To Squat (below parallel) Or Not To Squat, That Is The Question

To Squat (below parallel) or not to squat, that is the question. So many debates on this subject such as… what about my knees? Won’t they get damaged? I’ve heard it’s not good to let your knees go past your toes.

Consider this, when you see a child playing, often times you’ll see them in a full depth squat,  torso vertical, knees tracking out over toes, heels down in contact with the floor. This is what your body is meant to do and is capable of.

Over the years we have shortened our muscles, tendons and ligaments by doing (or not doing) specific movements with our body. Through this course of action, we have taught our body how NOT to squat. You become a sum of what you consistently do. However, squatting is an essential movement.

“In humans and other primates, the knee joins the thigh with the leg and consists of two joints: one between the femur and tibia, and one between the femur and patella. It is the largest joint in the human body. The knee is a modified hinge joint, which permits flexion and extension as well as slight internal and external rotation.”

Regular physical activity helps maintain joint function, including strength and range of motion in the knees.

Strengthen the muscles that support your knees. Developing strong thigh muscles — especially the quadriceps, hamstrings and abductors — improves range of motion, protects knee cartilage and reduces the stress you place on the knee, says Richard Willy, an assistant professor of physical therapy at the University of Montana School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences.

This is one example of why the basic squat is an essential functional movement and here’s your challenge.

  1. Watch the above video and try for your self
  2. If you are unable to squat as demonstrated in the first video, don’t worry, there’s two more videos to help you
  3. Stay dedicated and perform the squats regularly
  4. Chart small improvements in range, ease of movement, improved points of performance, quantity, etc…
  5. Understand “range of motion is non-negotiable is long as it’s pain free”