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Old 05-16-2007, 01:44 PM   #1
Matt Thomas
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So I'm in the gym today trying to do squats. I learned to squat from a coach that teaches O-lifts, and I like to hang around here, so naturally I like to squat as deep as I can. Well there's this old guy in a smith machine next to me staring at me. After I finish my set he starts talking to me.

Old guy: Do you know what your meniscus is?

Me: *ugh. Here it comes. Why can't you just leave me alone* "Yes. It's in your knee."

Old guy: "You know that if you squat anywhere below 90 degrees you'll tear it. And once it's gone you can't fix it!"

Me: *why me?* "Really? You know I've actually read before that stopping at 90 can cause a lot of extra torque on your knees and doing full squats is actually safer."

Old guy: "Well...you do what you want, but I've never read one anatomical or physiological study that points to squating above 90 to be dangerous But being in the rehab field I've seen it too many times where guys have torn their meniscus squatting deep. You keep doing that and you WILL tear it! And once it's torn that's it. It can't be fixed!!"

Me: *what a ! probably doesn't even do squats!! what about olympic lifters? they squat full! i've seen o-lifters in their 60s that are still healthy and flexible!!!* "Okay thanks"

And then I finished my sets (full). Now the stuff in between the stars is what I was thinking and the stuff in between the quotes is what I actually said. There was a lot of points I would have brought up to him but 1) I just wanted to finish my workout and 2) While I actually have read information about full squats being better on the knees I didn't retain enough of the information in them to back up my points to this guy. I never really bothered to remember the specifics because I believe in deep squatting and I don't really need to convince myself that it's good. Now, however, I want to know specifics. Can anyone point me to some good studies that you know of that show why stopping at parallel while squatting is a bad idea? Or why doing full squats is a good idea?
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Old 05-16-2007, 02:29 PM   #2
Patrick Donnelly
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http://www.crossfit.com/discus/messages/22/41354.html
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Old 05-16-2007, 04:05 PM   #3
Joe Beman
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I tore my meniscus doing hindu squats, going way past parallel and leaning forward. But I think what got me was coming down hard and bouncing for many many reps. I guess that was dumb.

Oh, the old guy said you can't fix it? I had my torn meniscus scoped and trimmed and was running a month later. That was a 14 months ago and since then I've run in multiple races (trail and road, 5k to 1/2 marathon) and an offroad triathlon and do martial arts. The knee hasn't given me a moments trouble.

Curious, how old does someone have to be before you consider him and "old guy"? :g::lol:
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Old 05-19-2007, 08:46 PM   #4
Mike Griffith
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I have a torn meniscus right now. I did it on a leg day where I did deep squats, deep leg presses, deep hack squats. I think it happened during the hack squats.

If you do a Google search there is information from multiple areas that indicate that you can tear the meniscus when full squatting.

I am not saying not to do full squats, this is just an FYI
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Old 05-20-2007, 12:38 AM   #5
Wayne Nelson
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There is a lot of even more recent stuff that supports this review. I am currently reviewing the liturature on the squat and will let the board know what comes out of it soon.

124: Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Jan;33(1):127-41.

Knee biomechanics of the dynamic squat exercise.

Escamilla RF.

Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Laboratory, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA. rescamil@duke.edu

PURPOSE: Because a strong and stable knee is paramount to an athlete's or patient's success, an understanding of knee biomechanics while performing the squat is helpful to therapists, trainers, sports medicine physicians, researchers, coaches, and athletes who are interested in closed kinetic chain exercises, knee rehabilitation, and training for sport. The purpose of this review was to examine knee biomechanics during the dynamic squat exercise. METHODS: Tibiofemoral shear and compressive forces, patellofemoral compressive force, knee muscle activity, and knee stability were reviewed and discussed relative to athletic performance, injury potential, and rehabilitation. RESULTS: Low to moderate posterior shear forces, restrained primarily by the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), were generated throughout the squat for all knee flexion angles. Low anterior shear forces, restrained primarily by the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), were generated between 0 and 60 degrees knee flexion. Patellofemoral compressive forces and tibiofemoral compressive and shear forces progressively increased as the knees flexed and decreased as the knees extended, reaching peak values near maximum knee flexion. Hence, training the squat in the functional range between 0 and 50 degrees knee flexion may be appropriate for many knee rehabilitation patients, because knee forces were minimum in the functional range. Quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius activity generally increased as knee flexion increased, which supports athletes with healthy knees performing the parallel squat (thighs parallel to ground at maximum knee flexion) between 0 and 100 degrees knee flexion. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the parallel squat was not injurious to the healthy knee. CONCLUSIONS: The squat was shown to be an effective exercise to employ during cruciate ligament or patellofemoral rehabilitation. For athletes with healthy knees, performing the parallel squat is recommended over the deep squat, because injury potential to the menisci and cruciate and collateral ligaments may increase with the deep squat. The squat does not compromise knee stability, and can enhance stability if performed correctly. Finally, the squat can be effective in developing hip, knee, and ankle musculature, because moderate to high quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius activity were produced during the squat.

Publication Types: Review

PMID: 11194098 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Old 05-20-2007, 07:25 AM   #6
Brad Davis
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Thanks for the post Wayne.

I don't know the answer, but it's worth noting that nobody has a monopoly on being right all the time. We should not be fast to dismiss all information that doesn't line up perfectly with our current ideas.
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Old 05-21-2007, 01:06 AM   #7
Veronica Carpenter
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My ex-husband tore his meniscus without ever squatting. He was an obese recreational volleyball player. :crutch00:
I'd rather tear my meniscus doing something to stay fit and strong :showoff: than to tear it because my body was just weak.
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:42 AM   #8
Garrett Smith
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Mike,
I would guess that you're right about tearing it on the deep hack squats, especially if you were allowing your heels to rise off the platform. The shearing force in the knee on a hack squat (which is bad enough) is compounded by the fact that the back pad doesn't allow the hips to change position.

I hope your rehab went well and it hasn't soured you on deep squats of the proper/functional type.
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Old 05-21-2007, 09:33 AM   #9
Becca Borawski
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I know dozens of people that have meniscus damage from jiujitsu. Guess nobody should do that either.

My knees feel more stable and healthier since I've started CrossFit and therefore been doing full squats, deadlifts, etc.
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Old 05-21-2007, 12:03 PM   #10
Connie Morreale
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great post, brad
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