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#1
Old 12-24-2012, 10:18 PM
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Barbell squats to a bench--good or bad?

I have recently added barbell squats to my routine, and started paying more attention to what other folks are doing. I have seen three different guys squat down to a seated position onto a bench then get back up again. This strikes me as a bad idea, because it throws your center of gravity behind your feet and seems like there is a potential for back strain just as you begin the rise from seated, and you are not doing a full stretch of the glutes. There is also tendency to drop the last few inches instead of controlling the weight all the way down.

Are there trainers who teach this method? What is proper form?
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#2
Old 12-24-2012, 10:39 PM
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It's primarily a form reminder. You don't put weight on your butt, you just tap the bench.
#3
Old 12-24-2012, 10:45 PM
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I remember reading about this technique for people with bad knees. It helps keep you from going over 90 degrees on the knees.

I'm not sure how accurate it is. Although I have really bad knees, I never tried actually doing this.

-D/a
#4
Old 12-25-2012, 12:39 AM
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You're not supposed to go past parallel with your thighs to protect your knees. This is a form reminder. Also it acts as a spotter of sorts.
#5
Old 12-25-2012, 05:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital is the new Analog View Post
It helps keep you from going over 90 degrees on the knees.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlainJain View Post
You're not supposed to go past parallel with your thighs to protect your knees. This is a form reminder. Also it acts as a spotter of sorts.
The ones I've seen are coming to a full rest on the bench. So it sounds like they are not using proper form.

Also, the form I've seen (and read about here) is to go down until the thighs are parallel to the floor, which definitely goes past a 90-degree knee angle.
#6
Old 12-25-2012, 09:46 AM
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Moved to the Game Room.

Colibri
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#7
Old 12-25-2012, 11:09 AM
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They might be doing box squats, or they might just be doing useless crap. Hard to tell without seeing them.
#8
Old 12-25-2012, 01:31 PM
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I vote useless crap. Coming to a full rest on a bench would put your center of gravity too far behind you.
#9
Old 12-25-2012, 02:07 PM
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The concept behind "bench-squats" is similar to that of squat-racks in that you are only able to take the weight down so far before you are stopped by the bench. It is a safety and form precaution and it is NOT meant to be used to come down to a full-seated position.
#10
Old 12-26-2012, 09:45 AM
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Moving over to IMHO.
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultrafilter View Post
They might be doing box squats, or they might just be doing useless crap. Hard to tell without seeing them.
I came in here to say this. It's supposed to teach the person to 'sit back' and to squat to depth. It's useful for low bar back squatting (notice the position of the bar on her delts) since if you are too far forward it's hard to break parallel.
#12
Old 12-26-2012, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital is the new Analog View Post
I remember reading about this technique for people with bad knees. It helps keep you from going over 90 degrees on the knees.
My PT recommended bench squats for just this reason. It does tend to give me slightly more than 90, but it's far better for my knees than going all the way down. +1 on the butt bump on the bench, not actually resting your weight there.
#13
Old 12-26-2012, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
The ones I've seen are coming to a full rest on the bench. So it sounds like they are not using proper form.

Also, the form I've seen (and read about here) is to go down until the thighs are parallel to the floor, which definitely goes past a 90-degree knee angle.
I think this is a bit unclear; here's the definition of parallel from USA Powerlifting: (I suggest going to the site to look at the pictures)

Quote:
As stated in the rulebook the top surface of the leg at the hip joint must descend until it is below the top of the knees. In the Diagram A this represents a just legal squat as shown by the red line, the top surface of the leg (at the hip) is just at/below the top of the knees. Diagram B illustrates what the top surface of the leg at the hip is. It is not the hip joint itself which would have to be gauged as to its actual location.
Rippletoe and others, IIRC, recommend deep squatting for proper knee health and to prevent muscle imbalances - the idea of stopping at parallel to protect knee health seems to be bunk:

This link has reference to research:

Quote:
The researchers found that "...peak knee extensor moment, patellofemoral joint reaction force and patellofemoral joint stress did not vary significantly between the three squatting trials..." There was no support for the idea that squatting below parallel increased stress on the patellofemoral joint.
Some other information:
From ExRx:

Quote:
Full (Deep) Squat

Kreighbaum (1996) illustrates the safe position of a deep squat with the knees extending beyond the toes. Kreighbaum explains how a deep squat can be performed little chance of injury to the knee. The variables of concern:

speed of descent
size of calves and thighs
strength of the controlling muscles

The primary danger to the knee occurs when the tissues of the calf and thigh press together altering the center of rotation back to the contact area creating a dislocation effect. The danger of knee injury in this situation may be prevented if either of the following factor are present:

center of gravity of the body system is kept forward of the altered center of rotation
muscles of the thigh are strong enough to prevent the body from resting or bouncing on the calves.

Kreighbaum concludes the deep squat is of little danger to the knees unless these variables and factors are disregarded. Certainly only a limit type of athletes and performers may have a the need to perform a full squat. Olympic weightlifters commonly bounce out of a full front squat with near maximum resistances during both the Clean & Jerk and Snatch. Incidentally, the wide stance during an Olympic-style squat further reduces knee torque forces. Reportedly, those proficient in the Polzunec movement in the style of the Ukrainian national folk dance appear to experience few orthopedic problems (up until middle ages where their incident of orthopedic problems seem to be no greater than the general population) despite their ability to perform a seemingly contraindicative movement for decades; body upright, bounding from one leg to the other in the deepest squat position. Also see Over Generalizations.

During the lower portions of the deep squat the lower back may flex if hip flexibility is inadequate. The risk of low back injury is increased if the muscles of the lower back are not strong enough to support the flexed spine or the joint structures have not progressively adapted to such a stress. Flexibility exercises can be performed if hip flexibility is insufficient for deep, or full, squats. See Full Squat Flexibility and Deep Squat Test.
+

Quote:
The squat can decrease knee injury (NSCA) and increase leg power (Adams, 1992) when implemented into a sound strength and condition program. Early in the off season, squat training will develop the foundation for more sports specific training, such as plyometric work. See Conditioning Work recommendations.
Squat Myths:

Quote:
Squatting below parallel has the additional benefit of significantly increased activation of the gluteal muscles. The deeper you squat, the greater the glute activation. Whether you’re seeking to improve your performance or your appearance, you’re not doing yourself any favors by leaving the glutes out of the picture.
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