Is It Safe to Squat Deep?

Squatting past 90 degrees is bad for your knees right?? For the large majority of people, this is completely FALSE. Let’s take a look at each structure:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). Forces on the ACL actually peak at partial squat depths and then reduce as squat depth increases and compressive forces increase to reduce shear force on the ACL. So in essence squatting >90 degrees is  safe for your ACL.


  • What about the meniscus and the patellofemoral joint (PFJ- joint between your knee cap and your femur)? While compressive forces on the meniscus and PFJ increase as depth increases, if you don’t have any prior injury to these structures there is no evidence that squatting deep will cause injury to these structures. However, if you do have a meniscal tear or PFJ pain, it is advised  to limit your depth to pain-free ranges, and most of the time this will be above parallel.


  • What about those persons with patellar tendon issues? As squat depth increases, the compressive load on the patellar tendon also increases. This can certainly aggravate the tendon and so it is advised to modify your squat depth with in a pain-free range during your rehabilitation period.


Other structures which can become aggravated during a deep squat are the hips in Femoroacetabular Impingement and increased pressure of the Intervertebral discs in your lower back.


Credits go to Timothy Rowland at Physio Network for keeping us up to date with the latest research.