Is Squatting All The Way Down Bad?
Table of Contents
Some people vehemently believe that squatting too low is bad for the knees and can increase the risks of injuries. Others firmly believe that ass to grass squats are safe for everyone.
In this article I will also touch on the deep vs ass to grass squat debate. There are lots of talking points and this article will aim to cover all bases.
Is Squatting All The Way Down Bad?
Simply put, squatting all the way down is not bad or dangerous. The caveat to this is ensuring proper technique. If you have faulty mechanics on the squat, then squatting too low can increase the risks of injury.
There is also a distinction to be made between deep squatting and ass to grass squatting. In general, squatting to just below parallel is safer for most people than ass to grass.
This is because ass to grass squats require greater mobility to ensure that your lower back doesn’t go into flexion at the bottom of the movement. There are fewer people who can perform this style of squat safely and with good technique.
Safe With Proper Technique
It is best to ensure proper technique from the outset with lighter weights. Focus on squatting to below parallel with just the empty bar and gradually increase the weight over time.
Keep track of how the weight felt and any issues with your technique. This really is crucially important. Common problems that people experience on the squat are: chest caving in, knees caving inwards out of the bottom, inefficient bar path, etc.
Not Everyone Is Suited To Squatting
In contrast, people with short femurs and a longer torso find squatting very easy. They tend to enjoy the squat a lot more and the movement is a lot more natural for them.
If you have long femurs and find that squatting deep can cause you hip issues or back issues, you have some options. You could choose to continue squatting, but squat to parallel instead. This may feel a lot more comfortable for you and reduce your risks of injury.
If you find that the squat just isn’t suited to you at all, you can ditch it! This will be an unpopular opinion to some. But the fact is unless you compete in powerlifting, barbell squats are not essential.
You could continue to just perform deadlifts and do other exercises to work the legs, such as bulgarian split squats and leg presses.
Deep Squats Or Ass To Grass?
I would say for most people, squatting to below parallel is all that is required. You will get all the benefits of the squat without the added risk that comes from going ass to grass.
Most people are not flexible or mobile enough to squat ass to grass safely. Having said that, it is possible. Clarence Kennedy for instance, is a well known squatter that has become famous for his heavy ass to grass squats.
Many times he even pauses these squats in the hole for some time with really heavy weights! Clarence is built for squatting though and has a great aptitude for the movement.
Elliot Hulse’s Views On Deep Squatting
By and large, Elliot is a proponent of deep squatting as you would expect. He explains that it is a very natural movement pattern. At the same time, he does acknowledge that many people have faulty movement patterns which prevent them from squatting deep safely.
To that end, Elliot advises people to learn how to overhead squat. Trying overhead squats with an empty bar and practicing this movement will help to improve thoracic extension.
This would ensure that you are less likely to have your chest cave in on you when squatting. Being able to keep your upper back tight is very important when it comes to barbell squatting efficiently.
In my view, I would say that the goblet squat is also a highly effective teaching tool for proper squat mechanics. You can even use goblet squats as a main leg exercise if you choose not to do barbell squats for other reasons.
As always, you should listen to your body. The majority of people can squat to below parallel safely, if they utilise good technique. A good exercise to teach the proper mechanics would be the overhead squat or goblet squat.
Some people may just not enjoy squatting at all and find that they experience too many nagging hip or knee issues from it. In this case, they can substitute the barbell squat for an exercise like the leg press or bulgarian split squat.
If you have any comments on this topic please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!
>> Are Pistol Squats Better Than Weighted Squats?