• Is Squatting Worth It?

      by Steve Holman, Iron Man Magazine

      Most bodybuilders “throw out” their backs every so often—and it usually gets more frequent as they move into their 40s and beyond. Could it be from all of the cumulative spinal compression caused by heavy squats over the years?


      The barbell squat is hailed as one of the miracle exercises of muscle building, and while it does great things for overall metabolic stimulation and trains a number of muscle groups at once, it’s not very ergonomic—and there’s that spine-compression thing.

      Think about it: Is having 400 pounds riding on your shoulders as you crouch down with your arms up next to your neck really a safe move? And I’m not just talking about the danger to your lower back. So many bodybuilders have had to get hip-replacement surgery later in life that it’s scary—including Clarence “Ripped” Bass, John Grimek and even Lou Ferrigno right before he turned 60.

      After a certain point, bodybuilders need to wake up and put a stop to the barbell squat. One solution is simply to use dumbbells, holding them at the sides of your thighs. That will allow you to remain more upright for safer hip action and require no spine compression.

      To make the move even safer, use the 4X method. Use a weight with which you can get about 15 good reps—one-second positives and three-second negatives—but do only 10. Rest 35 seconds and then do it again. Four of those sets, with the last one to failure, will do amazing things for quad development—no vanishing vertebrae necessary.

      Even better, do your leg extensions 4X style before your squats for a modified preexhaustion effect.

      We’re supposed to get wiser as we get older—and I think that includes putting a not in front of heavy barbell squats.

      Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the coauthor of the new e-book Old School, New Body, available at www.OldSchoolNewBody.com.

      Source: http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/to-squat-or-not-2/
      Comments 5 Comments
      1. RoadMapFire's Avatar
        RoadMapFire -
        Pre exhaustion is a good idea. Do your extensions, press before squats. Same idea with deadlifts at the end of your workout. However, I'd hate to see someone read this and avoid the compound lifts.
      1. Torobestia's Avatar
        Torobestia -
        I'd love to see what more knowledgeable people have to say about this. Intuitively, I think he's missing the point that those who develop back problems from squatting get it from not being a stickler with technique, and one false move on a bad day leading to disaster; and that back problems related to squatting has little to do with spinal compression. But, I can't back that thought of mine up ... maybe someone should repost in exercise physiology section.
      1. woody48's Avatar
        woody48 -
        I think all the carbs especially grains have a lot to do with degenerative joint conditions
      1. Anothergymrat's Avatar
        Anothergymrat -
        Leg extensions as a better alternative? My eyes are bleeding and my IQ has dropped a couple points upon reading this
      1. SinisterNix's Avatar
        SinisterNix -
        Originally Posted by Anothergymrat View Post
        Leg extensions as a better alternative? My eyes are bleeding and my IQ has dropped a couple points upon reading this
        And how... One of my favorite Dan John quotes comes to mind- "squatting doesn't hurt your knees, how YOU squat hurts your knees!"

        Most people do too much in the gym anyway. Brooks Kubik has about the best advice ever regarding squatting and other compound lifts. If you aren't a pro bodybuilder on gallons of juice (I don't have any issues with sensible use of gear btw) then less is more. Pre-exhaustion on a highly technical lift like the squat is totally retarded and begging for any number of injuries.

        Technique is everything, and no one else but you can determine what is "proper form" for your structure. A lot of people want to dismiss it or not even consider it when it is mentioned, but Gym Movement is the best way to get there. Look up Adam T Glass on youtube and you'll find a dude so strong in a variety of lifts as to defy comprehension, especially in the realm of hand strength...
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