We haven’t had a Thursday fact or fiction in a while so here’s a good one for you regarding squat depth. I’ve been struggling with the new one-size-fits-all recipe that we should squat deep and “break parallel”. I’m just not comfortable with it.
In the past we were told to stop at parallel (thighs parallel to the floor) to protect our knees like the picture here:
Then suddenly safe squatters became the devil and all sorts of snottiness entered the fitness arena about squatting lower, more like the picture here:
If you think I am kidding about the cattiness regarding squat depth just take a quick look on pinterest or google and check out all the fitness memes mocking people who don’t squat deep.
However, here’s my issue. I have NEVER subscribed to any sort of one-sized-fits-all fitness advise. Personally my knees get angry going so deep. As a runner my #1 concern when lifting is protecting my knees (and even if you don’t run, you should be working out safely to avoid injury at all times). My workout partner has bad knees and squats shallow as well. Let me tell you, we are both very strong and can squat heavy. Much heavier than most. But some jack-in-the-box trainer with chicken legs stopped us one day to lecture us on squatting depth. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a good article to back up my opinion that we all should squat differently. Until a few days ago that is. 2 articles came across my desk. The first was this one from T-Nation. This second from the PTDC I liked even better. I will be honest, I had to read it several times to fully grasp it, but the pictures and explanations have convinced me 100% that I have been correct in my thoughts that we can and should all squat differently.
Finally, for those of us who do not break parallel we can have some piece of mind that we are not missing out or squatting incorrectly. And if you have a trainer who is not working with your body and giving you one-sized-fits-all advice please consider sharing this article with them. Please do not injure yourself following bad advise. Follow your instincts, keep searching for science backed information and most importantly stay safe out there.