The weighted squats – essential and crowned exercise which better to memorize to the bone. However, debates on a proper technique are still hot and, I assume, they will remain unsettled for long. The cornerstone of these is the squat’s depth. Let’s see what we have scientifically and practically.
When you perform half way squats, you are dealing with partial squats or PROM – partial range of motion squats. It’s certainly a cut short option. However, it’s also widely thought to be the safe version, prevailing among beginners. Since its trimmed nature, it gives less load to the parts like glutes or hamstrings and exerts less stretch to other groups of muscles. On the other hand, partial squats allow you to load more weight and thus boost your strength and power. This may work for the athletes in sports where the first step or the jump are essentials. Some of trainees prefer the partials as a step to the full range. Though, the used “well-known safe exercise” is not that harmless at all. By doing it all the time, we can shortly get its partial qualities. The muscles and joints adapts to the short motion and becomes less flexible and thus susceptible for an injury.
Full range squats
Performing a full range or FROM is harder, but shows better development of your lower body, giving much more piquant reward on plate. The deeper you squat the more you gain, especially on the parts like glutes, which win through to ~25%. Not to mention an improving of an overall motion stability as well as a mobility. Although, with a plenty of benefits, we also have the multiplied complexity which calls for advanced skills and body condition. This is another reason why deep squats are not the best option for newcomers. Add a proper weight, which is about 90% of your max, and chances of screwing up the technique spring up instantly. Hence, if you want to go deep, I’d suggest to start with Smith’s machine. It is much easier to set up the technique there and move to the free weights after. Do not linger over Smith’s though, it can be bad for your knees and, in fact, is very arguable for the main training purposes at all.
Let’s bring into some more details. We talk about full ranges, but what is full range and how far can we go? Usually, FROM squats are considered to be at knees level or lower. Subsequently, the depth can be increased, however, there’s a certain amount of limitation which goes along with our genetics. The best option here would be to check your ability with the special test method which will give the comprehensive and detailed information and help to discover your best angles and positions.
The hip-scour test is a quite basic procedure taken from the orthopedic repository and can be helpful for our purposes. It helps to determine your optimal squat position by passively adducting the hips with the help of your friend, the trainer or what’s better, the physiologist. After you reach your deepest and comfy position, you should measure your hip-torso angle and the distances between the heels and the knees. Record and save it as your starting point for your further examination. Do not jump into the full weighted squats in a moment. Remember you should go step by step. Begin with no load and start to add weight gradually, trying to remain your spine neutral. This procedure will help to know your real capabilities for the full squats.
The recent study showed that the implication of full range squats in conjunction with partial squats results in a greater strength and power outcome. The study has checked two groups of trainees for seven weeks. The first group with 6 sets of FROM squats only and the second with 3 sets of FROM and 3 sets of PROM squats, performed twice a week. By the end of the study the second group showed the increase of maxes in both partial and full range squats compared to the first, combined group. For full squats, we have 8.2% against 5.1% and for partials 14.9% against the 10.2%. Take this numbers to your advantage and do these combined variations.
So, to conclude everything above, I would recommend to settle down with what you are capable of. Consider this with your goals, and put foregoing together. If you have no restrains I would recommend to go with the full. Remember the weighted squats performed correctly have one of the most anabolic responses there. So, it is certainly a good idea to devote your time, mind and effort to this essential exercise.