Originally written by: Squat More Weightlifting
Squatting is more than an exercise, it is a natural motion of the human body. It is how we can stretch our legs out from standing too long and how many people of the world relax and take a break.
The position of the squat requires mobility in the hips, knees and ankles. People seeking to improve their mobility in these areas need only practice the squat and gradually work on getting deeper and deeper as they relax into the position. Quite often people suffer from back pain for sitting for long periods of time. They lack the ability to use their gluteal muscles and instead their lower back does all the work. Start getting the hips open, squat and squeeze the butt to stand. Watch how your pain begins to alleviate. This of course is all exercise related stuff; can squatting help with other things that are not exercise related?
Why sure, how about creating a more efficient position in which to defecate. Modern toilets put us in a seated position (seems sitting causes lots of problems) which is a big contributor to hemorrhoids. Not only that but, those seated toilets can cause a problem that is only seen in the modernized seated toilet world; colonic obstruction. Seems no amount of oatmeal in the world can help some problems. So, how do we solve this? Sikirov (2003) did a study in which the results show that a squat caused less strain on the process of defecation. You naturally form an angle and help to push the fecal matter out in a squatted position, thereby eliminating the strain.
Huh, seems all that squatting they do in third world countries keeps them healthier in more ways than one.
Women are often told to perform the kegel exercise in order to increase tightness down there as well as to help with having a stronger bladder. Guess what ladies, kegels might NOT be the answer. So, what is? That’s right SQUATTING! It is looked at that the problem with having a weak bladder also goes hand in hand with low back pain, diminished glutes and, quite simply, weak hips. No exercise is as good for building up total hip strength as the Squat.
For more on this this topic: http://mamasweat.blogspot.ca/2010/05/pelvic-floor-party-kegels-are-not.html
I used to have a job at a bird watching store, no joke. I was hired muscle (it was a high school gig) and was paid to move bags upon bags of bird seed and peanuts from a pallet into the store. Some of these bags were 100+lbs. When I first started my back hurt every time and it took me hours to finish. Then I started weight training and specifically focusing on heavy back squats and I noticed how much easier everything felt. I learned how to bend at the hip and load my legs. My core was a pillar with which I would pack bag after bag on, then I easily walked them into the store. I got it down to the point where I could load all the bags in under an hour. The owner of the store saw how good I was getting and ended up paying me for the 4 hours he hired me for. Talk about work/pay efficiency. If only all my jobs after that one were as easy to make money at.
Your hips are the work horse of your body. All power and strength comes from the hips. Run, Lift, Throw, Tackle…whatever, it’s all in the hips (as Chubbs would say). If you want to really train the hips then look no further then the Squat. It forces increased range of motion when compared to the deadlift, is less technical than the Olympic lifts (not to mention a precursor to learning the lifts in the first place) and you can perform the squat with greater frequency than any lift without over taxing the body due to all the muscles that the squat recruits.
When your form and technique is adequate, you can then start adding resistance to the squat. Doing pause squats can force you to learn about tension and developing overall hip/posterior chain strength. When you perform a bounce out of the bottom of the hole you use the beloved stretch reflex and help to train your amortization phase (the pause and change of direction in a jump or plyometric activity). This will help make you faster and more powerful. Such a versatile exercise; its no wonder that every strength coach puts some variation of the squat in every program they write.
So, I talked about the health, I talked about the badass strength you get. Now comes the most important part, the mental and testicular fortitude that you obtain from the beloved Squat.
No lift can reveal the cowards in the gym faster than the squat.
“It hurts my traps.”
“Its too hard to go that deep.”
“Squatting wears me out and I can’t do anything else afterwards.”
“It hurts my knees.”
Whine, whine, whine. I have the simple answer to all of your problems. Apply more effort. You are a wuss and you don’t know how to actually push. It must be nice feeling strong, slapping 400lbs onto that big ole leg press and pushing like the fairy you are. Oh and then you can talk to your buddy on the phone about how awesome this club you are going to later is. I bet you will go there and order an apple-tini, you sissy.
Try this instead of doing the 20 + leg exercises you do, if you even do a leg day that is. Do one REAL 20 rep squat set. That’s it, you don’t need to take 3 hours like you normally do but, you don’t get to talk during this workout. You first better learn how to squat, then you are going to work to your 10 rep squat max weight. Now, breathe deep and think of everything you fear, everything you hate. Feel it course through your body filling you with rage. The rage will blind you to where all you can smell is iron, all you can feel is the light brush of metal on your body. You rack the weight on your back and begin. The first 5 reps, like poetry in motion. The next 5 come out a bit slower. Rep 11, now you taste what hard work is. Rep 12, you feel an itch against the back of your head. Rep 13, you hear the voice of God or the Devil, you are not sure which yet. The next few reps are a blur. Rep 18, your lungs are on fire, your back is numb but, all you hear is the screaming of blood in your head as it rushes through to feed your body before you hemorrhage. Rep 19, one more pussy. Rep 20, with a triumphant grunt you rack the weight and pass out. You give God and the Devil the finger, you passed their test and won.
A 1 rep max (1RM) is performing the most amount of weight possible for 1 repetition of a given exercise. This is also referred to as your “100%”. 1RM Back Squat has been used as a predictor of performance for sports like Football for quite some time. When thinking of maxing on back squat, one doesn’t usually think of Golf. This is a sport that requires accuracy, excellent vision, problem solving and great movement capabilities.
The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) has been attached to Golf as a great tool to aid in the development of golfers. Some might even look at the FMS as a good predictor of performance for the movement-driven sport but, after a tireless research study we see the 1RM BACK SQUAT still wins out. Nothing determines greatness like your ability to squat heavy weight.
Squatting makes you stronger of course but, what else can it do? Make you Jump Higher. Of course many coaches know this but, they often don’t prescribe the CORRECT kind of squat. Squats in many settings become 2-3 plates each side and a shaky quarter squat effort. Of course some coaches believe this to be a good thing because that is the portion of the jump we need to train. Low and behold this information is INCORRECT.
It has been found that Deep squats far exceed partial squats in the performance development department when looking at muscle activation. Additionally, you also don’t run the chance of injury that you do with partials as there is no muscle imbalance developed from doing so many partial reps.
Squatting takes a broken man and heals them, it turns the weak men strong and turns the bad days into glorious ones. So, start squatting more, it makes you better at life.
Written by: Erik Blekeberg (Author), Squat More Weightlifting (http://www.squatmore.org/)
Erik Blekeberg is the coach for the Army & Navy Academy (Carlsbad, CA) Weightlifting team as well as the Strength & Conditioning Coach for their varying sports teams. He has competed in Olympic Weightlifting for 7+ years as a 94kg and 105kg making it to the 2012 USA Weightlifting American Open in Palm Springs, CA; Strongman as a Lightweight (under 231lbs) where he won the title of California’s Strongest Man in 2008 for the Lightweight Division, and varying other competitions of strength involving kettlebells, rocks, barbells and anything that can have more weight added on to it.