this correct distribution only occurs in a full squat. The hamstrings span the back of the femur and insert anteriorly on to the tibia just below the knee on both sides.
even say up to 250 kg. here are some more reasons: Because half squats don’t activate the hamstrings. many still claim that half squats are more functional! The rationale for this is that they mimic the body position in jumps (i. But if you have only ever trained the half squat. They want the easy ego boosting way of ‘lifting.e. and landing. Added to this. the underdeveloped strength of the glutes derived from half squats means that the knee is vulnerable to falling inward with valgus collapse and internal hip rotation and even a degree of abduction (prime time ACL tear territory) during sports performance movements such as cutting. adductors. What about jumps? Despite the previous points. In a study comparing two groups of vertical jump tests. If your hamstrings aren’t eccentrically strong enough to act as a sufficient brake to the quadriceps force at the knee during running and then act very rapidly with a limited amortization phase to help produce hip extension. hopefully this will. “When do you ever see anyone jump from a full squat position?” My answer is always this—If you can squat 200 kg arse to grass and you were to suddenly go mad and perform a half squat. Partial squatting contributes to an imbalance in the quadriceps to hamstring strength ratio. people jump from half squat positions). Without having to preach to the choir. Because those people are wimps. and glutes. This imbalance increases the risk of hamstring tears.’ If that isn’t enough to convince you. I bet you still can’t full squat 200 kg! Your actual 1RM would be more like 150–170 kg. By half squatting. This is because the glutes aren’t strong enough to stabilize the pelvis and the knee via hip elevation and external rotation. This imbalance also increases the risk of an ACL tear. athletes using them end up developing imbalanced legs to the detriment of the posterior chain. they will simply be stretched too far and subject to too much strain and tear. a strong posterior chain is literally the backbone of human performance. you could most likely ‘squat’ in excess of 250 kg. hip extension is accomplished much more safely and efficiently when we squat deep! As if that wasn’t enough. jumping. Are these people really trying to convince me that the NFL running back who squats 200 kg arse to grass is going to struggle in jumping and running performance because he hasn’t trained the movement of jumping in a ‘jump range of motion squat’ per say? Get real. These people usually say something like.adductors in the bottom of a deep squat serve to provide a rebound out of the ‘hole. I need not say any more. Why would you choose to not squat to depth when being able to makes you function better as a human and doesn’t hinder your half squat or jump performance?! Wait—I know the answer. An increased quadriceps to hamstring ratio is a major factor in increasing the amount of anterior tibial sheer. you’re instantly making yourself a lesser athlete because you can’t properly perform a basic human function. This is a causative factor of ACL tears. one group better than the other. especially because there isn’t any official depth for an official half squat.’ Thus. it was found that the group that jumped higher used .
” OK. As a result. First. Ego inflation Half squatting is inconsistent and ego inflating. it has to be said that many bodybuilders (not all by any means) feel that you don’t need to go low because you’re trying to ‘overload’ your quads and take the hams out of the movement. Keep it that way. let’s address bodybuilders. surely the goal is to make your legs as big as possible. they all have to be activated in the lift. Place your bets on which group someone who deep squatted falls into. grow a pair and throw in extra long eccentrics like John Meadows in the process. adductors. too. but in that case. We already know that the hamstrings. You can never reach a max on a half squat because when the tough gets going people just make their half squat a little less deep and so on. nice idea. but let’s not forget that if you’re potentiating the leg muscles needed to squat. Regardless. Half squatting ingrains knee flexion dominance whereas deep squats ingrain strong hip stabilization and extension. “We use half squats to potentiate the muscles in the legs/central nervous system as a whole so that we can lift subsequently heavier after or perform some sort of contrast training. I’d rather use a reverse band set up so that I get that effect but can still squat to depth and develop speed in the lift. use partials on the leg press and extension or use drop sets on deep squats. how about using deep front squats? The already shortened hamstrings in the front squat position greatly reduce their involvement in the lift. Hell. and glutes aren’t activated in half squats. Bodybuilding While I’m full blown ranting. frog jumps or box jumps work well. Therefore. Or if you want something to use directly before a set of squats. Hell. Off the bat. hit leg extensions and leg presses in conjunction with full squats. you never know where your strength levels currently are and whether or not you’re improving. not their knees to provide the majority of force in the movement. If extra fatigue is the goal. Just think of the boys Joe DeFranco trains for the answer. and glutes fired up to squat super heavy like you think. Alternatively. so why not train the posterior chain. that 300 kg on your back isn’t going to get your hamstrings. I’m not knocking you guys. I’ve trained like one more than any other strength athlete. I think it’s the ego lover’s best ‘back stabbing’ friend (closely followed by the ‘spotter . These can be taken to depth. You may get a slight effect from the sheer spinal loading (there are some studies to back this). too?! If you wish to overload the quads.their hips. But wait—now the die-hard half squatters come back at me with their final stand. Don’t use partial squats! A squat is a squat. adductors.
you could tell straight away that this guy hadn’t the musculature to handle that weight properly (not to mention. remove a finger. It did. that didn’t do serious damage to his head and neck.00 Metal Jack Pro Squat Suit Its finally here! Metal A-MJPS View Options . Half squats can kill. In desperation. get big. His back rounded uncontrollably and the bar rolled over his head. Suddenly. A guy at my university gym proceeded to load up a bar to somewhere over 200 kg. get strong. OK. I had witnessed his woeful build-up sets). the guy unracked the bar and proceeded to ‘squat. The bar rolled over his head and landed on his fingers! So remember folks.00 Metal Jack Pro Briefs Prepare to get Jack(ed). squat deep. so don’t take the piss. Now from only a fleeting glance. Abusing any lift with weights above or on you can cause serious harm and even death. To highlight the point in a serious manner. however. They will watch you squat to depth and hold you to it. Someone will call you out one day. Metal A-MJPB View Options $349. Anyway. stay injury-free. and don’t let your ego hurt you. your boasted 180 kg squat actually ends up being something more like a mere 100 kg to full depth! Don’t be that idiot.’ He folded. I admit a little dramatic but nonetheless true. Luckily.dominant bench’ where your spotter does all the lifting for you!). $245. the guy put his hands out forward and grabbed the safety pins that ran parallel. I’ll tell you a story.
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