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Fitness Tips For 8/13/2014
Squatting Right for Size
Do you squat right? Or perhaps a better question is whether you squat
at all. Unfortunately some guys forego squatting, to their detriment.
If you don't squat at all, you tend to build a "light bulb" physique
– big up top and small downstairs. Of course this looks strange, and
indeed causes the body to lack true power. If you want to be balanced
and powerful, you've got to squat.
And when you do squat, you need to squat right. Besides good form,
the one key factor that determines if your squats are fully
profitable to your physique is the depth of the squat. All squats
provide benefits but the depth of the squat provides how much benefit
Lots of guys squat shallow. And shallow squats give your body some
benefit but come up far short of unlocking all the muscle growth you
can receive. There are two primary reasons to squat deep. The first
one is dear to every bodybuilder, powerlifter and power athlete's
heart - deeper squatting builds more muscle.
Range of Motion Matters
The reason that deeper squatting builds more muscle is due to the
range of motion factor. Research published in the Journal of Strength
& Conditioning Research (January 2014) reveals that that the longer
range of motion in movement was much more beneficial where "muscle
strength and size are the objective." So if muscle size and strength
are your concern, then you want a full range of motion. And guess
what? Muscle strength and size are what bodybuilding, powerlifting,
and power athletics are all about. So you absolutely want to get this
right. You want a full range of motion for all your lifting. And that
applies to squatting as well as everything else. In fact since
squatting is the para sin qua non (indispensable and essential
action, condition, or ingredient) of all training movements, you
especially want to get the range of motion right with the squat.
Researchers from a 2012 Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research
study found that "muscle strength and muscle thickness can be
improved with both FULL and PART (range) resistance training, but
FULL may lead to greater strength gains." So yes, you may get some
gains from shallow squatting, but you will get a lot more from
going deep. Go deep!
There is another side benefit to deep squatting that fires up the
hamstring muscles. As the hamstrings take more of a role in the
squat, they relieve the strain on the anterior cruciate ligament
Squatting deep also beneficially tilts the hip/pelvis area. If you
only squat shallow, this vital region will remain tight and locked
up. Going deep opens up this area for positive development, a
development it won't receive in a shallow squat routine.
In addition to developing more strength and size, squatting deep also
enhances athletic capability. Higher Faster Sports notes -
"The guys you see that consistently have the highest verticals aren't
in the NBA, they're in the NFL. Elite corners, safeties, receivers,
wide receivers, tight ends, and linebackers routinely have standing
verticals above 40" and max verticals a few inches higher. Why?
There's more of an emphasis on strength training and...you ready?
...deep squats. Athletes in the NFL you'll notice all have extremely
strong posterior chains. So it's not uncommon to see a 6'2" 250
player with a 40" vert. Most of your power generation on the vertical
jump comes from your glutes in conjunction with the rest of your
posterior chain. Being strong, flexible, and explosive in your hip
extension is crucial. It shouldn't be a surprise why deep squats and
deadlifts are most popular with athletes improving their vertical,
you just can't hit your posterior chain as well with 1/4 squats."
So squatting deep makes you much more athletic than not squatting, or
only partially squatting. To give your athletic capabilities a big
boost, you have to squat deep.
Squatting deep benefits your jumping ability as well as your running
capability. Research published in the Journal of Strength and
Conditioning Research (April 2012) studied the effect of squatting on
sprint times, and found that squatting strength translates into
better sprint acceleration. In specific, the research focused on 5,
10 and 20 meter times. The researchers stated that "increased squat
strength may improve sprint performance".
Deep squatting enhances the "deadly duo" of sprinting and jumping.
Squatting deep builds not only your jumping ability but also your
speed. Consistent deep squatting will make you a much faster runner.
So you really build athletic capability via deep squats by
increasing your jumping and running output.
So how deep do you want to squat? A good rule of thumb is to follow
what powerlfters do for their squats. That translates into squatting
down far enough so that your thighs break below parallel, where your
upper thigh and hip area are lower than the front of the thigh. A
squat that qualifies for a powerlifting meet is deep enough for your
training as well.
If you haven's squatted deep before you will need to start with a
lighter weight load than what you currently use. However, you will
be able to quickly ramp up your weight load and start building some
impressive size and power.
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Squatting Right for Size
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assume any liability for the information contained herein.
The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion
of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice.
Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed
health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you
begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.