Friday, February 17, 2012

A Reason to Squat

My poison pen makes a reappearance here. It’s been put away long enough, I think.

It belabours the point for me to keep insisting on my normalness, just so I can then say “But I can do this!!” and then expect you all to take that as proof that anyone can do what I just did… even if it’s true. But I’m going to do it again. And I’m going to call you a pussy at the end if you don’t agree with me.

There’s too much interference from other trends, fads, ‘scientific’ studies and various other sources of noise: confusing young lifters and distracting them from seeing the facts. And the number one fact of lifting is

Thou Must Squat.

I don’t give a shit if you train to show off your oiled muscles on stage, or if you’re 350 pounds, comfortable with that, and keen to get bigger. I also don’t care if you’re really short or really tall, young or old, can touch your toes with your palms and do a back-flip, or if you think you need a safety rail to get off the couch. And if you really do need a safety rail, you’re also in need of a wheelchair – see legitimate excuse 1 of 1 (below).

This is Rich Knapp, WNBF pro body builder. He doesn’t squat coz he’s in a wheelchair. If you’re in the gym and in a wheelchair, you’re safe (and good on you, by the way!). If you’re in the gym and you’re NOT in a wheelchair, you have no excuse whatsoever not to squat. And that’s with a bar, on your back. If you don’t squat, you’re a pussy. Or a paraplegic – there’s your only out.

There is no better exercise for strengthening your core, pelvic floor, posterior chain, glutes and quads – and in fact your whole musculoskeletal system gets a dose when you squat properly.

It promotes growth throughout your entire body for a very simple reason: your lower half is where the largest and strongest muscles in your body reside, and at their centre is your growth hormone production factory. Hit those muscles hard, and all your muscles will grow. Curls in the squat rack don’t do it – squats in the squat rack do. You idiot.

NO! You will not get the same benefit from the leg press or leg extension machine. Sure, you might exercise many of the same muscles involved, but the biomechanic impact and biochemical reactions are not nearly as great, plus your balance and motor skills are not engaged while you’re sitting there with your legs pumping in the air. If anything you’re getting more uncoordinated, letting this machine with a cushion and a nice, oiled plane of motion do all that work for you.

NO! Swapping the back squat for another variation of squat and/or a collection of other exercises is not a good idea. You will be spending more time and effort for less gain, and you’ll not experience the amazing boost that only proper, deep, back squats give. There is no substitute – and the fact that more than one other exercise is needed to attempt this substitution should be proof enough that there is no substitute.

Hey look, I’m sensitive to people with back problems. I used to have one myself. The fact remains that, if your doctor told you to never back squat, and you don’t have a degenerative spinal condition (or similar) and a wheelchair under your ass, you have no freaking excuse. Either get out of the weights room or get under a bar.

I’ve honestly lost count of the number of stories I have come across over the years from people of all walks of life who were told by their doctors that they were too old, too frail, too damaged to do weights training and certainly could never ever squat. Yet they did, and now they don’t see their doctors nearly as often because their problems became more manageable and, in some cases, went away.

I’m being completely serious. Doctors often don’t know nearly enough on the subject. They know how to keep you weak and supplicant and, in some cases, dependent on their care. But sometimes the best treatment is not a pill but a dose of reality. Life is hard. If your life is not, then you’re weak and getting weaker. You need to use your body in challenging ways that promote strength and resilience. That’s not going to be found on a comfortable, cushioned piece of machinery, or in a prescription.

And then there’s the increased virility. It is undeniable that squats make you more of a man. A strong lower posterior, legs and core will add years to your life. Your sleep will be better, your work will be better, your sex will be better, and you will be a more vital human specimen generally.

So if after reading all this you still think you’re doing just fine with your bench press and biceps routine, or think you’ll get by strength- and/or mass-wise with a few more isolations instead of the back squat – you are a pussy.

Fernwood has room for you, once you remove your penis, which you perhaps don’t deserve. Hell, screw that, I know women who (try to) squat properly at Fernwood. It's hard, but they do it. So why the hell can't you? Planet Fitness haven't banned squatting too, have they?


  1. I absolutely have to agree with you on every point you made but especially the doctor thing. The easiest(and least liable)thing a doctor can do when they can't fix back pain (that is not easily diagnosed) is to say "don't do shit". I have found all of my self diagnosed back problems have left since I learned how to stretch my hips, glutes and hamstrings. Well written piece brother, a definite motivator.

  2. Thank you for your contribution brother.

  3. Always look forward to reading your blog posts Abaddon. You make excellent points agree 100%. Its amazing how many people I hear make excuse after excuse as to why they cant or shouldn't squat... what the real problem is that they have sand in their vagina. SQUAT PEOPLE!!!