In most gyms today, a common instruction during squats, dead lifts, and lunges (as taught by many personal training organizations) is not to allow the knees to travel on the far side the toes, doing so can ultimately destroy your knees! I do not agree.
If you searching aerobic exercise and weight loss have a positive relationship click here. There are certain instances where a partial range of motion (ROM) is indicated, but for the most part, I teach people the full squat for the following reasons:
It is the most primitive movement pattern known to man; our ancestors used to perform many daily functions (i.e. harvesting, gathering, hunting, cooking, eating, etc.) in a full squat position. Also, in case anyone hasn’t noticed, we spend forty weeks in the fetal position (which is essentially to full squat) before entering this world – do we initiate with bad knees?
We should try to train in full memory for every exercise. The squat is no exception. Every exercise produces stress around a joint – the body then adapts to this stress. Contraction of the quadriceps, hamstrings and gastrocnemius maintains integrity around the knee joint.
Sheering and compressive forces do occur around the knee joint (as opposed to only sheering forces that occur in some open kinetic chain lower body exercises, such as the leg extension); however, the large contact area of the patella with the femoral groove (as knee flexion increases during the full squat) helps to dissipate compressive forces.
Not only is the squat – as a chain exercise – thought of a natural movement pattern with high practical carryover, but it is also a safe exercise if performed correctly (and that includes full ROM!)
Drawer tests are performed at a knee angle of ninety degrees because there is a bigger quantity of laxity in the knee joint at that specific angle. So, does it make sense to only go down halfway where you are most vulnerable especially when greater loads can be used (because you are much stronger in this partial ROM?)
According to iron man contributor, George Turner, the fulcrum moves to the knee joint in a parallel squat as opposed to the muscle belly of the quadriceps in a full squat. Think about it, if you constantly trained in a limited ROM, the likelihood of injury increases if one day you happen to squat beyond your trained ROM. Partial squats performed regularly will decrease flexibility.
There is a low incidence of lower back pain and knee injury in Aboriginal and Oriental societies which perform full squats regularly. Even Olympic weight lifters who practice full squats have quite healthy knees compared to other athletes.
Although you may find some research that indicates full squats as potentially harmful to the knees, only one study has ever proved this to be true. However, it was performed on a skeleton – identical results don’t hold with surrounding connective tissue. On the opposite hand, numerous studies show the benefits of full squats.
Unfortunately, many personal training certification courses are teaching half squats as a safe version suitable for all individuals and this has now become written in stone. God forbid that you deviate from this golden rule to do something that our bodies are meant to do!
Read this carefully: squatting should be performed in a full ROM where the hamstrings make contact with the calves (so that no light can be seen passing through your legs at the bottom position.)
It is okay for your knees to travel beyond the toes (just don’t relax the knees within the bottom position.) In other words, keep the legs tight and try to stay as upright as possible throughout the exercise.
So, next time some fitness instructor approaches you in the gym and advises not to go deep while squatting tell him/her that they don’t know squat. Are you looking to take the 30 days of core challenges?