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Forget Squat Depth | T nation

Warning: This article may cause palpitations, ulcers and sleepless nights. Anyone who is not a competitive powerlifter will ask anything he thought he knew about the squat squat.

It's time to remove the word "depth" from your occupied vocabulary. Really. This is a meaningless and irrelevant term that may affect the performance of your customers or your customers and may cause unnecessary injury.

When this pointless requirement was eliminated in every gym, every college, every secondary school, and every professional sports team in 10 years' time, I've accomplished my mission.

Who should I have this radical goal? I am a former powerlifter world champion, a member of Westside Barbell and a strength coach with 20 years of experience. My training partners at Westside were Louie Simmons, Dave Tate, Jim Wendler and Chuck Vogelpuhl, just to name a few. I had the fourth highest total in the world (£ 2,436) and surpassed Dave and Jim in each powerlifting meeting we attended together.

  JL Holdsworth

This is not about me. It's about redefining, evaluating and using the squat to get the most out of your performance, while keeping your body healthy and generating HGG (Huge Finging Gains).

While I came to the premise From this article and the first part of the article, I commissioned a good friend, Geoff Girvitz from Bang Fitness, to write the second half because he's more involved with the basics of the movement than anyone another that I have ever met. But let me first explain my arguments.

How Squat "Depth" Became Arbitrary Gold Standard

In the late 1960s, three Missouri boys did three exercises – the squat, the bench and the deadlift – and created the sport of powerlifting. Then they had some simple rules. As far as the squats are concerned, they discovered that a valid squat requires the crease of the hip. The term "depth" was born.


As strength and stamina increased, everyone adopted this arbitrary standard for squatting as a golden rule. But a squat is nothing but joint movement on the ankle, knee and hip. It does not matter if you squat an inch or the ground down – both qualify as squats. For some unknown reason, the rule that applies to the sport of powerlifting has generally been applied to those who put a pole on their backs and began to fall.

Sure, the standards are good. They are designed so that we do not suck everyone. But focusing on the depth does not take into account one of the main joints involved in the squat: the ankle joint.

In addition, and above all, it does not even consider the main factor in determining strength and power performance gains, which is the range of motion (ROM) through which the joint is machined. Yes, the range of motion on the ankles, knees and hips should be the yardstick against which to exercise, assess or squat.

To prove this point emphatically, look at the two photos here.


Both knee joints move through the same ROM (as the lines show – that were not changed, just rotated), but one has a different ankle ROM than the other. In depth this means that one squat is "high" and the other is "good", but the ROM is the same. And ROM is what determines power, not depth.

So why, in God's name, is anyone who is not in the sport of powerlifting still referring to the depths? It makes no sense and can affect your performance and possibly cause injury, all for senseless traditions.

Here I pass on to Geoff Girvitz so he can talk about what's really important in a squat.

The 5 Things That Are Really Important When Squatting

Whether you're a coach, an athlete, or just a serious lift: pulling the squat off the equation is a shock to the system. At the end of the day, we only want clear signs that people are sitting well, but the depth of the squat is not important. Following is:

1 – It is important to have healthy ankles.

Powerlifting depth standards are based on the hips and knees. This is also confusing in most academic research on squat kinematics. But what about the ankle? Strangely, they all ignore one of the three moving joints in a squat.

Whether you're a sprinter, a wrestler, or just a regular guy after good, old-fashioned achievements, you must remember that Squats – at least for you – is not a competitive movement. They are means to an end. But many people have fallen into the trap of preferring their squat numbers to the primary targets.

It's a simple mistake. Getting stronger usually leads to better performance, and the squat has incredible potential there, but there are still limits to this transfer, especially if your power, which has fallen into the ground, is shitty.

Your feet, including your ankles, are the way for this power transmission. Unfortunately, many people can not strengthen this body part enough to handle large forces through a full range of motion. A weak connection is a weak connection.

Healthy Ankle + Strong Feet = Optimal Power Transmission.

The workaround, of course, is to lift the heels with special shoes or a kind of wedge. But here the squat numbers and the squat transfer are different. If you focus entirely on the hip ROM and do not focus on loading the forefoot or the ankle, you will miss a great opportunity for growth. This is especially true if the same things affect your athletic performance.

If you've never really cared about how to squat with your ankles and forefoot, pull some weight off the bar and play with a heavier forefoot load (the heel still stays down). If you have a tendency to lean forward when immersing in the hole, keep this in mind. There is a good chance that you will miss the eccentric control of dorsiflexion of the ankle, especially if conventional approaches to correction have failed.

2 – It's important to train in a way that benefits your goals and your anatomy.

Stuart McGill, an expert in spinal column mechanics, often refers to "Celtic hips," which refers to deeper acetabular cups that make squatting more difficult. If this description applies to you, then do yourself no favors if you make the most of the hip flexion in your squats.

Deep hip joints mean that you can lean against your own skeleton under extreme loads. This is the opposite end of the continuum that we might see in Olympic weightlifters, for which a much wider range of motion is available.

This is not discipline and mobility. It is a skeleton thing. So if your bones do not have enough room for the range of motion without interlocking, you may need to redefine the range of motion for your body.

NFL Force coach and conditioning coach Tom Myslinski gave talks at this point. His communication with some of the best hip surgeons in the country has shown that many offensive linemen are forced to undergo hip replacement due to heavy loads in areas where their hips are not suitable.

Requiring these athletes to squat extreme ROM (for their bodies) literally means shortening careers and causing lifelong damage, and all because we use an arbitrary depth standard that is unrelated to athletic achievement or any particular one Sport has to do. That's absolutely ridiculous.

You do not have to play professional football to take your own limits into account. Here's a crazy idea: When the squats bend the joints, you should set the depth to a point where you can load yourself and feel good afterwards! Sometimes the difference of a centimeter in depth to the health of the hips or lower back can be enormous.

3 – It's important to have strict standards.

ignoring the ankle and 2) using an arbitrary standard developed for a particular sport (powerlifting) is no excuse for making fun of things.

Whether you are moving from ankle to ankle or just part of the squat (JL and I would call "sports squats"), your ROM and movement should be consistent and your quality should be high.

Put pens or sit back on boxes. Record video. Get feedback. Do everything you need to set a clear quality standard. Make sure your standards are translated to your goals, and stick to those standards.

Keep in mind that the SAID principle applies here (specific adaptations to imposed requirements). Some athletes like Jiu Jitsu boys and wrestlers need access to every available ROM element. Others do not.

For example, let me know if you ever see an NBA player fall from knee to ankle in a squat before diving. Helping players stay healthy trumps any tiny potential advantage they can get by hammering on a range of motion that's not required for their sport.

Also, top athletes are mostly after what they have pre-sorted bodies can do. Normally, you will not see top-notch Olympic weightlifters with deep acetabular cups, 5'3 "volleyball players or super heavyweight footballers, athletes will naturally bow these rules a lot more, but everyone should give priority to longevity, especially if the only reason

4 – It's important to have full range of motion

One of the main benefits of Squat is the transference to daily activities You are when you can not tie your shoelaces?

19659002] When it comes to general mobility and muscle building requirements, a large amount of ROM is required, but loading is much more negotiable or even unnecessary if you're working on ROM because the question should be "Did you? functional access to an extensive ROM? "and not" Can I get a thousand pounds through every piece of ROM I own Squat? "

The ability to tie your shoelaces or pick up a toddler is no problem when you switch from a 400-pound squat to a 900-pound squat. It just does not matter. The SAID principle applies to everyday life as well as to the training of athletes or for you.

5 – It's important not to be a real asshole.

If you've made it this far, you're probably open-minded about training. In other words, you're not a real asshole, so you have that for you. But in case you're on the fence, let's conclude this with a final thought:

Should you call random people on Instagram to do flat squats? Maybe … if you are preparing for a powerlifting meeting and you really believe that you are helping them.

Otherwise, beat that shit off. There's absolutely no need to refuse another person's hard work on any arbitrary criterion, especially if you do not know what he's training for. Each goal requires its own approach.

We know what it's like to look at squats through a powerlifting lens. Now is the time to develop standards based on other training goals.

Repair your ankle mobility for deeper squats

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