To Squat or not to Squat, That is the Question

In this functional era of strength training that we are in, there is a lot of talk about what are functional movement patterns. The Squat happens to be one of them. But really, how functional is the squat… If you ask bodybuilders, they will tell you that the Squat is the king of all lowerbody exercises as it“packs on the beef” on the thighs more than any other exercise.

If you ask power lifters, they will tell you that the Squat is one of 3 very important exercises (Squat, Dead Lift, Bench Press) and that it contributes to increased strength and power of the whole body.

If you ask strength coaches from the southern states of America, they will tell you that the Squat HAS to be in the training program of practically any athlete because… it just has to!

There seems to be an obsession with the Squat and its benefits. It is a good exercise in my opinion and I do prescribe it. I am just not totally crazy about it and I believe there are times when it SHOULD NOT be prescribed.

These are the reasons why you would not want to do the Squat:

* You have a flexibility imbalance in the hip and leg musculature. When both feet are planted on the ground to perform a Squat you perform a hip flexion and if you have flexibility imbalances, your hips can easily shift and/or go into some form of torsion. This puts your lumbar spine at risk of injury because the discs are not loaded evenly.

* You have a strength deficit of specific squatting muscles: hip flexors and/or extensors, knee flexors and/or extensors, lateral and/or medial hip rotators. This means that you will be compensating when squatting; another reason to avoid the squat as compensation mechanisms force certain structures (muscles, tendons, ligaments) to work overtime.

How do you know if this applies to you… you find a qualified therapist that can quantify this type of information and advise you on how to become a balanced fitness buff or athlete!

Don’t miss next month’s article where I will go thru who can correctly asses you or your clients and I will suggest other lower body exercises that can give you great results while you are correcting deficits that will, one day, allow you to squat safely.

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