Wednesday, April 7, 2010

You Don't Know Squat

Down the road, in a gym far away
A young man was heard to say,
"No matter what I do, my legs won't grow!"
He tried leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses too.
Trying to cheat, these sissy workouts he'd do!
From the corner of the gym where the big guys train,
Through a cloud of chalk and the midst of pain,
Where the big iron rides high, and threatin' lives,
Where the noise is made with big forty-fives,
A deep voice bellowed as he wrapped his knees,
A very big man with legs like trees,
Laughing as he snatched another plate from the stack,
Chalked his hands and monstrous back,
Said, "Boy, stop lying and don't say you've forgotten!
Trouble with you is you aint been SQUATIN'!!"

I wish I could take the credit for this. Jeff MADDOG, a strength coach from
UNC paints a "man only" picture of squatting with this poem, but that's just
one of the many myths that squatting has surrounding it. I'll break it down
and show that the squat is not only the most basic of human movements, but
also the a safe and effective key to any workout program.

Myth 1: Squatting is bad for the knees.

Truth: Done properly, the squat can actually strengthen the ligaments
and muscles that surround the knee which improve stability. The only time a
squat would be bad for your knees is if you knees extended out over the
toes. This creates a shearing force as the Tibia is forced up into the
patella. Toes should also be angled outward at 30-45 degrees so the knees
can properly track over the toes. Visualize driving a stake through your
knee. It should go right through the knee and into your toes/foot.

Myth 2: Squats are bad for your back.

Truth: Yea, if you do them like an jack ass. The squat can be
dangerous because of the shearing forces it can place on your back. But
there is a way to avoid that: DO THEM PROPERLY! If preformed with a
relatively straight back, the shearing force is minimized because the weight
is placed directly over the spinal column. Also, stay away from belts,
unless you squat 800 pounds. So, again I say, stay away from belts.

Myth 3: Squats will make my butt big.

Truth: No, genetics and doughnuts make your butt big. Lots of
people squat without getting broad asses. If this were the case, people
everywhere would be walking around with big butts from sitting down and
standing up all day. Afghanis squat and stand all day to eat, socialize and
play. I don't see a problem with any of their asses, not that I'm looking.
So, put down the doughnut and "squat with what you got". I'm going to
copyright that quote, so, to avoid lawsuit, don't copy it.

Myth 4: Squats are only for men or athletes.

Truth: Squats are for everyone. From the grandma down the street
to the pro-football player. It's for the mom squatting down to pick up the
grocery bags and the powerlifter squatting 800 pounds. Now, technique plays
a huge role in squatting, and you should follow these guidelines when

1. Foot position: Slightly wider than shoulder width. Toes pointed outward
30-45 degrees.
2. Stand up tall, emulate perfect posture, engage core.
3. Keeping the weight on your heels, slowly move butt DOWN and BACK.
Maintain that nice, natural lumbar curve, don't slouch over. Keep your
chest up and out.
4. Make sure your knees are tracking with your toes, but not over the toes.
5. TRY to make your hip crease drop below your knees. Raise your arms as a

Now, a good squat comes with hard work, patience and dedication. Practice
this facing a wall with your toes 4-8 inches away. The depth will eventually
come with improved flexibility and range of motion in the joints and muscles
critical to a good squat (ankle, knees, hamstrings, quad etc) If you
experience any knee pain, stop. Don't go so far that it hurts. Fitness is
a progression.

There are countless other myths out there about squat, but I don't want to
bore you with anymore. Besides, I'll just offer up some evidence as to why squats
are one of the best exercises anyone can do. Bottom line: Now that you
know, SQUAT!
WOD: "Chelsea" Every minute on the minute perform 5 Pullups, 10 Pushups, 15 Squats for 30 Minutues

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