Deep squats, with extra weight or without, is one of the most important exercises. There seems to be a confusion among trainers and trainees as to whether deep squats should be performed throughout the knee range of motion or to halfway (semi squats), or even not at all and instead of doing this exercise, preferring a similar exercise such as leg press. The reason is that there is a believe in many that deep squats will destroy your knees or the lower back.
I do not agree.
Although there are certainly some instances where deep squats are not appropriate, nevertheless in the majority of cases this exercise offers significant benefits:
1. First of all my believe is that by going through the full range of motion (ROM) of the joint, the muscles involved are performing better.
2. During the exercise, the majority of the leg muscles, especially the glutes and quads, are involved. Surely you have noticed the well-formed glutes of athletes specially bodybuilders, sprinters or weightlifters. It is due to the fact that they have included deep squats in their wourkout routine.
3. This exercise will offer greater stability when walking, running, or in any other sports activity.
4. Deep squats, if the exercise is executed properly, will significantly strengthen your thighs, which will protect your knees from injuries.
5. It will increase the stability of the knee joint and will give you a greater flexibility of the ankle joint.
6. Deep squats will also strengthen your lower back muscles, which also will reduces chances of getting lower back pain.
7. Athletes performing deep squats will increase the ability of vertical jump and will significantly improve running power as well as their running start and acceleration.
8. Interestingly, especially for athletes, its a fact that the deep squats, compared to the leg press, will cause a higher increase in testosterone and growth hormone secretion, (if the workout is performed properly related to intesity and rest between sets and reps).
Watch out for:
As with any exercise, proper learning and execution is a basic principle in order to enjoy the benefits from implementing the exercise in your workout regime. Also, progressive workload intensity and volume (sets, repetitions, rest) is the safe way to go without unwanted injuries.