|Calves, Abs, Low Back|
See all the exercises at the:
Weight Training Exercises Database
– Deep Squats –
AKA: ATG (Ass To Grass) Squats, Full Squats
Compound Exercise, Push Movement
Standing, position the barbell on the traps or rear deltoids. Descend until your hip joints are below the knees, going as far down as you can (or desire) while successfully controlling the weight. Raise back up until the knees are nearly extended.
Tips and Techniques:
Don’t descend so far that your thighs and buttocks come to a rest on your calves. Always stop just short of this point and keep tension in the exercise. Never bounce off the calves. Both of these mistakes can greatly increase knee stress.
Knees in front of your toes: There is a popular belief that the toes should never extend past the toes during the squat (or lunge), that doing so will put too much stress on the knees. This is NOT a hard and fast rule. However, if you ever squat in a gym where inexperienced personal trainers lurk and your knees extend beyond your toes, you have about a 95% chance of being scolded by one of these trainers as though you’d just taken a ball-peen hammer to your knees.
For many, and perhaps most, keeping the knees behind the toes will not be a problem. The key to correct and safe form is moving the hips back and keeping the bulk of the weight on the heels during the lowering (as opposed to moving forward and allowing the weight to move onto the toes and creating unsafe positions for the back and knees).
The “knees behind toes” belief is based on old studies which did indeed show that keeping the knees back reduced potential knee injury. Newer studies, however, have shown that such knee restriction in certain builds, specifically those individuals with longer limb lengths, can increase hip stress that greatly outweighs the decreased knee stress. It can also lead to balance problems and the potential of falling back over on your bum while trying to keep to the other important form points (yes, I’m long-limbed, and can speak from experience).
Squatting can be troublesome to learn. But it is a very valuable exercise and worth the effort. For more tips on squatting correctly, see the Squats page.
Deep Squats vs. Parallel Squats is one of those things that trainers like to debate ad nauseam. In my opinion, both have merit. Both can be important to programs.
Parallel Squats allow the use of a greater load and keep great emphasis on the quads, theoretically allowing you to better develop the quads. Those whose primary goal is bigger quads may find at parallel the way to go. It’s why parallel squats are sometimes called “bodybuilding” squats.
Deep Squats will require less load (and therefore less load then the quads can handle) but due to the increased range of motion they bring in the glutes and hams creating a better overall leg exercise. This can be advantageous to athletic performance.
Recommended Reps For Muscle Building:
6-12 the majority of the time, trying higher or lower reps on occasion.
- Parallel Squats
- Front Squats – The barbell is held in front resting on the front delts, typically with a cross-handed grip.
- Zercher Squats – Barbell held in front in the crook of your elbows.
- Overhead Squat – Barbell is held overhead with arms outstretched.
- Dumbbell Squats – Dumbbells are held to the sides while squatting.
- Hack Squats
- Machine-Based Hack Squats
- Bulgarian Split Squats – With dumbbells to the sides or barbell on the back, the off-leg foot is positioned on a bench behind the lifter while working the other leg in a squat.
- One-Legged Squats – Typically done without weights (and more difficult than you would think). Squat down using only one leg typically keeping off-leg stretched straight in front.
- Machine-Based Squats – Various machines can give options for performing squats.
If you have problems with Deep Squats, sticking to Parallel Squats is the first thing you should try. Deciding not to squat at all should be a last resort – squats are really important. If you must substitute for squats, Deadlifts, Lunges, Dumbbell Step-Ups and Hack Squats can be exercises to try.
Power Rack, Barbell, Weights