WHEN SQUATTING ISN’T AN OPTION

To squat or not….

To squat or not….

Ah, good old squats. You’ve just got to love them. Nothing like sucking wind after a set of heavy ass to the ground squats. But I’m going to come straight out with it and I’m probably not the first one to say it.

SQUATTING ISN’T FOR EVERYONE!!! (Especially back squats).

Gasp!!! He didn’t just say that. Heaven forbid, that’s blasphemy, he’s committed the greatest sin known to man and must be punished……

Hold your horses. Before you go jumping the gun, read the rest of this post to get the full low down.

Rather than this simply being a “why you shouldn’t vs why you should post.” As we are all well aware, life seldom ever works like that.

Everybody has an opinion when it come’s to squatting. It’s a highly debated, highly controversial subject in the fitness community. Just visit any bodybuilding forum or fitness site and you’ll no doubt find statements such as.

“Shut up and squat”

“If you don’t squat, you’re a pussy.”

“Squats are one the greatest exercises in existence.”

Now my personal take on squats is this. In all honesty, I do squat because I have no issues, injuries or impairments that prevent me from performing a full squat.

Plus, I’m still working on bringing up the size and strength of my legs and squatting does help accomplish that, when done properly.

What’s not to love about them, done correctly they are a great overall mass leg builder and strengthener. (They also help develop your lung capacity).

Note: I’m not going to get into the proper technique of a squat here, because that’s not the focus of this article. You can just run a Google search if you’re curious.

However, some people just aren’t designed for heavy, ass to the ground squatting. Now I’ll say this, the parallel squat is not an effective replacement for the full back or front squat.

If you can’t do a proper butt to the floor back or front squat and you must do the parallel or half squat, try to limit it. Most of the common squatting injuries come from the parallel squat than any other variation.  (Always attempt a full squat, only do I ever recommend half or partial rep squats for those occasions when using really heavy weight).

Some people have knee (patella joint issues) and lower back injuries that just make squatting downright painful. Screw what others think, if you’re joints feel like hell when you perform squats, avoid them.

Bear in mind, there’s a clear distinction between a little soreness and crushing pain. (You don’t have to justify anything to anyone else, you train for yourself).

If you’re in this category, pick another exercise to work your legs that doesn’t bother your knees. (It doesn’t matter if it makes you look like a wimp. You’re training for yourself remember. Sacrificing your knees for validation from someone else is moronic).

If squatting is completely out of the equation, you can still get in some decent leg training with moves like the leg press and single leg RDL’s. If you can perform front squats and/or hack squats do them. Usually it’s the back squat that tends to give people problems.

There are also those individuals who have poor hip flexibility and until you open your hips up, you won’t get the full benefits of the squat and will probably do more harm than good, trying to squat with a loaded bar across your back.

If you’re in this bracket, I would focus on the bodyweight squat variation, trying to get my butt to touch the ground, to help learn the movement pattern and get the hips used to the full range of motion.

You’d also benefit greatly from stretching exercises designed to improve hip flexibility such as butterflies or hip flutters and side-to-side stretches, some of which are covered in WARRIOR 101.

If you still want to work your legs with weight I’d stick with a few sets of the leg press if I were you, until my hip flexibility had improved enough so that I could squat deeply and properly.

Avoid doing the half squat if you can, especially if you want to improve your hip flexibility to point of being able to do the full variation. It’ll only limit your range of motion and help stiffen your hips further. (Not what you had in mind, right?)

Don’t just take my word for it. I asked Chad Howse for his opinion on where he thought most people went wrong with squatting:

“Where most people find difficulty with squatting is the depth, they find it hard to go ass to grass and most don’t understand the cause – tight hips. Using weight lifting shoes with a heel or putting a two and a half pound plate under the heel can make a wonder of difference for depth in your squat, just make sure you continue working on hip flexibility in the meantime.”  CHAD HOWSE 

If you’ve built up your legs to a size and strength level you’re content with and only seek to maintain said level, you really don’t have to squat that often. I know a guy who has some pretty decent sized legs. Nowadays, he only squats 1-2 times a month, just to maintain strength and size.

He built them up over the years while progressing his squat up to 330lbs for about 10 reps. Not bad, considering the fact that he wasn’t really focused on getting incredibly strong in the squat. He also used to sprint up hills a lot.

If you’re in that category, I’d even go as far as saying that if you were never to attempt a squat again, you could still maintain that size to some degree. Stick with some walking and sprinting and you’d do fine.

Here’s what Greg O’Gallagher of Kinobody.com had to say about squats.

A strong focus on squats inevitably leads to over bulked thighs and glutes. This leads to chaffing thighs and a limited wardrobe. As well, the sweep associated with big legs is a feminine looking trait. Men should desire the legs of a gymnast or martial artist who needs to be fast and powerful but still light and nimble. 

When you keep your legs balanced and athletic, your upperbody will not only look more impressive, but you will experience better strength gains on your upperbody lifts. This is because intense, high volume leg training is very neurally demanding and will interfere with maximum performance for upperbody sessions.” Greg O’Gallagher 

That’s my two cents on squats. The debate rests with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

What’s your stance on squatting?

Agree or disagree?

In any case leave your comments bellow and add to the discussion.

By the way: If you’re looking for a full program to develop strength, and get lean, mean physique like a warrior pick up a copy of Warrior 101. It’s a fully detailed mapped out 3 phase program that also covers everything from exercises to nutrition, supplements, recovery and much more.

Also I’d like to announce the “WARRIOR 6 MONTH CHALLENGE”

Take the challenge and see if you can’t improve your physique, health and well being within 6 short months when you follow everything laid out in WARRIOR 101. Your health and vibrancy is worth it. Any further questions, contact me here.

GRIT AND TENACITY 

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