Squats have gained a bad rep for being knee killers mostly because too many people are ignorant and neglect their personal physical limitations or never make the effort to learn how to squat properly. The knees are one of the most important body parts for any athlete – poor knee health will inevitably lead to serious issues and injuries down the road and really hinder your performance.
The best athletes always make sure to protect their knees no matter what, and that’s what you should be doing too if you’re hoping to build the greatest physique you possibly can. According to popular opinion, deep squats destroy knees like nothing else and should be replaced with parallel squats, who are deemed much safer and at least equally advantageous, whenever possible. Is this true? Read this article to find out.
There’s No One Size Fits All When It Comes to Squatting
There’s no arguing that the squat is one of the best exercises out there and you should by no means exclude it from your routine just because someone told you that it will ruin your knees. This is not true. Squats don’t kill knees – a lack of understanding of the way your body works does.
Now, it’s pretty stupid to claim that everyone should squat in the exact same way and to the exact same depth. Some guys naturally possess the perfect right hip anatomy that allows them to squat ass-to-grass with the heaviest weights without breaking a sweat, while others seem to be unable to upgrade their squatting form to a decent level no matter how much they try and therefore become loud parallel squat proponents. After all, squats are not only about hip anatomy – perhaps your squatting efforts are plagued by poor ankle mobility, dormant glutes and/or core weakness, all of which can be easily solved with the right training approach.
But don’t forget that one of the greatest things about squats is their sheer versatility. By experimenting with different versions of the regular squat, you can not only shift emphasis on different muscle groups and better target the areas of your body you want to improve the most, but also discover the one that fits your body type the best and puts your ankles and knees under the least amount of undue stress. That being said, every exercise has its best version which can produce superior gains in the long term.
The Truth About Deep Squats
Most people would say that deep squats aren’t the best way to squat because of the popular misconception that deep squatting damages the front knee joint while not providing any significantly greater gains than other squat variants. This toxic myth has to die right now.
First of all, multiple studies have already proven that deep squats will help you build stronger glutes, hams, calves and quads. It’s just the way it is and there’s no need to pretend it’s otherwise. But perhaps more importantly, research has also shown that deep squats increase knee stability instead of hurting it. It turns out that the two major ligaments in the knee, the ACL and PCL, are less strained the more the knees are bent. So the deeper the squat, the less pressure ends up being placed on your knees.
Does this mean that you should opt for the ass-to-grass squat no matter what? Not exactly. If you’re suffering from chronic knee pain, the parallel squat is the best way to go. No matter how great the deep squat is, it’s always better to be safe than sorry so avoid risky decisions if you’re not sure you can do the movement in a safe and effective manner. Performing parallel squats is still a million times better than not squatting at all and it will definitely increase your mass and strength gains, so don’t beat yourself up and make the most use of the exercise.
Regardless of which squat you prefer, make sure your form is flawless – if you’re still not there, keep on working relentlessly until you become the squat master at your gym. It can be done and it’s more than worth the effort. In the long term, perfecting your form will help you prevent injury and pain as well as build the strongest and most defined legs possible, so remember to always put form before weight. Once you build sufficient deep squatting prowess, increase the load and watch your legs grow beyond your imagination!
Good luck and have fun!