Listen and listen good! Well, read good….
The squat has been covered on Faultless before in a couple of articles and promoted even further by my hyper vigilant self and my lustful relationship with the exercise.
I wouldn’t go as far as to call the squat a necessity in training but if I get wimpy excuses as to why clients are not squatting I will spit at their loved ones (metaphorically speaking). The squat promotes full body strength and coordination. You need the legs to drive the weight, you need the core strength to keep your chest up and your spine in the neutral position, you need a strong set of shoulders and upper back development to support the bar and if you decided to do some monstrous 20 rep breathing sets you need balls of steel and the mindset of an animal, or a really focused, genetically modified, squatting banana!
Despite the brilliance of the exercise it is also one of the 2 biggest culprits of my gym pet peeve. Poor form and more specifically poor range of motion. The other is the bench press!
Now obviously you can’t blame the squat for its participant’s lack of motion. But with this article we can hope to educate some lucky readers who will go on to squat deep and see benefits they didn’t see from popping up and down like a pogo stick in the rack of Gods.
So I think poor squat form is down to 3 main evils; rumours, ego and more ego! Let’s start by killing two birds with one stone (on a side note… what a stupid saying).
Ego and Ego again! Ego ruins a lot of gym users. It compromises good squatting technique because most people don’t know good squatting technique and this includes good depth. However, as many people, especially dudes, don’t like to ask for help they just crack on with no knowledge of safe or effective technique. They end up all over the place and moving the bar through less than a quarter of their required range of motion. The second part of the ego issue is the weight itself. Most guys who want to get started squatting know that people handle big ass weights and want to make sure they don’t lose face. So they load 4 plates a side then squat less than 4 inches, scream, rack the weight then celebrate. This irritates me more than a bout with venereal disease!
If you can’t get your hips below the level of your knee then you suck at that weight! Go back, drill full range of motion with lighter weights and work your ass off for that big lift. It will come. When I first completed a squat of 200kgs I almost wet my pants with excitement! I think I nearly passed out through sheer effort as well! But it is worth it; performing a squat with a new weight tells you that your legs, your core and your coordination must have all improved to drive that load out of the hole and into your victory stance.
Don’t let ego decide your weight or stop you getting some lessons of a qualified PT.
Oh! If your PT gives you some bull about not squatting deep you make sure you tweet me with his name! I will make sure he/she is shamed and hopefully tarred and feathered!
Rumours: So the squat gets bad press some times. You hear of people with bad knees, bad backs, prolapsed colons and all other arrays of colourful issues. The worst one I hear is that you shouldn’t squat deep because it’s bad for your knees. If you can find me any scientific data/ research done on loading and torque through the knee during squatting during squatting deep with correct form that proves its dangerous, bring it to me and I will snatch it from you and set it alight because it’s still rubbish! I can personally vouch that since I started squatting deep, my knees have not felt this good since before I stopped half marathon running. The main joint loading of a squat movement is in the hips anyway. SO GET DOWN THERE!
So, if you are really opposed to paying for a PT or asking your local giant for help. At least give yourself a chance. Utilise box squatting to help with your form and depth. You can set the box to a height so that your hips are always below the level of your knees and you can use the box to learn to sit back into the squat as you should. Look at “Louie Simmons box squat technique” and watch his YouTube videos or my personal favourite “Joe DeFranco” and his recent YouTube edition of “Ask Joe DeFranco on teaching box squat“.
If you don’t squat then you are forgiven as long as you start tomorrow and learn to squat correctly. You can atone for your sins my brothers and sister and hermaphrodite friends. However, if you currently squat on your toes, or you shoot your knees out before your hips move back, or round your spine then please go and learn to squat correctly.
Lower the odds of an injury occurring while you squat and these rumours go away. Finally to those of you who squat well above required depth with more weight than you can handle and then have the audacity to celebrate. I hate you. There is no other way to say it than you are no better than Jeremy Kyle’s “guests”; Go away!
I won’t even get started on what I saw the other day, no word of a lie. I witnessed some of our members here set up a box squat that was WAY too high to begin with and then they didn’t even squat to the box. WHAT WAS THE POINT IN THE HEIGHT REGULATING BOX!?
I need to go sit down. My rage has given me a brain ache.
Best of luck fellow squat rack enthusiasts. If you see someone curling in there, kick them in the spine…..