SQUATTING 101: DIE MYTH DIE!
Squatting deep allows you to recruit your Glutes and hamstrings at the bottom of the movement. This allows you to balance out the forward pulling motion of your quadriceps. This balance of motion is necessary to maintain knee health. Ignore what the others are saying. To squat properly is to squat deep. PERIOD.
More Squat Myths?
We’ve all heard it, if you squat below parallel, your kneecap will blow off, your quads will tear completely off of your body and the explosion from your knee will have everyone in the gym ducking for cover... Liar Liar skinny legs on fire!
Still want more evidence? OK, let’s get a little more technical then:
The knee has four main protective ligaments that keep the femur from displacing on the tibia (ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL). These four ligaments are most effective at their protection during full extension and full flexion. Full extension would be when you are standing; full flexion would be when there is no daylight between your hamstring and your calf (yes, butt to the floor). When the knee is at 90 degrees of flexion (the halfway point), these four ligaments are almost completely lax and cannot exert much if any of a protective force at the knee.
Unfortunately, the position where the protective ligaments of the knee are not doing any protecting is the common recommended stopping point of a squat!! Therefore, this would be the absolute worst place you could reverse the motion, especially under load.
If flexibility allows (heels staying planted, torso not flexing forward past 45 degrees), then a full squat where you lower yourself all the way to the ground is far safer on the knees than the traditional half squat. Guess what joint angle most leg extension machines start at? Yep, you guessed it, +/- 90 degrees. This makes a full squat much safer than a leg extension. I have been repeating this for 20 years and although there are MANY more people who squat to depth now, I still get the regular “Squatting deep is bad for your knees” comment, most often from a “coach” or avid muscleman who has a new found vein in his biceps... DIE myth DIE