Ass to grass here
Robolics Labs Intelligence
Do you squat ass to grass?
Squats are one of the most common & best compound leg exercises there is. It involves the majority of your major muscles; the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus, back and abdominal muscles. Studies have looked into the squat extensively to get insight on correct form, injury-risk and stability. Proper squat technique is important! In this post, we’re focusing on how to maximize the benefit from the squat exercise, while reducing the risk of injury.
Several studies suggest that peak activity of quadriceps, hamstrings and gastrocnemius are all around or below 90 degrees of flexion and do not increase beyond parallel of flexion. The only muscles that benefit from flexion below 90 degrees are the gluteal muscles. However, there are several better exercises for you glutes (thrusts!).
Deeper squats do however seem to lead to more muscle growth, even if absolut weight is reduced when squatting deep.
Even if compression forces of cartilage and menisci increase in the deep squat, there are no studies that shown increased injury risk. Two independent authors also point out stress on knee ligaments and knee stability, but once again no actual studies to show that knee injury increases. The spine is also subjected to significantly higher forces during deep squats, so if you feel pain, consider going to parallel.
This is why you need to be comfortable with your movements when attempting to deep squat. It's most certainly not a must, especially if your sport does not require such movement. Our recommendation would therefore be to start with parallel squat, and transition to the ass to grass squat once you've developed the proper mobility. Some people may have a very hard time reaching this mobility for anatomical reasons. .
Alternatively, do light weight deep squats to increase mobility and gradually move up.
1. Escamilla RF. Knee biomechanics of the dynamic squat exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Jan;33(1):127-41.
2. Cordova ML. Considerations in lower extremity closed kinetic chain exercise: A clinical perspective. Athl Ther Today 6: 46–50, 2001.
3. Wallace DA, Salem GJ