‘Ass to Grass’ - Yes or No?

When it comes to the squat depth everyone has a different perspective!

An increasing number of strength coaches and personal trainers are pushing towards getting clients to squat “ass to grass”. 

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But is this advisable? 

Not if you speak to many GPs and health practitioners who tell you it is too dangerous to squat below 90°. Unless you want to damage your knees!

Thankfully…

The only research to support squats ‘might’ be bad for you states compressive loads on the knee are at their greatest at 90° (as per doctors recommendation) and at 130° (a super deep squat).

Essentially, this means it’s safe either way! 

But should all squats should be as deep as mechanically possible? 

What we’re seeing in the research is the ideal squat depth depends on what muscle groups you’re trying to target!

Here are 3 things we found:  

➔       The deeper the squat, the more Glute activation

➔       Peak Quad activity was at 80-90° depth

➔       As squats got heavier, Hamstring activation increased and peaked between 50-70° of depth on the down-phase. 

So, squatting “ass to grass” will help you build a bigger peach! 

But what if you want bigger quads... 

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The answer is no!

To increase the VMO activation during a squat, you need to keep them to a partial depth.

Why?

They contribute to around 30% of total muscular activation above parallel. The further down you go, the less they contribute.  

3 tips for your squat training: 

  1. Vary your depth, reps and weight

  2. Stick to a program - too much variation will achieve nothing

  3. Focus on movement quality - no bad reps

Written by: Nick Papastamatis from Balance Health & Performance.

 
Balance Health
 

Balance Health & Performance provide the highest level of evidence-based healthcare to get you out of pain quickly and identify the cause of the dysfunction. They are a group of Physiotherapists, Chiropractors and Pilates Instructors in 6 locations across Sydney and our sole objective is ‘Making a Difference to People’s Lives’. Check them out at balancehp.com.au or on instagram @balancehealthperformance. For appointments call them on (02) 9899 5512.

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Website www.balancehp.com.au

Phone : (02) 9899 5512