The squat is a fantastic exercise with many variations to allow to shift focus to strength, mass, or cardio and should be the cornerstone of any fitness program. Unfortunately, it has a bad name in the mainstream fitness circles but that’s simply down to ignorance. The squat is a truly functional movement that all of us perform as part of your daily routine. Guess when?
Any fitness professional who denounce the squat as bad for your knees, who do not squat, who cannot teach the squat correctly is an insult to the world of fitness as a whole. Even worse are the fitness people (can’t use the word professional in this sentence) who think they know squat and teach it wrong, risking knee and spine health of their poor students.
I’ve seen it so many times I’d be rich had I got a dollar for every time. Personal trainers, in individual sessions or in classes, doing their best to bust the knees of their students, or trying to crack a disc in the spine or are just simply reckless with too much weight too early causing terrible form.
I saw the light
Actually, I am a convert. As a teen, in my local gym, the instructors (this is before the personal trainer boom) were all self-trained bodybuilders and they didn’t squat. They did leg-presses, leg extensions, leg curls, and a lot of flexing in the mirrors. But they didn’t know squat, they actually taught all the new members that squats are bad for the knees, and if you for some stupid reason do squat you should stop just before thighs are parallel to the floor and wear tight knee wraps. And I believed them. I was 17 yrs old and skinny. They were 10 years older and huge(-ish). Seemed to make sense back then.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be learned from bodybuilding but hell did I waste time on those leg extensions. Luckily, I came across a guys like Dan John, Mark Rippetoe and Louie Simmons and saw the light! Not until age 35 but better late than never. Now, I swear by the squat and the many variations. On Sunday morning’s the gym is my temple and the squat rack is my altar.
This is part one of a series of articles on How to Squat, squat variations and the particular benefit of each, instructional videos and suggested training programs. In this first article we will focus on why to squat and follow that up with an article on the basic principles of a technically sound squat.
Let’s talk squat
Firstly, you squat every day. That’s how you get on and off the toilet seat. Your form may not be optimal but even if that’s all the squatting you’ll ever do – let’s get at least that movement technically correct!
All the bad reputation of the squat is down to ignorance and may I suggest, effective marketing by all the manufacturers of gym machines. The almighty squat would make a lot of gym machines redundant had the average gym goer only been taught the squat correctly.
Key benefits of the squat are:
There are many variations on the squat, all with their own benefits and applications. At Reintegrate we focus on two bodyweight variations and in our strength-biased workouts we have one favorite weighted squat variation.
Alright, now you know why to squat. In the next article we’ll look at the basic principles of a technically sound squat.
functional, functional movement, how to squat, squat
[...] was a gym rat throughout my twenties but I didn’t squat. I started squatting late, around age 35, and learning to squat after 10 years in the office chair [...]
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