“I Can’t Squat.”
If there are any trainers that read my rants you can sympathize with me on the following statement made by a client, “My doctor told me not to squat.” Oh he did, did he? Well isn’t that great, what in the world am I going to do to strengthen your legs? Hold up! Do me a favor and get up and down from that chair. So you know what I am getting at. There are some uneducated people out there that tell patients to stay away from certain activities, not realizing that those activities could potentially help the situation. I’ve incurred this situation several times in the 10 years I have been a trainer, nothing surprises me.
I recently finished a grueling competition involving the squat, where a fellow trainer and I decided to see who could squat 250,000 pounds the fastest. So for 3 weeks we battled it out, squatting sometimes 30, 40, 50 thousdand pounds in a single workout. A feat I would not suggest, having done it, it was brutal to put it lightly. Regardless, through this contest of testosterone, my knees have not felt better in years. Why is that? It is not for the fact I wasn’t squatting heavy loads (Trent would probably say otherwise, he warms up with my max) nor is it because I have my knees alot of rest (I squatted 4-5 times per week). We will just call it faith in the squat but regardless, it just goes to show you that you can squat, under any conditions. As humans, we have too.
The squat is the most basic, primal movement that humans do. We squat when we get in and out of a car, we squat when we get up and down from a chair and when we have to go to the bathroom (#2 for men and always for women) we squat. So how on earth could someone tell me that I can’t squat? Most doctors are not as educated on fitness and it impacts the body, so its easy to tell people what to stay away from. If you have a bum knee its probably not wise to load a bar up with 300 lbs and go at it. But what doesn’t make sense is why you wouldn’t perform the movement at all, without weight.
Have you ever looked a baby and how they sit back on their heels and drop their butt to the floor in a full squat? The point I am trying to get at is humans were meant to squat, in some shape, form, or fashion. It’s true so you cannot argue J
So how does squatting benefit me if I have knee problems? Well let’s first look at your “knee problems.” More often than not (general statement here) the problem is not your knee. Huh? Yes, the problem often stems your ankle or your hip causing the pain to occur in and around the knee capsule. This is called “site VS source.” The site is not always the source of the problem. So if you have hip issues or ankle issues, proper squat technique can actually realign the body to its correct movement pattern. Also becoming more flexible in the hip flexor and hamstring area will help as well.
Here are the benefits of proper squatting (bodyweight progressing to weighted):
- Neuromuscular coordination- squatting (weighted or bodyweight) will train the brain and the muscles to work in harmony. If you have trouble squatting correctly place a box or bench behind you and sit back and touch and explode up.
- Lower Body Strength- no exercise (no exercise!) builds strength better than squatting. Everyone needs strength, whether you are a stay at home mom or a professional athlete, our lives demand a certain amount of strength.
- Injury Prevention/Rehabilitation- To prevent injuries you must make sure the body can handle and create force. Squatting allows the body to build muscle and strength required of everyday life. Also, allows the body to become flexible in the lower extremities (cause of a lot of injuries).
So, in conclusion if your doctor tells you not to squat, so him my article and have him call me. I will convince him otherwise.