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Old 10-24-06, 12:50 PM   #1
HillMut
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Squats , form question.

I've been doing my squats down to a 90 degree bend in my knees. Last night a trainer at the gym I go to told me that it should be closer to 45 degrees, he said when you go past 45 certian muscles in your leg get a chance to relax. My reasoning behind the 90 degree bend is that the motion is closer to cycling. Anyone have some input?
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Old 10-24-06, 01:01 PM   #2
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Most research and experts say that going to 90 gives you the full benefit with reduced chance of injury.

I know, personally, that going further makes my legs more sore the next day and makes the squats hurt a lot more. These may or may not mean that I'm getting a better workout or that my cycling will improve any more.

Do I still go beyond 90? hell yeah, quite often, but I am far from convinced that it is a good idea
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Old 10-24-06, 03:35 PM   #3
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sqauting as low as you can is best for athletes. not sure about cycling specificaly, but full sqauts will give you the most usable strength and work more muscle groups.

as long as you are doing them correctly you will not injure yourself.
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Old 10-25-06, 10:43 AM   #4
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My reasoning behind the 90 degree bend is that the motion is closer to cycling
Sounds like a good way to blow out your knees. How do you figure a 90 degree bend is like cycling? My knees never get anywhere near 90 degrees. Well, on a BMX bike maybe.

Also, the forces on your knees during cycling pales in comparison to doing squats with weights. Just think of the thousands of pedal strokes you can do. Can you do 50,000 squats at a time? I don't think so.
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Old 10-25-06, 11:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by slowandsteady
Sounds like a good way to blow out your knees. How do you figure a 90 degree bend is like cycling? My knees never get anywhere near 90 degrees. Well, on a BMX bike maybe.

Also, the forces on your knees during cycling pales in comparison to doing squats with weights. Just think of the thousands of pedal strokes you can do. Can you do 50,000 squats at a time? I don't think so.
I just went back and sat on my bike, knees go past 90 before the top of the pedal stroke. As far as more stress than cycling puts on your legs, that is the point of lifting weights, right?
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Old 10-25-06, 12:33 PM   #6
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I just went back and sat on my bike, knees go past 90 before the top of the pedal stroke. As far as more stress than cycling puts on your legs, that is the point of lifting weights, right?
Your seat is too low.

Weight lifting stresses the muscles. It isn't supposed to stress your joints. There is a difference.
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Old 10-25-06, 01:11 PM   #7
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Maybe my bike isn't the right size for me (I bought it used and have never had a propper fitting), but it seems right. I have my seat possitioned to give me a slight bend at the knees at the bottom of the pedal stroke... if I raised my seat more I would hardly be able to reach the pedals. Does that mean my frame is too small?
I don't feel any pain in my joints from doing squats to 90, the legs feel it though.
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Old 10-25-06, 01:38 PM   #8
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After some searching around on the net, every source I found said to squat till your thighs are parallel with the floor, or beyond, for maximum benefits. None were cycling specific though.
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Old 10-25-06, 04:29 PM   #9
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slowandsteady;

Do some research on the web, common practice for 'serious' lifters is to go past 90 degrees. No worry about blowing out knees, but proper form is paramount-
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Old 10-25-06, 07:54 PM   #10
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I've been a serious lifter all my life. Injury to your knees while squatting has less to do with the amount you bend and everything to do with proper form. There are many different factors that can cause injury to knees or back. You may not have your weight centered correctly over your feet, you may not be squeezing you abs thoroughout the entire excercise, you may be looking at the floor while you squat, you may be breathing incorrectly, etc. You should bend your knees as far as you can 'comfortably' do so. What does this mean? If it feels uncomfortable when you squat to 90 degrees, then don't. If you feel comfortable going past 90, then go ahead. Flexibility can be worked at, but alot of it is genetic. I am 6 foot, and top 200 lbs, but I can do a full split and am flexible all over. I was born that way, and because of it, all my lifting movements tend to go further than what most would consider safe or comfortable, yet it is correct and safe for me. If you have any doubts, find a good trainer to help you with your squat technique.
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Old 10-26-06, 02:55 AM   #11
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People who have knee problems usually squat incorrectly. I have been squatting for years and routinely go do to 12 to 14 inches off the ground. To learn to squat properly I usually have people do Box Squats. Doing Box Squats and making my stance wider has taken my squat from 225 to 300. At 52 years old, I was happy with the progress. Check out Box Squats :

http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....=body_120squat
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Old 10-26-06, 04:30 AM   #12
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ass to ankles with good form and a manageable amount of weight is what I try to do :-P

At my gym, I often see people going way too heavy (for their abilities). Why go heavy if you can't handle the weight and do the exercise properly?



if the animation doesn't show up, you can see it on this page http://www.exrx.net/AnimatedEx/Quadr...BFullSquat.gif
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Old 10-27-06, 02:21 PM   #13
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slowandsteady;

Do some research on the web, common practice for 'serious' lifters is to go past 90 degrees. No worry about blowing out knees, but proper form is paramount-
And I guess that is the problem. As much as it is common practice to go past 90 degrees, it is also common practice to lift too much weight(macho factor) with the wrong form.
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Old 10-30-06, 05:50 AM   #14
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The squat is considered by many to be the 'King' of lower body exercises, and with good reason. Done correctly the squat is arguably the most offective exercise you can do. Done incorrectly, it WILL cause serious damage, especially to knees and lower back. If you are a novice at training with weights, then find a reputable personal trainer to show you proper technique before you try to squat again. After all, you want to still be squatting at sixty (Not sure of your age, sorry) not hobbling along with a walking stick. But whatever you do, don't be scared of squatting, just make sure you do it with correct technique, and do what is comfortable for you, and leave the ego lifts for the muppets.
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Old 10-31-06, 06:06 PM   #15
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In response to your question: I am an ACE certified personal trainer and former powerlifter with a best squat (to a depth that is deeper than 90 degrees) of 585lbs. I squated between 1 and 2 times per week with a weekly squat volume of between 5,000 and 8,000 lbs. total. I actually had less knee pain as i got stronger! I could never have done this if i had not discovered the box squat and the technique that accompanies it. Follow the link that was listed above or go to Elitefts.com and search for it. The box squat is not the end all in the world of squatting, but it is a great teaching tool. In my experience, most people squat with terrible form, because they have never been taught to squat properly...unless your high school gym class had powerlifting as an elective.
Until i learned good form i could never squat more than 300lbs and that was accompanied by massive knee sorness. Find someone who knows their stuff and get some help. once you learn to squat properly, you will reap the rewards of possibly the best weight room exercise. By the way, 90 degrees should be fine for most healthy adults with propper form. for most people this means a box hight of around 14-16 inches (but only after you get comfortable with the box squat technique). You will know if you are squatting propperly when your hamstrings lower back (spinal erectors) and glutes feel sore and tired as squatting propperly will activate these muscles majorly (and the quads will feel less lactic acid soreness).
Not like us cyclists need more muscle imballances. so training the hammies and glutes is quite valuable. good luck, take it slow.
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Old 11-02-06, 06:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillMut
I've been doing my squats down to a 90 degree bend in my knees. Last night a trainer at the gym I go to told me that it should be closer to 45 degrees, he said when you go past 45 certian muscles in your leg get a chance to relax. \

He's got no idea what he's talking about.

go here and search...


http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....6-168-training
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Old 11-02-06, 10:59 PM   #17
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A lot of you have the right ideas, but for the wrong reasons. Others have the wrong ideas and it is downright frightening.

The reason you never want to hit 90 degrees during your bend is because your are most susceptible to injury at that angle. Your knee is most flexible in all (360 degrees of) directions when it is at a 90 degree bend. The overwhelming load can easily cause a slight sway in your body movement (i.e. change in direction from a downward to upward motion), and your knee takes the blunt of the force at that angle.

The safest thing you can do is go slightly past 90 degrees, or not quite to 90 degrees. There are studies showing that going past 90 degrees is more beneficial to muscle and joint strength.

So get over the ego-testosterone trip of being able to squat 300+lbs. You'll be stuck there until you drop the weight and lift with good form.
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Old 11-02-06, 11:02 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JPradun
There are studies showing that going past 90 degrees is more beneficial to muscle and joint strength.

So get over the ego-testosterone trip of being able to squat 300+lbs. You'll be stuck there until you drop the weight and lift with good form.

good postage.

2 most salient points.
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Old 11-03-06, 12:06 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the input. I did start with very little weight to work only on form because I knew it can be a dangerous lift. I've been adding to the weight slowly since then. Sounds like I started with the right form, but I'm a newbie in the gym so I figured I'd ask .
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Old 11-03-06, 05:10 PM   #20
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What do you people think of holding the weight against the top of you chest instead of behind your head resting across your shoulders? I have read somewhere this keeps better form and reduces the chances of injury.
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Old 11-03-06, 07:26 PM   #21
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squats can do wonders given the range of muscles they work, however if you have ANY kind of knee injury or bad form they can be the most risky exercise to do, period.

I have a knee which was scoped a few years ago, I stupidly did some very light squats in the gym the other day and it looks like I will have to have it scoped again soon.

If you talk to any knee doc they will tell you not to do squats if you have had any knee injuries such as meniscus.
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Old 11-04-06, 01:14 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by !!Comatoa$ted
What do you people think of holding the weight against the top of you chest instead of behind your head resting across your shoulders? I have read somewhere this keeps better form and reduces the chances of injury.
Front squats should be used in combination with parallel squats. I usually alternate between parallel and front. Front is usually much harder and requires a lower weight-it's also safer to do if you do not have a partner. It took me a good month of lifting just to get good form without my shoulders hurting. There are two ways to hold the bar:

1) http://danjohn.org/frontsquat.html

2) http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/hardgainer12.htm

Hold it whichever way is more comfortable. Just make sure you go low enough to activate the VMO (vastus medialis obliquus-the big muscle right above your knee that makes people say, "Holy crap his legs are huge").
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Old 11-04-06, 01:51 PM   #23
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It is indeed scary the wide disparity in the amount and quality of information possessed by different individuals. Someone made the very good observation about muscle imbalance and it was quckly glossed over. Cycling is IMO already enough of a quad builder albeit a builder of the low resistance, high repetition variety. If a cyclist goes into the gym and his goal is not to be the next Ronnie Coleman but instead to prepare his body as best s/he can to improve as a cyclist then again IMO the best thing s/he could do is focus on the antagonist muscles i.e. the hamstrings and glutes as Idesfor said.

That said, I don't think it is the angle of the squat so much as the weight used and/or the speed with which one works up to a given weight that is the determinant in injury probability. I can imagine a scenario in which one could get hurt doing very shallow squats with too much weight while one could squat safely quite deep by using weights well within ones capability to manage.

There is however an excellent excercise called the Deadlift that the original poster might want to research and consider as the focus of their leg program.

H
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Old 11-04-06, 03:04 PM   #24
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Leisesturm, you used the common argument that "the best thing s/he could do is focus on the antagonist muscle".

If cycling develops mostly quad strength, then does it not require mostly quad strength? Why would one benefit most from working the muscles which are not the prime movers in the pedal stroke?

I'm not trying to say don't lift or don't do squats (I love them both, and think they both help my biking alot)
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Old 11-04-06, 05:04 PM   #25
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Lots of good general info here. I guess it really comes down to what your trying to achieve in a strength training program, which should be geared towards to things: cycling specific and weeknesses.

Im a BMX sprinter and it's all about pure strength as the limiting factor to power is strength. So we are in the gym year round working off the periodization theory of working specific phases from (hypertrophy) the offseason, all the way to the peak of our race season )maintenance of strength and power. I would strongly recommend figuring out your goals no matter what kind of rider and convey this to a personal trainer (look for sport specific ones) and you will get "fitted" but for strength training!


BTW, that guy you see handling 405 for 4 sets of 5 is me! The guy do 135 for sets of 20 is wasting his time (kidding). Everyone has their reasons....
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