The squat might be the most effective exercise you can do simply because it engages the entire lower half of the body, including the hips, glutes, quads, hams and calves, while also powerfully working the core, shoulders and back. Therefore, the perfect squat is all about achieving optimal muscular coordination and recruiting as many muscle fibers as possible, which can lead to incredible gains in terms of muscle mass and strength development, and, thanks to the high metabolic demand, fat loss as well.
According to the prevailing opinion on squatting, anyone who ignores this exercise must be oblivious to its wonderful potential for muscle building. The squat enjoys the status of a must-do exercise for anyone who’s interested in improving their fitness level, losing weight or adding real muscle mass to their frame. So it’s only natural that such a popular and celebrated exercise will cause a great deal of confusion and conflict as to which is the perfect way to perform it.
It generally though that the perfect squat is a deep squat where the hip crease goes all the way past the knees. But the deep squat has had some major opponents who claim that this way of squatting will inevitably cause knee damage and other serious complications in the long run – these ‘experts’ propose that the squat to parallel is the optimal way to perform this exercise for maximum benefits with a minimum risk of injury.
Is this true? It might sound like it is, but it’s a basically flawed viewpoint. First of all, there’s no denying that a deep squat will recruit more muscles and burn more calories, so it offers bigger gains when compared with its parallel counterpart. Secondly, it isn’t the deep squat that kills peoples’ knees – it’s their terrible form and condition.
There is a lot more to squatting than one might think – attempting to squat deep without employing proper form and without having an adequately strong core, powerful back, active glutes, healthy shoulders and a high degree of mobility, dramatically increases the risk of injury. In order to reap the biggest benefits and minimize the risk of injury, you need to realize the importance of using a full range of motion and prioritizing proper form over weight. Without building a proper foundation of good form, you could never unlock the full potential of this superb exercise.
In fact, the ability to successfully perform a deep squat is a good indicator of one’s level of overall fitness and movement quality – it demonstrates proper ankle dorsiflexion, hip flexion, thoracic extension and glute activation, and of course, reinforces them in people who practice it even further. Practicing the deep squat can help you fix many weaknesses in your body, such as muscle imbalances, muscle tightness, poor coordination of the core muscles, dormant glutes, etc., thereby improving your overall athletic performance and musculoskeletal health.
So, in a way, thinking that squatting with a limited range of motion is safer and brings about the same benefits is untrue and quite honestly, pretty dumb.
Contrary to what some people might think, squatting deep isn’t dangerous nor bad for the knees. In addition, it offers superior benefits compared to all other squat versions. It’s true: the deep squat is the best and most effective way to squat and it’s perfectly safe. Furthermore, here are 6 scientific reasons why you should start squatting “ass to grass” like you really mean it!
#1. Deep Squats Increase Glute Activity
A 2002 study by Caterisano et al. investigated the relationship between squat depth and EMG activity of the quads, hams and glutes and found that the deeper the squat, the greater the glute activity. While quad and ham activity didn’t change significantly, glute max activity tends to increase together with the increasing of depth.
#2. Deep Squats Increase Hip Extension Torque
A 2012 study by Bryanton et al. inspected how squat depth affects joint movements at the ankles, knees and hips. The results showed that when the range of motion is greater, the hips pick up more of the load, compared to the knees and the ankles.
#3. Deep Squats Increase Lumbopelvic Stabilization Requirements
Another 2012 study by Gorusch et al. showed that going deeper in a squat brings upon greater lumbopelvic stability requirements – for example, it stimulates greater erector spinae and rectus femoris activity.
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