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Old 27-Apr-09, 05:31 PM   #1
2dumb2quit
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Parallel Squats vs. Full Squats


I tried full squats for the first time Friday. I got in 3 sets of 10 at 185 for deadlifts and 1 set of 8 at 185 beforehand. Then I moved onto doing full squats and got in 3 sets of 10 at 155. I then tried to do some at 185 and only got one out before I fell down. I tried going back down to 155 afterwards, but that resulted in more falling down.

I went back to them today and got in two sets of 10 at 155 and two sets of 5 at 155. I decided it just wasn't working and tried to go back to parallel squats at 185 (which I had been doing just fine last week). I promptly felt my legs start to cave and barely managed to rerack the weight.

So from the looks of it and what I've been feeling, full squats are significantly harder than parallel squats and they work the inside of the thighs a lot more. What's the pros and cons of doing full squats vs. parallel squats?
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Old 28-Apr-09, 09:11 AM   #2
.V.
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Full squats are full ROM and therefore better, they work all the muscles involved more thouroughly. A high bar olympic squat (full squat) is also less likely to injure you because you aren't leaning forward as much as the paralell squat as you'd see a powerlifter do.

It really depends on your sport though, if you want to move the most weight for a single rep or whatever, train paralell. For physique or mobility, train butt to calves. Your goals will dictate how you should train.
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Old 30-Apr-09, 10:35 AM   #3
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a full ROM means full muscular contraction. this translates to greater size and strength gains. Full squats are better on the knees (take a look at a baby or even asians. They just chill in a full squat all the time).

here is my personal experience: did 2.5 years of parallel squats in highschool. got stronger yes, but no size gains. then spent a year doing full squats and then went from a size 30 waist pants, to needing a 36 size (tailored at the waist of course) just so my butt and thighs could fit.

you wouldn't do half curls or half pull ups or anything like that would you?

sorry if i'm coming off as an a-hole, i don't mean to.
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Old 01-May-09, 06:09 AM   #4
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Doing full range squats will develop your overall leg strength rather than just focusing on those quads. This is more of a functional exercise that allows you to tax all/majority of your leg muscles in a way they are meant to be used.

I'm a resonably new convert to compound exercises and it's basically all I do now. I've found that full squats have thickend out my legs and given me far more explosive power.

If you are physically able to do full squats then you should be doing them! Start light and work your way up while remembering that better form is more important than increasing weigth.

One question: you mentioned falling down! Aye you doing squats in a rack? ..... please don't say your doing them on a smith machine!#
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Old 03-May-09, 02:02 PM   #5
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Full squatting is great but put alot of stress on the knee
Para squats are favoured by many builders and work as you can push more iron
I suggest alternating week on week off between the 2
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Old 03-May-09, 02:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bodyshop20 View Post
Full squatting is great but put a lot of stress on the knee
I don't think there is anything inherently dangerous about a correctly performed parallel squat but if anything a below parallel squat will cause less strain on the knee than a parallel squat.

When the knee is at 90 degrees this is when it is under the most strain. Stopping at this angle fully loaded with weight will create more knee strain than when your below parallel and a large percentage of the weight has been transfered into the hips and hamstrings.

As far as I know the below parallel knee killing theory is outdated and a bit of an old wives tale.

I'd appreciate any other information people have on this as the main reason I started full squats over parallel was to keep my knees healthy. Time for Google!
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Old 05-May-09, 07:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the input guys. I tried applying the same principal to trap bar deadlifts today... It was an odd experience. I'll probably squat Thursday and try the deadlift thing again Monday.

@ixoyc: Your last sentence is pretty much my line of thought

@mrss: Yeah, I'm using a rack. I think there's a Smith machine down in the weight room, but I've got no use for it. I do use the leg press, but that's strictly for calf raises or for the last phase of my workout when I can't manage to pull off squats or deadlifts anymore.
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Old 14-May-09, 10:49 PM   #8
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I did powerlifting squats for years. (thigh joint dips below knee joint) and I'm one of those who can't do it anymore because of the pain in my knees. SO now I do them to parallel and that works fine. I also wrap my knees now for support. I can still go relatively heavy, considering I do squats third in my routine. BUT I dont even mess with below parallel squats anymore.

If I could go back, I wouldn't do squats first in my leg routine. I would have warmed up with more leg extentions and leg presses first.
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Old 17-May-09, 11:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bodyshop20 View Post
Full squatting is great but put alot of stress on the knee
I don't necessarily think this is the biggest problem with full squats, it's lumbar mobility. Anyone can do a full squat but for a lot of people, myself included, there's a lack of flexibility and mobility which results in a very distinct rounding of the lower lumbar area when going below a certain point (just below parallel for me). You can even spot it yourself from the front as there's a very noticeable "dip" as the pelvis tilts to accommodate the lower range of the movement.
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