Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Squats appear in most training programs. However, there is a common misconception that Full Squats (thighs against calves) are dangerous.

As the saying goes, “There are few bad actions, only bad execution”. Many coaches design strength training programs without properly training the muscles at their full range of motion.

For example, when squatting, only let the thigh bone parallel to the ground, so that the load in the upper half of the range of motion, ignoring the bottom range of motion.

The result is that athletes can only perform high loads within a limited range of motion. However, it is well established that knee injuries occur less frequently when athletes squat at full range of motion.

Squatting to horizontal height is common in power lifts. However, power lifters attempt to lift as much weight as they can carry, but only in a short range of motion.

Finally, power lifters are training for power lift competitions and are not necessarily suitable for other competitive athletes.

Local range training has its role in strength training, but when only local range is used during training, it can lead to muscle imbalance and increase the chance of health injuries.

There is a common misconception that squats through full range of motion are dangerous. However, studies have found the opposite, that the depth of the squat may provide greater joint stability.

The findings do not support the argument that full squats have adverse effects on healthy knee function. Deeper squats confer a number of important benefits, including greater muscle activation and development, improved capacity and better athletic performance.

In Olympic weightlifting, up to 25% of the athlete’s training revolves around the full squat, but knee injuries and impaired function are very rare.

The knee joint is most stable when standing and full squat to the end. The middle point (about 90 degrees) is the most unstable, and when you stay there, it forces you to take the load and change direction in the worst case.

In the full squat, the gluteal muscles and the back of the thigh absorb the force applied to the body, while the half squat allows the knee muscles to absorb the considerable force applied, while the ligaments of the knee provide little stability.

The knee has four major protective ligaments that keep the femur moving over the tibia (ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL). These four major ligaments are most effective in protecting the knee during full extension and flexion.

When the knee is bent at 90 degrees, these four ligaments are almost completely relaxed and cannot play a role in protecting the knee.

In another study on squats, the authors noted that “disciplined resistance training imparts an adaptive response to the connective tissue, increasing its strength capacity. Stronger ligaments can improve Tolerance to load, further reducing the likelihood of future injuries.”

In addition to strengthening the connective tissue in the knee, performing a full squat also works Vastus Medialis Obliquus (VMO), creating a more balanced relationship between the four heads of the quadriceps group, as they pull in slightly different directions on the kneecap.

However, the head of the quadriceps VMO(the droplet muscle on the inside of the knee) crosses the knee and plays a crucial role in the stable development of the knee. Combined with the hemimembrane muscles at the back of the thigh, the thoroughly developed VMO helps protect the medial side of the knee.

In many athletes, VMO is often undertrained, as many coaches tend to focus on the weight of the squat. As a result, athletes never perform squats with full range of motion and often ignore auxiliary (corrective) movements, leaving VMO undeveloped and knee vulnerable to injury.

Full squats are still a staple of exercise preparation because, when done correctly, they not only make you bigger, stronger and more athletic, but they also make athletes more resistant to injury potential.

By coach1

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