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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 you receive. Shallow Squats 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 ACL). 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. Athletic capabilities 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. Depth 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. Submit A Fitness Tip If you have a tip you'd like to share e-mail it to us
Squatting Right for Size

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