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  1. #1
    GrandmasterSpank's Avatar
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    Question Squatting: To parallel OR just below parallel!?

    Hi there. I'm pretty new to heavy Squatting; I've been using the Leg Press mostly until now due to limited equipment...

    ...What I'd basically like to know is whether it's better for 'overall mass development' to Squat to parallel or to just below parallel???

    Main reason I'm asking this right now is that I've done a couple of Squat sessions, each time going to just below parallel, but I'm feeling as though I'm failing (always on the bottom portion) before my quads are really exhausted. Is this because my assistors/glute muscles are failing 1st!? Would I be better off by going to parallel in this instance, or is sticking with the fuller range a better option long term?

    All input welcome! Cheers guys!

  2. #2
    mick86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrandmasterSpank View Post
    Hi there. I'm pretty new to heavy Squatting; I've been using the Leg Press mostly until now due to limited equipment...

    ...What I'd basically like to know is whether it's better for 'overall mass development' to Squat to parallel or to just below parallel???

    Main reason I'm asking this right now is that I've done a couple of Squat sessions, each time going to just below parallel, but I'm feeling as though I'm failing (always on the bottom portion) before my quads are really exhausted. Is this because my assistors/glute muscles are failing 1st!? Would I be better off by going to parallel in this instance, or is sticking with the fuller range a better option long term?

    All input welcome! Cheers guys!
    My understanding is that just below parallel is better, its good to work a full range of motion with most exercises in my opinion, plus the knee joint is actually most secure in a fully locked or full bent position so if you were worried about the health of your knees that's no the issue here.

    As for you question about failing at the bottom I'm not completely sure, but my guess is that that portion is the toughest so it makes since that that is where you would have trouble. I don't know why you feel you are working you glutes more than your quads, when I do squats my quads don't exactly burn either (like they do with leg press for example), I just run out of strength in general, its the next day that I feel it in my legs.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
    MuscleScience is online now AR-Hall of Famer
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    I wouldnt go below parallel, the risk vs benefit is not really worth it to me.

  4. #4
    binder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuscleScience View Post
    I wouldnt go below parallel, the risk vs benefit is not really worth it to me.
    If you build up your weight and start lifting a normal weight going full range then slowly build up the body there is no more risk than normal.

    The only risk is when someone does crappy squats (not all the way down) and then throws heavy weight on there and tries to go too far.

    You'll actually have a more stable and less injury prone knee if you start off with light weight and do full range then slowly increase your weight to allow the muscles that support your knees to get stronger.

    Despite what people think muscles are the primary(active) supports for joints, ligaments are secondary(passive). Weak leg muscles around the knee joints will be prone to injury.

    I say do them like you are supposed to which is slightly below parallel but don't start heavy there. Start out light and let your body build itself up. Until I get up to 6 rep range I go all the way until my calves touch my hamstrings and I have no problems. When i get 315 on there I go just below parallel (hip joint must be below the top of the knee per powerlifting rules).

  5. #5
    sizerp is offline Banned
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    Don't your hams play a large role in squatting? I seen some dudes put a plate under their heels to help with balance.

  6. #6
    binder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sizerp View Post
    Don't your hams play a large role in squatting? I seen some dudes put a plate under their heels to help with balance.
    Yes they do. Hams and glutes.

    It depends on the person but raising the heels will put more weight on the balls of the feet which would work the quads a little more. I've also heard it's best to wear your shoes as flat as possible so your feet are flat. I know a lot of the old body builders that were huge use slippers or even bare feet to squat. I like my pumas with no sole on them so i'm flat. Lifting my heels puts me too far forward.

  7. #7
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    call me a ***** but i only go to para, always keep heals on ground. Thats just me.

  8. #8
    QuieTSToRM33's Avatar
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    I actually put a plate under the balls of my feet. That way my heels have to stay down.

    I go past parallel as well.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuieTSToRM33 View Post
    I actually put a plate under the balls of my feet. That way my heels have to stay down.

    I go past parallel as well.
    That sounds like a good idea. Ive never understood the reasoning behind puting a plate under your heals. Sounds like a good way to F up your knees if you ask me

  10. #10
    gettingBIGGERfast is offline Associate Member
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    Putting a plate under your heals is usually to put emphasis on the quads. I could see doing this with partial reps... but not full reps. Going all the way down with a plate under your heals would be stupid

  11. #11
    MuscleScience is online now AR-Hall of Famer
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    Putting a plate under your heels a pretty bad Idea biomechanically. It causes the patella/talar line to shift anterior. This puts a larger amount of strain on the patella tendon that would not normally be there.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrandmasterSpank View Post
    Hi there. I'm pretty new to heavy Squatting; I've been using the Leg Press mostly until now due to limited equipment...

    ...What I'd basically like to know is whether it's better for 'overall mass development' to Squat to parallel or to just below parallel???

    Main reason I'm asking this right now is that I've done a couple of Squat sessions, each time going to just below parallel, but I'm feeling as though I'm failing (always on the bottom portion) before my quads are really exhausted. Is this because my assistors/glute muscles are failing 1st!? Would I be better off by going to parallel in this instance, or is sticking with the fuller range a better option long term?

    All input welcome! Cheers guys!
    I drop to where it feels comfortable... If I feel the strain switch from straining the muscle to straining the joint, then I know I've gone too low and will know my stopping point for each rep from then on... If you wish, take a very narrow stance and keep you toes pointed inward to really isolate your quads... It will really enhance the outer sweep... The bottom portion is likely the hardest because you have to stop the momentum of weight coming down and press it back up from a position where your muscles/joints/etc. are already stetched taught...

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