The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Accipiter's Avatar
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    Just wondering. I can swuat (i did it again...) 315 and go to about 1.5" above parrallel, or ass to the floor I can do circa 200. just wondering how low to go.

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  3. #2
    Push powerlifting heathj's Avatar
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    Depends...If you are an Olympic Lifter or a PowerLifter

    Mainly I try and I'm sure most go to parallel.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Anthony's Avatar
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    Top of hip below top of knee is considered "legal" depth. That's usually what I use for my sets, but for warm ups I go as low as I can.
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  5. #4
    Wannabebig Member PeteO's Avatar
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    I do both front and back squats ass to the grass, just feels natural to me. but then i cant squat 315 yet, but i do both front and back at 205 for reps ass to grass.

  6. #5
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    I believe that for mechanical reasons squats to parallel are the best way to go. I will explain if anyone wonders what I mean by "mechanical reasons".

  7. #6
    Wannabebig Member PeteO's Avatar
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    yes please explain.....

  8. #7
    Push powerlifting heathj's Avatar
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    I assume what he means by mechanical is the starting point. The base of what you will be doing. Using baseball as an example, cause I heard mechanics used so often when I played. You want to get down the mechanics of the sport down before you do anything fancy or different. Such as in baseball, you want to get throwing, catching and hitting down before you start diving and all that fancy stuff down. The mechanics. So if I am correct in my assumption, I think Chris means for mechanical reasons...being correct form and form most beneficial for a starting point before you try to go ass to the floor and possibly injure yourself. Am I correct Chris?

  9. #8
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    The primary sticking point in the squat is just below parallel. If you train with squats that go below parallel, you will fail due to the sticking point way before your quads, hams, and glutes are properly exhausted. Contrary to popular opinion, your hams and glutes do get a good workout even if you do not go below parallel. The bottom line is that you can train your lower body harder by not going below parallel. Full range of motion is an important concept not to be ignored, I think that one should include other exercises in their leg routine which will allow them to take the quads and hams through a full range of motion and keep the squats to parallel.

  10. #9
    Wannabebig Member PeteO's Avatar
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    gotcha, makes sence, i used to go to parallel but I have grown more and added more weight by going full, but I guess i would have grown and added weight eventually anyway i do (did) them. maybe i'll switch my back squats to parallel but keep the front squats at full.

  11. #10
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Sounds like an excellent idea.

  12. #11
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    Chris said,
    The primary sticking point in the squat is just below parallel. If you train with squats that go below parallel, you will fail due to the sticking point way before your quads, hams, and glutes are properly exhausted.

    *** So then what would be the primary muscle/s that are responsible for this failure?

    Contrary to popular opinion, your hams and glutes do get a good workout even if you do not go below parallel.
    The bottom line is that you can train your lower body harder by not going below parallel. Full range of motion is an important concept not to be ignored, I think that one should include other exercises in their leg routine which will allow them to take the quads and hams through a full range of motion and keep the squats to parallel.

    *** If I just went to parallel I would be squatting 400 plus pounds. I squat azz to the ground then go home.

    My own opinion on this is do what is comfortable to you, each individual is biomechanically different. The sticking point will vary depending on your style as well as how your nervous system coordinates the movements of the muscles groups involved in the lift.
    Last edited by Maki Riddington; 07-03-2001 at 06:59 PM.
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  13. #12
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    The muscles are not failing Mac, that is the point. You fail in the exercise because the sticking point is a point in the movement where your muscles are working from a poor mechanical vantage point, shi*ty leverage in other words.

  14. #13
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    Chris, I'm confused. Why do you recommend not benefitting from the effects of pushing through the sticking point on squats, when I'm sure you wouldn't recommend the same for curls, bench, chins, etc. Personally, I find the sticking point of any exercise (where biomechanical factors make the bar the most difficult to move) as the most important part of any exercise. I recommend adjusting your form to make things more difficult, not easier.

  15. #14
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    Wouldn't a person's build have something to do with where the sticking point it/how far you have to go to really work the muscles involved?

    I'm thinking about the difference in distance/mechanics between a shorter person w/ relatively shorter limbs vs. a very tall person w/long limbs...

  16. #15
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    Yes, the sticking point will vary by individual, but for *most* it will be deeper than parallel.

    I, however, disagree with Chris, I think a full ROM is more important than where you 'stick'. Just my opinion though.

    Deep squats are certainly no more dangerous, etc.. which is the main reason you hear people say not to do them. Actually (and I wish I could find where I read this), I read that not squatting thru a full range of motion is actually MORE dangerous to your knees than using a full ROM. I'll check the mfw archives, I think that is where I read it.

    Anyway, it is my humble opinion that if your goal is to get big, squatting deeper is better than not.

    If your goal is to compete as a PLer, train to squat to a competitive depth.

    In my current PLing routine, I do most of my squatting to a competition depth, but I do do a couple of sets ATF, and a couple of sets of partials.

  17. #16
    Reborn hero Sinep's Avatar
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    I cannot imagine doing partial squats being more beneficial than full ROM ... I go down as long as it feels right.
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  18. #17
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    The sticking point in a squat is quite different than the sticking point in the other exercises mentioned because of the joints and muscles involved in the movement. I recommend a full range of motion in just about every other exercise. The sticking point in a curl has to do with the point in which the resistance is greatest in the movement. In a curl, at the point where the the upper and lower arm are at a 90 degree angle to each other, the resistance is in direct line with the force of gravity and therefore at its greatest. In a squat, the load is more or less always in direct line with the force of gravity, there is really no variance in the resistance. You fail in the squat because of poor leverage created by the angles of you bones, it's poor physics at its best. Do you see the difference? As a solution I have not mentioned in the other posts, I would recommend you perform one set to failure of parallel squats first, followed by a set of full depth squats to failure. This will maximize the principle I have mentioned and allow you to train the involved muscles with a full range of motion.

  19. #18
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    But if it's (the sticking point) simply a function of a leverage disadvantage, but is still engaging the same muscles, wouldn't it therefore require greater effort, and therefore create greater stimulation, to force the legs through the sticking point?

    I guess my question is that the same weight is forcing you to exert greater effort at a given point, so why would this ever be something to avoid.... Stimulation is stimulation as far as this particular scenario goes, no? Muscles that fail under poor leverage conditions are nevertheless failing due to insufficient strength, correct?
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  20. #19
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Man! You guys are wearing me out! Ok, let's ponder this. Let us say that at the sticking point in a squat the involved muscles are capable of generating 300 lbs of force (fresh strength). You are performing the squat with 240 lbs. On the the 2nd rep your muscles can still generate 290 lbs of force. Now, at the sticking point, due to poor leverage, the amount of force required to get through it is 280 lbs (this is for example purposes only). You proceed with the 3rd rep, what happens? You get stuck. The muscles, now able to generate 280 lbs of force can no longer generate more force than is required to get past the sticking point. So, you have failed on the exercise, but the involved muscles, due to the poor leverage at the sticking point in the squat, have not been worked to anywhere near their potential, you failed because of poor leverage, not because the involved muscles could not generate enough force move the load (remember the load was 240 lbs). There is a lot of juice left in those quads, glutes etc. Get it? You have not induced muscle fatigue, and therfore have not worked the muscle to anywhere near its full capacity.

  21. #20
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    hehe. Sorry to keep plugging away.

    I understand what you're saying, but what I was getting at is that the figure of "280 pounds" you mention...that's not absolute force of muscle contraction; that's the combined force that a certain set of muscles are capable of producing to perform a certain action (squats) in a certain mechanical situation (i.e., a given point in the exercise).

    My question was: would changing the mechanical situation to make the exercise less advantageous (i.e., worse leverage) actually prevent overload? Or does the fact that say, you can only pull 250 through the sticking point mean that the muscles are nevertheless being stimulated to failure (or stimulated adequately), but simply by less weight, due to a modification of the mechanical parameters?

    Here's what i THINK you're saying, though: You mention there is a lot of juice left in the quads, etc.... You're basically comparing it to some guy trying to lift more than he's capable of: no overload is induced because he's simply not able to move the weight.....right?

    Okay, that sounded like a big load of bullsh*t, but it sorta makes sense. lol.
    Last edited by Alex.V; 07-04-2001 at 05:27 PM.
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  22. #21
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    How about this, a sticking point in ANY exercise is a bad thing because it causes you to have to quit exercising prematurely. Now, almost all barbell or dumbell exercises have a sticking point, but the sticking point in the squat is particularly bad for the reasons mentioned a few posts ago. Sticking points cause a trainee to fail in an exercise before fatigue for the involved muscles has occured. This limits the stimulation involved in the movement.

  23. #22
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    I think the point that Chris is trying to make about leverage vs. force could be compared to this example:

    Take a large door that swings open by pushing, like the entry to a store or hotel door...the hinge is the only thing that moves (no latch or deadbolt).

    If you push on the door at the opposite side of the door from the hinge, the door opens easily with say 15 lbs. of force.

    If you try to push on the door near the hinges, you cannot open the door. It would now take MUCH more force to open the door because you have limited leverage.

    If you pick a spot somewhere in the middle, you can open the door, but you have to push a lot harder than in the first scenario. This "perfect spot" that provides a challenge is different for different people, depending on their "hinges" or joints and their bodies as well as level of training.

    If I could just draw a free-body/force diagram, this would all be so much easier Where's the "picture worth a 1000 words" when you need it???

  24. #23
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Ok, how about this, muscle fatigue is a necessary component of growth and strength increases. If you are forced to "fail" in an exercise because of poor leverage as opposed to muscle fatigue, you have short changed your workout.

  25. #24
    Reborn hero Sinep's Avatar
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    How about this, a sticking point in ANY exercise is a bad thing because it causes you to have to quit exercising prematurely
    Well, that's why there's spotters, and even if you don't have any spotter, nothing stop you from squatting full depth until you don't have the strenght for another full rep... you finish yourself off with partial over parallel reps. Make sense?
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  26. #25
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    That works very well if you can judge exactly when you have completed the last full rep you can get.

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