How low can you go?
I was asked today why do we want to squat below parallel? What is the advantage? Well, at the time many things ran through my head like injury prevention, force production, and on field production. However, my delivery was in my estimation less than effective. So, I’ve compiled a couple of links to help with this delivery of information. But, before you read the articles here are few of my thoughts on the subject.
Below parallel squats:
A.)Load the posterior chain. They put the body in proper position to sit back and drive using the muscles of the back, glutes, and hamstrings. Squats above parallel tend to load the knee joint and quads driving your weight forward which is a mechanism for injury but allows for less weight to be lifted with less effective bar path.
B.)Recruit more muscle fibers. More muscle fiber activation around the hips means stronger hips (think life at 80), greater force production, and larger muscle which burns more calories.
C.)Reduces likelihood of injury. Body is driven through the correct planes of movement and internal structures move and rotate more naturally. Think partial bench presses. They are used for strengthening the lockout but are not used every time a person benches. If so the load (which is heavier than normal) would take its tole on the shoulders and elbows due to the lack of full rotation in the shoulder and the constant pressure in the elbow. Similar situation happens in an above parallel squat to the knees and hips. As well, how many times in sport will you be “out of position” diving for a catch, to hit a ball, flip turn off a wall (swimming), or tackled on the field? Many of these positions will require the hip crease to drop below the knee crease. Mobility in these positions is imperative to safety and longevity.