Is squatting deep bad for you?

A Sports Med 2013 study by Hartmann, Wirth & Klusemann found that squatting deep is not bad for the body.

Contrary to commonly voiced concern, deep squats do not contribute increased risk of injury to passive tissues.

They looked specifically at increased risk of injury in the lumber spine & knee joints when comparing half/quarter squats with deep squats. They reviewed over 164 articles between March 2011 & January 2013, on the matter.

Findings of interest:

  • The highest retropatellar compressive forces and stresses can be seen at 90°
  • The body structure adapts to the loads being placed on it. A reason for lack of injury is that the tendons & ligaments, much like the muscle mass adapt to the stresses of squatting.
  • They found no increases in the risks of chondromalacia, osteoarthritis, and osteochondritis due to deep squats
  • Provided technique was performed properly, there was no change in injury risk when compared with quarter, half or deep squats
  • Performing quarter, half or deep squats with more weight than you can safely handle leads to an increased degenerative risks in the long run

Surprise takeaway:

Given that there is no increased injury risk from deep squats when compared with half & quarter squats. It would be safe to also conclude that performing half & quarter squats won’t lead to an increase in injury risk either. Since injury rates across the three types of squats were all similar. Which as sad as it is to admit and means that half & quarter squats only increases your risk of being fun of on the internet.

Actual takeaway:

The study goes to show that certain movement patterns don’t have a direct link with injuries. When somebody says, this movement pattern will definitely result in this injury, the claim is probably not backed by research backed evidence and is a sign of poor knowledge about human biomechanics.

The human body is quite a sturdy organism and is adapts very well to adverse conditions. Don’t let the nocebo affect actual injury and pain outcomes of productive training.

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