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Posted on 01-18-2016

The Great Squat Debate.

Author: Amanda Fuller

If you’ve been around the fitness world at all, I’m sure you’ve heard conflicting reports on squatting.  Should we squat at parallel or below parallel? Or should we even squat at all?

First of all, before any athlete attempts any variation of a squat, there are a few things that should be taken into account. How is his/her mobility? Does he/she have any postural restrictions? What is his/her training history? How is the quality of his/her movements?

Squats Pacific Beach

So how do we know whether or not to squat below parallel? It’s all up to the individual. In the past, you may have heard that squatting below parallel can be harmful to knees and back. Well unfortunately that can be very true if you’re not performing squats properly. If done properly, squatting below parallel is actually thought to involve more muscular activation and provides for stronger and more stable knees in the long run. It is also found to be a more natural position. If you find yourself having trouble achieving good squatting length, here are some possible reasons why. 

  • Spine

Misalignments in the lumbosacral region can put pressure on your nervous system and interfere with its signaling to your lower extremities. Check this out with a chiropractor to make sure your spine and nervous system are working properly.

  • Hips

Sitting at work all day can be detrimental to musculature in hip area. While seated, your hip flexors are chronically activated (shortened) and the extensors are chronically inhibited (lengthened). What should you do? Lengthen your hip flexors – namely psoas, via daily stretches, myofascial release, foam rolling, lacrosse ball smashing and flossing.

  • Knees

Under-activation of the vastus medialis muscle and over-activation of the tensor fascia latae muscle and the iliotibial tract (IT band) can cause the IT band to pull your patella laterally which can result in what is called runner’s knee. Things to help: step ups and step downs to strengthen the vastus medialis and foam roll and stretch the IT band and tensor fascia lata.

Squats Pacific Beach

  • Ankles

How good is your dorsiflexion? If it’s lacking – the talus often tries to rotate medially, the bottom of the tibia will often rotate laterally, the lateral malleolus (outside of ankle) moves anteriorly and the top of the fibula will move posteriorly. Numerous stretches can be performed to improve dorsiflexion and achieve more flexibility.  

Whether you plan to perform air squats or heavy weighted squats, make sure you are performing the basic movement correctly. If you have any areas of stiffness or lack any type of mobility, be sure to see a chiropractor or a trainer to gain the base you need to achieve good squatting depth. 

It’s my goal to make Pacific Beach the healthiest community in San Diego!

Another great article to read on this subject is on the

5 of the Worst Exercises for Men in Their 30's

by Author Julie Peirano

Please add a comment to Share your story and experience with developing good squat technique.

Pacific Beach Chiropractor

-Dr. Ryan Curda

Or visit our Pacific Beach Chiropractic Center at

4747 Mission Blvd. #1

San Diego, CA 92109

(858) 866-3345

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