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Imageshows two things: the difference between half squat and full squat, and terrible form in the second image
Squats (and deadlifts) are the two most functional muscular exercises. The former is getting up, and the latter is picking up stuff.
Squats are known as "The King of Exercises" because so many muscle groups are stressed. They are also said to be beneficial for knee joints.
Squats come in many forms: the basic barbell back squat (a power lift), and calisthenics like body-weight squats, squat-and press, side squats, squat jumps, heavy ball wall throws, etc.
After we did 3 sets of jumping squats and 3 sets of body weight squat-and-holds this morning in 6 AM class I have been thinking about how to deepen my barbell squats. With body-weight or hand weights, I can do full squats easily, but with heavier weight I do not go below 45 degrees. It's partly confidence and partly weakness.
To do full squats with barbell weights (instead of half-squats, 45 degrees) I think I need to reset my barbell squat program with the plain bar (45 lbs) or light weights and to try to work up quickly from there. I'm convinced that the full squat is the real deal.
As a general rule, if the bar is so heavy that you cannot squat below parallel with it and stand back up, it’s too heavy to have on your back.
What about you?
Below the fold, image depicting all of the muscles engaged in a full squat. She's using dumbells, but it is not as if gals cannot do barbell squats. They sure can, and using the bar makes it more reliable to keep a chest-up posture. On the other hand, dumbell squats get you low if you touch the dumbells to the ground...but on the third hand, barbell back squats let you squat with more weight than your grip is strong.
Her form is basically the same as using the hex or trap bar. I think it’s far safer using the hex bar than the traditional squat or deadlift on my 50 year old back.
The so called correct squat is a high bar squat the second is a low bar squat. The first quad dominate the second is hip dominate. The first requires a great deal of ankle mobility or lifting shoes. Notice the distance the knees are in front to the toes. Most trainers discourage the knees going that far forward in front of the toes. The other picture is closer to the supposed bad form - notice the back angle and the hip crease.
The first picture is a high bar squat. The second is a high bar squat attempting to use low bar form, thus the bar is over the front of the foot and unbalanced. If the bar in the 2nd photo was in the proper position then it would be correct.
I perform low bar squats below parallel. Very tough but after 18 months of form issues I'm finally starting to see results.
Like Adam, I've been using the low-bar squat as taught by Rippetoe, although for not as long (about 9 weeks in Oct - Nov during which time I got up to 175 lbs, then after a long holiday and laziness layoff, back at it since early Feb and back up to 110 lbs this week). Just turned 56 (weight currently ~155). My goal is to get to around 225 by the end of the year by adding some weight every session - right now that's 5 lbs 3 times over the course of 2 weeks, but I'll cut that in half soon I think, to keep form from falling apart.
I prefer the Rippetoe method because of all the variations I've looked at, it's the most natural, i.e., based on how the human body is constructed and moves, and in my opinion is therefore the "safest" method.
Good for you. I started the Rippetoe stuff a few years ago. I'm 52 now and at least once a week I do squats for real. I find that around 275 is about the upper limit for my knees but a few sets there gives me a pretty good muscle burn for a few days.