Barbell Squat : the Worst Exercise in Existence?

I wouldn’t normally care to pick on someone like Mark Rippetoe, but he’s one of the most popular proponents of performing a barbell squat, AND, he says stuff like this on a consistent basis.

There are few things graven in stone, except that you have to squat or you’re a pussy.

As it turns out, this isn’t true. In fact in reality, you would be quite wise to avoid the free standing barbell squat entirely.

I discuss why in the (informal) video blog below, in which I might come off as polarizing or aggravating to some. If I do, please understand that wasn’t necessarily my intention, nor did I try to avoid it.

I was primarily interested discussing the downfalls of the barbell squat, not being sensitive (or insensitive) towards your feelings, and potentially decade + long investment into the barbell squat.

So I simply don’t care one way or the other, and if the video aggravates you, just stop watching it.

Certainly no one is forcing you to.



Now, as far as the points made, they summarize as follows. They are all very basic. Nothing revolutionary in and of themselves.



Loading the top of the spine — which in many respects is a pyramid — with a 200, 250, 300, 350, 400+ … pound bar, and then moving that bar up and down  a few feet, does not seem especially wise in and of itself.

Please see the picture below for further reference. (Try to think: does this structure look especially suited for loading the strongest and largest muscles in my body with a shit ton of weight?)

If you’re a barbell squat fan, the question you should be asking yourself is: at what point in human history did this become a good idea?

Or as stated in the video, what person without social/cultural influences suggesting if not pressuring him to perform a free standing barbell squat, would decide on his own to set this exercise up and do it?

On this level alone, it appears to be a really bad idea.



The primary muscles that most squatters intend to work, are the muscles of the legs, which are huge muscles, surrounding huge bones, supported and surrounded by comparatively huge joints.

The spine on the other hand is perhaps the most delicate joint structure in the entire body. Small bones, that get smaller towards the top (where the multi-hundred pound bar is applied), surrounding small muscles with little room for hypertrophy, supported by delicate connective tissues.

Certainly the consequences for injuring it in any meaningful way are along the lines of : you’re fucked.

The point I’m getting at here is: why are you applying resistance so far, in fact as far as physically possible, from the intended muscle group?

You can do a belt squat or a leg press and effectively get as close as possible to the intended muscle group.

A barbell squat is the equivalent of loading your triceps through your feet, upside down against a wall. Aside from loading the barbell on your skull, there is no more ineffective, bass ackwards way to load your legs with a heavy resistance.

Furthermore, you’re force feeding that resistance through your spine. There is no way around it. The only bones connecting the weight and your legs and pelvis are your vertebrae.

Which brings me to my next and final point.



The barbell squat is absolutely self-defeating. Why?

Because success in a barbell squat means primarily, stronger legs. Stronger and stronger legs will need more and more resistance.

If 150 pounds of resistance, force fed through the spine, is antagonistically bad to begin with, 200 pounds is exponentially worse.

250 pounds is further worse.

251 pounds is still worse.

252 … 253 … etc.

The stronger you get, and the more success you have performing a barbell squat, the more ineffective and dangerous the exercise becomes. The risk of injury not only increases, but so does the actual effect of a potential injury.

One pulled, torn, stretched muscle, one mis step, one hard slam of that bar on the rack is all it takes to cause an injury, however minor or severe.


Think this is a rare thing that won’t happen to you? Keep dreaming. In a long enough time span, I would bet the risk of injury on a free standing barbell squat is 100%.

I.e. if you start squatting from a young age, and continue this over a lifetime like Mr. Rippetoe would have you do, the chance of an injury happening approaches 100%. It becomes inevitable.

Are you really willing to gamble your ability to walk on your “perfect skill” in performing a barbell squat? You really think you’re going to squat 1,000 times and never have a “freak” accident?

It’s not freak at all, it was bound to happen and easily predictable by looking at a third grade level picture of the human spine with a crappy photo-shopped barbell at the top.


Bottom line:

The free standing barbell squat is a bad idea anyway you cut it.

The only way to “fix” it, is to stop doing it, and instead perform any other compound leg exercise available, of which, there are a ton of options. Some are better than others.

All are better than a free standing barbell squat.



Links for more info:

Congruent Exercise (book)

Congruent Exercise (free video)

Congruent Exercise on Facebook


As stated clearly at the beginning of the video, while many of the conclusions I make here stem from Congruent Exercise and Bill’s work in general, I do not officially represent him or his work in any form, shape, fashion, or capacity.

He represents himself, so all hate mail should be directed to me, not him =D


Odds and ends:


I realize I made a number of errors in word choice in this (informal) video (blog). Happens when doing a video blog, and I don’t particularly care, beyond the degree of mentioning that I’m aware of it.

Also, I realize a lot of people squat in a rack, so falling forward does not necessarily entail the instantaneous crushing of your neck by the 300+ pound bar. Or does it?

It certainly doesn’t do a damn thing if you fall backwards, and little to nothing if you fall to either side. In fact the only direction it might protect you from injury is via falling forward.

But does everyone actually squat in a rack when available?

No. I’ve been to enough gyms and seen hundreds of people perform a barbell squat outside of a standard squat rack, or even a smith machine. So it certainly happens hundreds, if not thousands of times a day in this country alone. Perhaps tens of thousands of squats are done every day outside of a standard squat rack.

And even if you are squatting in a rack, who says  it will fully protect you?

About 3 weeks ago in Fort Myers Florida a friend of one of my best friends blew both his knees out squatting in a rack.

I asked my friend what he meant when he said the guy “blew his knees out”.

His response was “the bones were about to stick out of the skin“.


Happy squatting!

About Anthony Dream Johnson

CEO, founder, and architect of The 21 Convention, Anthony Dream Johnson is the leading force behind the world's first and only "panorama event for life on earth". He has been featured on WGN Chicago, and in the NY Times #1 best seller The Four Hour Work Week.    His stated purpose for the work he does is "the actualization of the ideal man", a purpose that has led him to found and host The 21 Convention across 3 continents and for 6 years in a row. Anthony blogs vigorously at and

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617 Responses to Barbell Squat : the Worst Exercise in Existence?

  1. Evan June 1, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    What’s your take on the other olympic lifts (deadlift, cleans, snatch, c&j, etc)? I guess I would have to follow that question with, what’s your take on crossfit (olympic lifts performed in a high rep and/or high exhaustion environment)?

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 1, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

      My take on other Olympic lifts is that they are … olympic lifts, that should only be performed by athletes ,competing or training for … athletic events.

      They do not belong in any well thought out exercise program, because they are not exercises. They are physical movements that look like exercise movements, but have a completely different purpose, were invented for a different purpose, and are meant for a different purpose than exercise.

      Out of the movements you mentioned, the only exception *might* be a deadlift, but it would depend heavily on equipment, and even more importantly protocol … meaning ultra slow, and practiced with extreme caution.

      Or in a word, the exact opposite of how most people perform them.

      • FCJ June 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm #


        • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm #


          • Ed October 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

            “SO BRAVE” is ingroup lingo from reddit’s /r/circlejerk used to critique people on reddit expressing an opinion which has been expressed ad nauseum. So he misused its intended meaning, used it outside of the correct context (we’re not on reddit), and there’s no reason you should have any clue what he’s saying.

            In other words, he’s got no idea what he’s saying.

      • 24-7-365 June 2, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

        no wonder you look like crap, stick to the treadmill cardio bunny

        • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

          But … cardio doesn’t exist …

          • Matt June 10, 2012 at 1:14 am #

            He has one thing right: you look like shit.

            You’ve also managed to be completely illogical in both your argument and your defense. Your argument is premised on “No True Scotsman” logic: you beg for support for the barbell back squat, and then you say, “oh, well that’s not the kind of support I will accept” as soon as very legitimate support is provided.

            You made the claim (a juvenile claim with no credible support), and you should provide support for it. However, even if we are going to play the game you’ve set up here, you should at least begin by defining exactly what constitutes sufficient “back up” for the claim that the barbell back squat is sufficiently safe.

            • Jason June 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

              You nailed it. That’s why he didn’t reply. I stopped counting the logical fallacies at 8, but there were over a dozen.

          • Jarno July 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

            Whatever you choose to believe, just understand that the industry is full of people who want to ruffle some feathers and get people talking about them – any publicity is good publicity. Taking a ridiculous stand against something that is easily dissectible with common sense will only work against you.

        • Squatty McSquatbutt April 19, 2013 at 8:59 am #

          Hahahahahahaha – I totally agree. Rippetoe would also tell him to bring his pink purse along too.

      • creamysmooth June 3, 2012 at 1:55 am #

        You should probably just kill yourself.

      • Tim June 3, 2012 at 6:37 am #

        Horrendous article. Zero science, twisting words, points that carry no weight whatsoever. Are you just bored or something? What are you trying to achieve? Pathetic.

      • Dave Lipson June 4, 2012 at 8:56 am #

        Hey Anthony! I like you man. You are very well spoken. And you really know how to get people going, which causes them to really examine their beliefs. My name is Dave Lipson, I am a somewhat popular crossfitter who did a challenge one year ago to back squat 500lbs every day for a year to raise money for a cause in memory of a friend. I like that you challenge people to think. As far as the topic goes, I can tell you that back squatting trains the legs and hip…but the biggest adaption is in teaching your core to translate force, brace and protect the spine. The weakest link in the movement by far is the core…think about it, you can leg press the world but if your core is weak and you can’t create rigidity though out the system…you squat will be beans. Therefore the back squat hold tremendous value in creating midline stability of the spine ( Hold a statics neutral position of a spinal column, wedded to a pelvis as the hip, knees, arm or elbow move dynamic) This concept is vital in creating and translating power to move any object with force. Important in both life and sport. Having said that throwing too much weight on a person is a recipe for disaster, and as a veteran trainer I can tell you, big egos and stubborn minds tend to break down and hit roadblocks in their training. Thats enough geeking out. You seem like a smart dude. Good effort on this post…keep it up

        • Liz August 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

          @Dave Lipson
          Great response – yours should literally be all that’s required to put this to rest.

        • Tiffany June 6, 2013 at 10:22 am #

          Dave Lipson,

          Well stated and accurate. Our legs are usually much stronger than our core, and the weight from a back squat gets misloaded as a result. A trainer of mine told me recently to expand my rib cage and keep it activated throughout an entire squat or dead lift. This helped me brace my thoracic region which also activated my core and lumbar spine. Belly breathing was important to maintain that activated thoracic region. It worked and the entire movement felt different to me than before.

          I actually think there’s more chance of injury with thrusters and presses than with back squats. Thrusters are where I have a real hard time holding the proper core and spine positioning. So much happening there.

          Thanks for the great, mature reply. People will figure out eventually that even if you’re on opposite sides of the fence, there’s a midline where both minds can meet respectfully.

          • Anthony Dream Johnson June 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

            I hate this politically correct hyper-sensitive middle ground appeasement bullshit. Do you even read your own writing? You’re talking about making small adjustments under heavy load to increase safety for the spine — over years and decades of your life. That’s insane.

            That’s like doing 200 miles an hour in a pickup truck, but not before making sure your infant and his car seat are “secure” in the backseat — he shouldnt be in there in the first place.

            Your comment is ludicrous and your actions are totally disrespectful to your body. 1 wrong move, or 5 years of tiny wrong moves can put you on the operating table and in the belly of a FUBAR medical system.

      • Jay June 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

        How the hell do your arguments for spine safety for squat NOT apply to deadlift? Because the bar is not resting on the top of the spine?

        But it is supported by the hands, which is attached to the arms, attached to the shoulders, attached to the SAME TORSO as the traps or rear delts that support the bar on a back squat. Guess what, the spine is under the same essential compressive force

      • Bryan Stell June 7, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

        Why does anyone listen to anything you say regarding exercise? You clearly know very little.

        • Steve September 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm #

          Lol yeah, this guy’s an idiot. His brain is probably so plaqued up by saturated animal fat.. sigh! Barbell squat the worst exercise, rofl, plz kindly wipe your vagina.

          • laureljan September 8, 2013 at 12:41 am #

            His idiocy has nothing to do with vaginas, I found this article linked by a group of women weight lifters that I’m in. Hundreds of strong women are currently in tears with laughter at the suggestion that squats are dangerous.

            • Anthony Dream Johnson September 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

              Ya, and when your mom was born, women drinking and smoking during pregnancy was normal. Laugh it up. There are no free passes for being a dumb fuck.

              • Squats are the KING of Strength Exercises November 5, 2013 at 8:38 am #

                Wow, you put your controversial thoughts out there and encourage people to comment, and when people, who are free to express their opinion too, do so, you insult them with name calling.

                I’d just like to add that the squat is NOT just a leg exercise. It’s known as a compound lift, meaning it’s a FULL BODY movement. Yes it works the legs, but it also works your core, and even your shoulders and arms. If you don’t like squats, simply don’t do them. But don’t insult people who know how to do them and choose to do them.

                I currently squat 300lbs on a regular basis and I’ve never had an accident, or injury, and my bad back and knees are stronger and cause me no issues since I started squatting.

                And with regards to your comment that over time your risk of injury is 100%, you can say the same about ANY activity every done EVER!!!. You could end up blowing yourself up baking cup cakes is you did it for long enough and made just 1 simple mistake – forget to light the gas.

                Also, it is an exercise. You put 300lbs on your back and squat 5 reps, your heart will be pounding, you will be sweating and short of breath. Give yourself a few minutes rest and do it again for 5 sets. That’s the same “cardio” training as a sprinter, with the added benefit of increased strength.

                And only an idiot would just throw on that much weight in one go and drop. You should start with an empty barbel and gradually increase the strength, warming up properly. If you pay particular attention to executing proper form at all times your risk of injury is MINIMAL.
                And if you squat in a cage or rack the risk is even less.

                Your argument is without constructive thought or sufficient evidence to back up your radical claim. You just put it out there to stir up some sh*t because you’re bored or something. Or you lost a fight with a barbell and this is your way of getting even.

                Fair enough if you have a vendetta against squats, that’s your right. But don’t insult people who choose to do it.

                • Anthony Dream Johnson November 5, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

                  “I currently squat 300lbs on a regular basis and I’ve never had an accident, or injury, and my bad back and knees are stronger and cause me no issues since I started squatting.”

                  Yes, correct, past history guarantees future results. Congratulations, you are the first person in history to think of this.

            • Michael Allen Smith (@CriticalMAS) September 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm #

              @laureljan – You mean that those that demonstrate excellence in a lift that haven’t been injured aren’t open to the possibility that an exercise might be dangerous? That is common.

              The failures are hidden. They stop coming to the gym. To deny the squat produces injuries because you don’t see them is an error.

              The problem with the squat isn’t the squat movement, it is the placement of the weight on the top of the spine. Your legs will get stronger faster than the muscles that support your spinal column. Then one day…ouch. Another young lifter will take your place and the legacy of the almighty back squat will survive.

              The solution is finding a way to build leg strength without compromising the spine. A goblet squat using a lower weight is one idea.

      • Dan June 11, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

        The funniest thing is that everyone who is reading this article while seated in a chair is doing terrible damage to themselves. Why aren’t we reading articles about the problems with sitting?! Let’s address the biggest issue first, since we all sit for HOURS and HOURS every day… then maybe we can talk about exercises that the average person doesn’t even attempt to do.

      • Dr. Layne Norton June 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

        What in the world are you talking about ‘my studies’. You haven’t cited a SINGLE scientific study to support your argument. You are a coward who runs away from a debate because you have no actual evidence so you deflect constantly. You are a self proclaimed expert who has zero credentials or credibility. I doubt you’ve taken even a basic course in physiology. Or any science for that matter.

        • Hartmann October 1, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

          Follow the link on Springer
          Analysis of the load on the knee joint and vertebral column with changes in squatting depth and weight load

          With kind regards

          Hagen Hartmann

          Institute of Sports Sciences, Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main

          • Anthony Dream Johnson October 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

            Ya this is a typical bunch of nonsense. This “study” is not unique, not in its position or in how primitive it is. Or how irrelevant for that matter. Deep vs partial barbell squats is a meaningless debate because the exercise is flawed in the first place.

            Or in the words of school children, does your momma know you’re gay?

            • Cody October 24, 2013 at 9:13 am #

              But you’re lack of any reference should be taken more seriously?

              • Anthony Dream Johnson October 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

                I’m recommending you do nothing and live your life independent of the BB squat unless and until the movement is proven safe. I don’t need proof – anyone recommending you load a 300+ lb barbell on your back after some “practice” needs an abundance of it, however.

      • Mike April 18, 2014 at 10:27 am #

        Not much different than an ink pen..I like the Video Dream..The oblong object, the barbell, stays the same in shape even as you increase the weights on it..It still looks not much different than an ink pen..Its on top of the spine as well..

        The purpose of trying a barbell squat as opposed to other leg exercises is dumb, dangerous and should be banned in all gyms..I care about all the knuckleheads in the gym who have terrible backs and knees from barbell squatting..If the greatest power lifter of all time has a replaced hip, then that tells me of its dangers..How can a replaced hip be a symbol that heavy barbell squats are a good idea..

        Powerlifting will hopefully be a thing of the past..Anything involving a straight bar is quite honestly sad and disturbing..I challenge anyone that wants a disturbing list of bodybuilders and Powerlifters who have terrible back and knee injuries from straight barbell squats.. I can give you so many, its pathetic..You can’t refute Dream’s claim of the terrible barbell squat on the anatomy…

        The only thing you can do is stop straight bar back squatting or cry to your spinal and knee problems and see if tears will lessen the effect..No– tears has no effect on reducing the pain..But stopping back barbell squats will..

        As a small consolation, Dream mentioned that you could put the 300 lb barbell on top of your head and hold it with 2 hands and squat & that might be a worst position..But we are talking about the 2nd worst position since you see this position in the gyms all the time..

        Sometimes you cant avoid a bad car wreck..But a barbell squat can be avoided..It is absolutely the worst popular exercise I see in the gym..Why do I want bad knees and/or lower back..Why do I want a replaced hip..Its because I am a dumb gym straight bar squatter, that’s why..Put it on top of my spine with the same shape & wear it out as I increase the weight, but not the shape of the barbell..Not one iota is the shape of the object any different as you increase the weight to try to build the legs up..

        Be a knucklehead and still do it for all I care..But if you are into extremes to danger, then just put it on top of your head..That would be the only place you could put it that may be worst on the anatomy than on top of your spine..But remember knuckleheads, I am not paying for your surgeries from back straight bar squatting heavy for 10 years or more..And sometimes the operations come less than 10 years of heavy barbell squatting..

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

      Re CrossFit : well, it looks like you’re looking for a specific answer and not a general response to “crossfit”, which is a big topic to take down.

      So, in regards to exactly what you said, doing “a lot” of heavy olympic lifts, very fast, explosively, and to failure, or even close to failure, is just taking a dangerous problem and somehow finding a way to make it even worse.

      I’ve been thinking a lot lately that crossfit™ might actually have a 100% chance of injury when practiced over a lifetime.

      Which of course, is crazy, and should make everyone run from it.

      • Evan June 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

        Not looking for a specific answer, necessarily..

        Personally, used to drink the crossfit koolaid, but injured myself (surprise, surprise) and during the down time read a lot of criticism of it and decided to not return. It has been interesting seeing how popular its become(ing) and more interesting is the prices they charge. In the savings from my injury (cancelled membership) I bought a sizable amount of home gym equipment.

        The programming they employ is “good” (similar to how Sisson suggests sprints every week or every other week), but more so on a ~1.5x per week basis. I’ve seen people go without rest days for LONG periods…surprise surprise, injury.

        In any case, for the squat itself, unsure of your critique. Of course, I did just injury my back (not sure which component) doing squats, but it was more due to lack of form and too quick advancement of weight on my part. So, I agree w/ your take partially wrt the risk of the movement…it IS a surprisingly complex/intricate movement and I should have devoted much more effort to learning/executing it properly. It’s definitely something that would need coaching (in person or online via videos) and not a movement that is relatively intuitive, like the press or bench press.

        I will say calling out Rippetoe was unfortunate, b/c while he does recommend squats, he does so in a very detailed manner while offering a place (forums or in person) to give and get feedback, and does surprisingly take the time to offer feedback himself. Better to have a coach, of sorts, then watch the gym rats perform the wrong movement and attempt to emulate them.

        • Anthony Parks June 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

          The issue with crossfit it not with crossfit its with no rest! Any program .. running , cycling, lifting , whatever… if you over train .. and dont rest enough.. you will get INJURED .. Cross fit isnt for everyone.. if you dedicate yourself to any practice of anything 7 times a week you will see results … period. .

      • Tommy June 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

        Then again every exercise program practiced over a lifetime has a 100% chance of death so let’s stop exercising all together. Flawed logic.

      • Nick June 19, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

        Are you a chiropractor? Do you know a single thing about anatomy, health and fitness? The bar isn’t on top of your spine anyways idiot, your doing it wrong. Only way to damage your spine due to compression is if you obviously aren’t strong enough to do the weight. And if you damage your vertabrea you don’t die, you have to damage the spinal chord. What do you think of overhead squats? More dangerous and no compression, what about bench press and falling on your throat, front squats, push press/jerk, military press. I think yOur confusing box squats with bad for the spine. And how are you suppose to train your legs, for people like me (firefighter) I need powerful chest, legs, and back to help people in danger. So then why are we allowed to do squats and are recommended to do them?

        • Arachanski April 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm #

          Cartilage isn’t trainable, you idiot. And chiropractors ARE charlatans.

      • Dan Pope June 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

        Just thought this was a funny statement, if there was ever a chance of walking outside and getting hit by a car would you never go outside either?

      • Marcus Herou September 20, 2012 at 7:30 am #

        I agree. And that is why CrossFit is evolving into what it actually came from.

        Strength and Conditioning.

        Bout the Squat.

        I am designing programs for quite a lot of people. My observation is that none so far have been injured by Back/front Squatting nor cleaning. The two most dangerous exercises for the spine in my opinion is high rep deadlifts and overhead pressing/jerking for time. Even though most peoples spine looks like crap in the power cleans they tend to have a tighter core naturally than in the overhead exercises.

        The last year I have seen at least 5 pretty decent athletes hurt themselves doing deadlifts.

        None squatting.

        Cheers and good luck with all the haters here ;)

      • Squat Deep Or Go Home!! November 5, 2013 at 8:46 am #

        Bloody hell. Eating every day over the course of your life can result in 100% injury eventually. You can choke and die on a piece of meat. Should I become vegetarian? Your comment is the so ridiculous, nothing more than to scare people into believing your crazy rants.

        • Anthony Dream Johnson November 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

          Wtf kind of piss poor logic is this? Eating via your mouth is basically unavoidable. It is a requirement of normal human life. Whether it results in an injury now or 20 years from now is irrelevant, because the act is not optional.

          Sticking a 300+ lb barbell on your back is the definition of “optional” in this context and has no relation to absolute requirements of human life.

          Fucking idiot.

          • Joe January 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

            its funny how you pick and choose which comments to respond to. Seems like you somehow forget to respond to the ones with legitimate, well-thought out critiques and just respond to stupid ones like this.

            • Anthony Dream Johnson January 17, 2014 at 3:45 pm #

              This is my personal blog. I’m usually busy with a larger company I run. My responses here are selective as such.

    • Kevin June 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

      This is quite possibly one of the most poorly developed, anecdotal arguments I have ever read. How can I get this time back?

      Good luck with your fitness goals and hocking “panorama event for life on earth,” whatever that is, on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

      • Kevin June 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

        ^ The above comment was in reference to the ‘article.’

    • Anthony June 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      Anthony I am ashamed that we share the same name

      Your logic is flawed and you look like the only thing you have ever lifted are little pink dumbbells. Squats are a natural movement that are great for the legs, okay you can injure yourself if you do not use correct form but this article is a load of trash and you need a good slap for this scaremongering.

    • Dr. Layne Norton June 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      I would talk about how running produces just as much of not more force and compression on the spine than squats, so I assume you think the human body was also not built to run correct? I know you won’t respond to that or any other valid point myself and others have made. You would rather continue to hide from the valid research that has been brought up.

      This reminds me of a quote from a wise man I once heard “Do not argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

      You certainly have the experience edge sir.

      • Anthony Dream Johnson June 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

        Running doesn’t require loading a 300lb bar at the top of your spine, nor is your spine embedded in your feet, ankles, shins, knees, and thighs.

        Drop the macho “Im a little boy inside” workout routine combined with a website and some angry music and get a clue.

      • Squat Deep Or Go Home!! November 5, 2013 at 8:55 am #

        “Do not argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
        This is a fantastic quote ;o)

    • Dr. Layne Norton June 13, 2012 at 3:05 pm #

      Once again confirming your ignorance on force production when your foot hits the ground vs. remaining grounded with a back squat. I suppose things like velocity, power, impact, etc should mean something to you but I keep forgetting I’m trying to debate with an idiot. “Do not argue with an idiot, they will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience”

      I also think it’s cute how he’s signing up other screen names on his little blog so that he can act like there are people who actually agree with him.

      • Ernesto July 11, 2012 at 2:49 am #

        Uh, I agree with him. Feel to reach me via my website to verify I’m not him. Secondly, what kind of a jerk “Dr” are you? How just try being an adult an drop the personal and juvinile attacks.

        • Gary Beilby August 7, 2012 at 8:49 am #

          Wellll, Ernesto – you’re a web developer – I have no idea whether you have any personal experience with exercise. Layne is a powerlifter of substantial prowess – he can back squat over 600lbs (I’ve no idea what his PB is – that’s just from his workouts in recent weeks). He is the kind of jerk “Dr” who has a PhD in nutritional science. His whole life largely revolves around the science of safe, drug-free weight lifting.

          On the balance I think most people will respect his opinion on this matter over yours, or “the dream’s”.

          For my own experience, I’ve been working out for about 3 years (age 45). Been doing back squats and deadlifts for the last 3 months. The squats have been steadily improving my knees, however I injured my lower back doing deadlifts the other day. My fault – poor technique. I’m now rectifying that by studying Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” book.

          Any exercise has 100% chance of injury if performed for long enough with inadequate form. A total lack of exercise has 100% chance of poor health if practiced for long enough. My health has improved massively in the last 3 years. I used to have regular lower back pain, asthma and shitty knees. And I couldn’t keep up with my 14 year old son. Now he can’t keep up with me and this back sprain is the first exercise injury I have copped over this period.

          • Anthony Dream Johnson August 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

            “A total lack of exercise has 100% chance of poor health if practiced for long enough.”

            Yeah … no it doesn’t.

            This is the “something is always better than nothing fallacy”, and it is fundamentally fucked-up-beyond-all-recognition.

            You are better off doing nothing, than _________ (squatting, cross-fit, P90X, etc).

            • laureljan September 8, 2013 at 12:45 am #

              Actually, there is a huge amount of peer-reviewed evidence that a total lack of exercise causes poor health. Dude. Did you even try looking?

              • Anthony Dream Johnson September 11, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

                Exercise is not being defined by those “researchers”, so this point is moot, perhaps even, absurd. You have a slightly better argument with “total lack of physical activity”, but not by much, and no, exercise is not “physical activity”. If it was, taking a big shit would be “exercise”.

                Your immediate response to this is likely the knee-jerk “something is always better than nothing”, which is absolutely false. Most of the population is MUCH better off doing nothing and “walking” than doing what they believe to be “exercise”, which is a sorry excuse for bio-mechanically nutso dumb fuckery with life altering injuries in the near, or distant future stacking up like jenga pieces.

          • midget February 14, 2013 at 12:41 am #

            That makes it just so much sadder that he is using this uncalled for, badly spoken, badly mannered, aggressive language to refute.

    • JJ October 3, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      One time I heard that oranges were bad for you, this is almost as bad.

  2. Robert June 1, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    You provide absolutely no scientific proof to back up your asinine claims. Thousands of athletes, for years, have used the squat to strengthen, not only the legs, but the glutes, upper/lower back, and abs. Not once, since squats became a mainstay, has there been a rash of catastrophic injury. I will agree that squat CAN be dangerous if done improperly with poor form, or for those with joint and other mobility issues….but death? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s laughable at best. And as I said in the YouTube comments before you had then removed to hide the overwhelmingly flood of correct, dissenting opinion, I will put my training methodologies up against your’s any day of the week. Taking strength training cues from you is like asking Britney Spears for parenting advice.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

      Actually the 3 points I’m making are scientifically valid and easily observable — it’s the conclusions I’m drawing from these basic observation that annoys you.

      Heck, you can see that the spine has a slight pyramid shape to it just but looking at the crappy, but accurate, image of the spine embeded on this blog post.

      It sounds like it might be for you, but in general, It’s not rocket science.

      Nor is the fact that the only supporting bone structure between a 300lb barbell and your legs — the intended and primary working muscle group — is your SPINE.

      Sounds to me like you’re calling fundamental observations of the human body “asinine”, making you my good sir, double/triple na na na boo boo asinine.

      Re the Youtube comments : I turned them off because the comment system here is better for me and the commenters. Youtube comments quickly have a “mob rule” effect where the biggest, loudest retards get heard most, drowning out good, well thought discussion — both ways.

      Re your “methodologies”, based solely on your comment here, I’d rather take workout advice from Mr. Rogers.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

      “I will agree that squat CAN be dangerous if done improperly with poor form”

      I just realized, you are making my point and not even realizing it.

      Question bud : how old are you and how many more decades do you expect to be barbell squatting?

      Second question : are you really so arrogant to think that over the next 20, 30, and 40 years, you won’t make a *single* mistake?

      Like I said in the post, keep dreamin.

      I hear it’s the best cure for permanent paralysis! After laughter of course.

      • Robert June 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

        Going to go ahead and kill two birds with one stone in this reply:

        You have provided NO scientific citations to backup your 3 points. A picture of the spine and saying things “seem” wrong and “appear” to be a bad idea is NOT scientific proof. You totally, maybe purposefully, fail to acknowledge the support functions of the spinal electors, rhombus, traps, lats and abs as if when squatting our spine is all alone to shoulder the load like a cooked spaghetti noodle. You have also conveniently left out how weight training increases bone density which in case you haven’t heard, makes them stronger. What better way to strengthen all those tiny bones you keep blabbering about than to directly load it with a barbell and squat?

        Furthmore, your speculative rate of injury is based on a person’s lifetime which averages 80 years…forget squatting for a moment, how many times can you expect to be in an auto accident in that time frame? But you still drive to work, don’t you? Are you going to stop eating bc you bit your tongue once? No, shit happens, all the time, and even if it’s a task you have completed a million times, you are bound to make a mistake. I never once said that squats were perfectly safe. You have to do it correctly, and if that means starting off with an empty bar to learn the motion, then so be it. So no, I didn’t prove your point at all, because you’re going on about this as if no matter what a person does, they will cripple themselves and die bc of it.

        As far as my age, I’m 31. I’ve been weight training for various sports off and on for the last 15 years. And I expect to squat for as long as I feel like being competitive.

        • Cheeser June 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

          Great stuff

        • Ryan June 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

          Well put.

        • Vic June 2, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

          I admire you for trying to argue your points with someone like the author of this blog, and I admire you for trying to spread truth and have sound debate, but I recommend you do not do such things. It’s a waste of your time. Many people (perhaps most people) are so ill-prepared academically that they honestly cannot tell the difference between a conclusion drawn from an actual argument and a conclusion forced out of loaded claims and bias. You can tell this guy how his showing a picture of a spine and saying “just look at it! pfft! There’s no way that thing is designed to carry a load”… You can tell him that this doesn’t actually constitute an argument, but he will not understand why. Because he doesn’t have the tools to do so; he’s dumb and uneducated. It’s as if you were dimitry klokov and you were trying to teach the snatch to a 3 year old who’s never seen a barbell. The 3 year old will swing the barbell(broomstick) in an arc above his head, and if you don’t break it down and tell him exactly what he’s doing wrong he will swear his technique looks the same as yours.

          The same thing happens with uneducated people who never acquired critical thinking skills. If you’re going to point out the error in his claim that “pfft! just look at this thing! there’s no way this thing is designed to carry a load!” You may need to draw from concepts in civil engineering, physics, and material science. You may have to draw analogs to engineering designs to explain to him how the “sturdiness” of things is not always intuitive; One of my favorite things to “wow” the uneducated with is explaining how bicycle spokes work (the weight of the whole bicycle is carried at any given time by the two spokes which pull the axle towards the top of each of the 2 rims). Then, after explaining something like that, I proceed to elaborate on how many other things are not intuitive either and this is actually why people go to college to learn physics and engineering. If a PT with 3 certifications (and who is so dumb he couldn’t even get through a bullshit major in college) could have an intuitive understanding of kinematics and materials engineering, universities would be superfluous.

          The reason I suggest that doing this is a waste of your time is because I’ve wasted much of my time doing the same kind of stuff, only to later find the same person babbling about stuff which they haven’t the faintest clue of.

          Look up the dunning kruger effect. The internet has made this common flaw of western civilization into a chronic disease; the cult of the amateur is just too prevalent to fight any more. If someone honestly things that “just look at this picture! it’s obvious that this structure can’t bear weight!” constitutes a logical argument, then, my friend, all you can do is chuckle and walk away.

          • JonG June 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

            Best reply EVER!!! I love it! “it’s obvious that this structure can’t bear weight!”….yeah, because a stack of small components formed into an arch is soooo intrinsicly weak, I mean, only an idiot would try to load weight onto such a structure!

            • teekay June 8, 2012 at 2:26 am #

              Funny comment. It sounds almost like you’re talking about a bridge, or a bearing wall with an arch doorway in it. But that kinda crazy stuff would never work.

          • Lars June 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

            Best reply ever. I agree with 100% of this. The dunning-kruger effect should be taught in elementary school.

          • Matt H June 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

            …very well said, you cant argue with someone’s opinion, especially if he state’s ‘prove to me the barbell squat is safe, and while your at it prove to me god is real also’. he’s clealry an idiot, arguing his opinion not fact. that is easily discernable when he claims an olympic bar isnt much thicker than a BIC pen, or the bar sits on top of the spine. neither of which are true, the bar should sit on the part of your back known as the ‘yoke’, blah blah blah. i guess my point is i just wasted 5mins of my life cause of the dream weaver, dont make the same mistake…

          • manikk June 4, 2012 at 3:49 am #


            Just for some credability, I am half way through a Masters in Mech. Engineering and my apologies for ‘calling you out’ but your comment is ridiculous. So here is an ‘educated’ (using your assumption that a University education determines good education) person debunking what you have said. It is important for you to realise that in any school of Engineering, making evaluations via. intuition is very important. Fundamentally, if something doesn’t look right, analysis must be performed. Whilst I do not specialise in bio-mechanics, it suggests from observation that whilst the spine may perform well under compressive stress, it certainly does not look as if it would perform in a lateral direction or very well under any shear stress.

            Instead of your comment discussing the surprising “sturdiness” (incidentally, your inverted commas confirm that you in fact have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to mechanics). You should rather discuss why the spine CAN perform well under the forces induced from a squat rather than critisicing that Anthony is not.

            It is SOO clear that INTUITIVELY the spine should NOT be put under these loads. Therefore, prove why it can but with use of bio mechanics rather than through the use of anecdotal evidence.

            On a quick other note: Why even do squats when there are other exercises that have zero risk? Even if you have a heart attack mid-leg press a machine will catch the weight.

            • John Malkovich June 5, 2012 at 10:55 am #

              you spelled *realize wrong (realise)……..not too sure how educated you are. HAHAHA. shit-tard

              • Joe A June 5, 2012 at 11:41 am #

                Realise and realize are different spellings of the same word. Realize is the preferred spelling in American and Canadian English, and realise is preferred outside North America.

                Before you comment, you should ‘realize’ that the world wide web is available outside of America.

              • Alex June 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

                You fucking asshat, you found a word that’s not even spelled wrong, and is buried in a wall of text but missed the error in the fifth goddamn word.

                What should we infer about your reading comprehension based on that?

            • Greg June 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

              Manikk, when you graduate and become an engineer you may come to understand an important principle. Sometimes your intuition tells you that a particular bridge could not stand up. Your analysis tells you that the bridge could not possibly stand up. Then you look at the bridge and observe that it is standing up, it is much trafficked and it has been for decades. An engineer goes back to the drawing board at this point to discover why the intuition and analysis were wrong. The reason is usually some combination of a lack of basic knowledge, bias, and an accumulation of mistakes.

              The observation that numerous individuals have squatted in excess of 1,000 pounds is all you need to refute the arguments in this post. Failing that you could consult a professional such as Dr. Layne Norton (who posted above) or Mark Rippetoe, who both have the knowledge and practical experience with this exercise that Mr. Dream so clearly lacks.

              • Nicholas July 25, 2012 at 11:02 am #

                The fallacy here is so obvious, I can’t even… Just because a disaster has not happened YET does not necessarily mean that the bridge is, in fact, safe! Same with squats. Just because someone was able to squat 1,000 lbs does not in any way prove that squats are safe. Even an idiot can understand that much… the entire premise of your post is one big obnoxious logical fallacy, sir.

                • Greg July 26, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

                  You might reread my post, as I never said anything about safety. I was pointing out the fact that if your analysis does not match reality, it is your analysis, and not reality, that is incorrect.

                  But since you asked: is the lack of a disaster over a long period of time proof of safety? Of course not. Is it evidence of safety? Yes, absolutely.

          • George Hernandez June 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

            best reply ever!

        • Dr. Layne Norton June 5, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

          The scientific terminology for that reply is ‘owned’


      • Thor June 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

        “Question bud : how old are you and how many more decades do you expect to be barbell squatting?”

        You’re not even thirty;You haven’t graduated college (Interdisciplinary Studies is second only to ‘Communications’ as a worthless, easy to achieve degree.); and you haven’t apparently learned the scientific method, or basic logic. Yet, YOU have the audacity to claim to have more knowledge about kinesthetics than the overwhelming majority of exercise scientists, weightlifters and professional athletes?

        I’ve been squatting for over a decade, MOST of the time with piss poor form, and yet, I’ve not sustained anything more than some DOMS in my lumbar region. I am in no way unique. This, plus the multiple references I’ve linked, make your arguments invalid.

        • Bman June 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

          Does a guy really need to be 30 and graduate college to gain knowledge?

          He challenged the the knowledge of majority of food scientists, professional athletes, and nutritionists and happened to be on the correct train of thought there. Thing I’ve noticed about Anthony is that he seeks knowledge from other people who have spent their time diving into studies of certain areas.

          Hence you have people who have a passion for understanding the science of food coming forth and telling us that even though nutritionists will tell you that you need X amount of carbohydrates from grains, and that fat and cholesterol are to be absolutely avoided at all costs. True science has demonstrated otherwise.

          Likewise- you have bodybuilding magazines telling you to do a million different exercises from different angles, drink muscle milk, and eat protein bars full of chemicals you can not pronounce. The guys who have done the real studies on physiology and body mechanics will tell you a different story.

          Can you perform dangerous exercises with bad form on a regular basis and see results? Absolutely. I see guys at the gym who are jacked, ripped, and yanking and throwing weights around in such a way its a miracle they haven’t blown out their backs and torn muscles. Does it mean that its safe because they’re all doing it? I would argue otherwise.

          • Alex June 3, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

            You know what, I think I’ll challenge a norm too. How about aeronautics? I don’t really have an aeronautics background, but I read a book by some guy who doesn’t cite studies that says people can fly. I’m an expert in aeronautics, and if the people who put million dollar planes in the sky knew anything about basic aeronautics, they’d know that humans should be flying, not walking! I mean, look how streamlined your head seems! How could you not be meant for flight? If you put your arms out they’re kinda like wings.

            Just because you go against the norm doesn’t make you credible or correct. This man is not credible, and therefore without evidence we cannot assume he’s correct. Especially when he frequently asserts that Olympic athletes and coaches have no clue about exercise.

            ALSO, possibly most importantly, this man has refused to provide evidence in favor of his argument (at one point claiming that, because of some bullshit and ill-informed logic, he did not have to) where the people he argues against have cited dozens of “REAL STUDIES ON PHYSIOLOGY AND BODY MECHANICS.” This guy is a quack.

          • ganic June 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

            The difference between challenging commonly accepted nutritional “facts” that are oh so wrong except in poorly conducted studies and challenging an exercise that obviously works to specifications (strengthening bones, muscles, increase in all around fitness) is that one challenge is supported by well conducted scientific evidence, and the other is just plain ignorant.
            Prove to me the earth is not flat. Oh yeah, I’m gonna call all the pictures photoshopped.

      • Lars June 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

        Actually, making a mistake every now and then while squatting isn’t that terrible. On contrary to what common sense would dictate, your body can take bad form on max effort lifts pretty well. Consistently lifting with bad form however is what really takes a toll on your back. Squatting is basic way for your body to move(look at how an infant uses a shovel for example) and once you get the hand of it you have to be pretty mindless in order to start squatting with bad form.

      • Matt June 10, 2012 at 1:17 am #

        Dr. Norton schooled you, kid.

      • DonnieDarko June 10, 2012 at 1:37 am #

        There are no guarantees you won’t make a mistake when crossing the road, or maybe driving the car – both of which could lead to death; shit, I’d better wrap myself in cotton wool and never leave the house. I will however leave enough gaps for my fingers and ears so I can still type on my keyboard and use my phone….but what if I get radiation poisoning?! Oh man what shall I do, this world just isn’t safe…..fuck it, I’m off to the gym to lift some weights and get better for life – good luck in the cotton wool wrapped world, let’s hope there is no new evidence to suggest cotton wool can be harmful! Mind you, who needs evidence…cotton wool is lethal by the way; it has this kind of effect on your brain where you think something that you can’t do, nobody else should either – scary stuff…

      • GDC June 25, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

        76 year old man at York Barbell’s Strongman and Masters IPA powerlifting competition: “I’ve been training for 49 years, 15 weeks ago I just broke my squat record with 450.” …… Explain to me how he is doing this, please?

      • Tiffany June 6, 2013 at 10:42 am #

        It’s unfair to have such a nasty reaction to those that disagree with you. Form & ego truly are the determining factors in whether or not a person will become injured. My coaches at Crossfit are constantly watching over me and talking me off my own cliffs and I realize now more than ever, why building platform strength slowly, is so vitally important. People will push their bodies to an extreme just to get an RX. And it’s human nature to do so. People want to know what they’re capable of and there’s nothing wrong with that however it is a recipe for injury. I’m learning to move with lighter weight and keep my form solid until it’s extremely easy for me at one weight, then I’ll up.

        The only issue with Crossfit is that it brings out the competitive side in people such that they will put down their form and blast out movements without taking the time they need to approach them properly. And yea, that’s stupid dangerous and they end up burning out due to injury, then blaming Crossfit. I’ve had coaches stop me mid-WOD and take my weight down bc I was sacrificing “form for fast.” Wasn’t their fault, it was my own. I swear, lifters need some rational judgment education early on. (me included!)

        That same issue of competitiveness is also what brings folks back to Crossfit and keeps them motivated to continue to become stronger and healthier however. Also, we are not loading the spine solely when we back-squat. That weight is not hinging at one specific point. It’s distributed through the shoulder girdle (not the cervical vertebrae), and held evenly by the entire body. People’s egos are the issue, not the back-squat. If you have someone that comes into the gym needing to prove their worth via weight, then yea, it’s probably a 100% chance of injury on it’s way. But that guy/girl is going to do it somehow, no matter what, until they learn to find their worth elsewhere. Then the game becomes more about loving the body you’re in, keeping it healthy and making it strong. Part of that is a LOT of mobility work in between lifting sessions.. another thing weight lifters tend to skimp out on.

        I LOVE Crossfit and I also love my body. So I constantly remind myself to move with caution and a relative amount of grace. I think that will keep my body safe while it continues to become stronger. I hope! :)

        • Anthony Dream Johnson June 6, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

          Hey Tiffany

          Injury in the pursuit of health is fucking stupid. Stoooopid.

          Guess what is going to happen if you continue CrossFit?

  3. Donnie Hunt June 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    I have went back and forth on some similar thoughts with exercises like the squat and other exercises. When someone says the squat is functional, I can see that if we are talking the similarities of carrying a heavy backpack or carrying a person on your shoulders. But when doing either of these things when would you “squat” in the manner you do during a squat? To keep with Anthony’s point is it ever a good idea to load a heavy weight across you shoulders, short of trying carry someone who is injured. Getting a bit of point here but has anybody thought about this same type thing regarding the bottom of a bench press, the top of a row, the top of a lateral raise? Yes I know I’m getting off track of “muscle joint function”. Then the question comes to me how else would one safely train the neck other than following “muscle joint and function”?

    • teekay June 8, 2012 at 2:36 am #

      Watch an older laborer or hod carrier at work. They usually try to get as far under the weight as possible before lifting it. It’s pretty much a squat.

  4. Jag U. Ar June 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    First rule of blogging: always attack up. If I’m insignificant and want to draw more traffic, find someone noteworthy and bite his ankles off!

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

      Yes that’s it. Discuss a controversial topic, attract hate mail, build a quality blog following.

      Exactly how it works.

  5. Donnie Hunt June 1, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    My post is a bit of a mess towards the end. What I am trying address is, is it good for the body, over time, loading it in various ranges that don’t use the bodies leverage advantages? Yes, currently i do many conventional exercises but tend avoid the full or extreme stretch ranges and some fully contracted ranges. Whenever I lift, push or pull something heavy outside the weight room (use leverage to my advantage) it looks quite different from what I do in the weight room. Is this “good” for my lifetime even using slow contolled movements?? Just wanted to get others thoughts on this.

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm #


      Clearly Mr. Dream is too sidetracked trying to figure out how to make a reasonable argument to his wild assertions, and he has forgotten about you or missed your question entirely. Let me, if I may, help you out.

      Using your body leverages, or biomechanical advantages, is also known to many in the lifting world as “Good Form”. When you lift, push, or pull things at work, most likely you have been instructed in the correct way to do so by your company’s Health and Safety dept correct? Things like: “lift with your legs, not with your back”, “keep the load close to your body”, “do not twist at the waist carrying a load”, etc., are using body leverages bc it is the safest way to do the job. Using a movement pattern that doesn’t utilize body leverages will not make you stronger and will increase your chance of injury. I’m not quite sure what you mean by fully stretched or contracted ranges, but if you’re talking about avoiding a full range of motion(ROM), I would reccomend against that. You will progress faster by doing so.

      Let me know if I can assist further.

      • Donnie Hunt June 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

        Hey Robert,

        Thanks for taking the time to respond to my comments and questions. I have enjoyed strength training/bodybuilding/weight lifting/resistance training for a long time. I check out alot of different websites like this one because I can’t seem to stop reading about building muscle, lol.

  6. Charles Dahl June 2, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    I do deadlifts with slow controlled movements (following Mentzer’s Heavy duty consolidated training protocol), but I gave up doing free weight barbell squats because of the very real possibility of injury, the rational fear of which has thereby kept me from doing the move with anything like a sufficient level of intensity. I don’t know what your take is on Smith machine squats, but I will do them occasionally–mostly I alternate between leg presses and deadlifts.
    Just watching you elucidate the dangers of squats makes my lower backexperience a sharp pain lol. It also reminds of my father, who was a family practice doctor and by no means a sports therapist, but who nevertheless saw literally hundreds of college and high school athletes with torn muscles, joint damage and –yes, Robert–spinal injuries from doing this sacred cow movement. I agree with your conclusion, but I’m utterly mystified as to why it should be so controversial.

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 1:56 am #

      Oh! Oh! I want to play the”Anecdotal Evidence Game” too! I played football and ran track all through highschool and most of college. I trained with “literally hundreds” of high school and college athletes in that 7 year time frame. Not ONE of them suffered a catastrophic injury due to squats. So between you, and Mr. Friend of a Friend whose kneecaps shot across the room like the button on a fat guy’s pants, my little piece of “evidence” should balance things out a bit for anybody else who comes here looking for info. Btw I love how ya’ll refer to squatting as a sacred cow, as if it’s supposed to bother us squatters. It doesn’t. It IS a sacred cow. When done correctly, it is, bar none, the most efficient and effective movement at building leg and core strength. It also, next to Olympic lifts, has the greatest carryover of speed and power to the athletic field. What you and Dr. Dream fail to realize here, is that serious strength training comes with some risk, and when done correctly, the benefits of free weight exercise far outweigh the risks. Being a competitive lifter, my risk is higher than others, but there is absolutely no reason why any reasonably healthy person can’t benefit from such a great exercise.

      • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

        I hate to say it, but as a competitive lifter (meaning you’re an athlete performing athletic movements, not exercise) the day’s coming when you’ll say

        “Dream told me so.”

        “Serious” strength training has a risk of injury so highly mitigated the risk effectively drops to 0%. If you think traumatic injury is necessary for strength gains, you’re probably the dumbest person to ever visit this blog.

        • Robert June 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

          Good job side stepping every point I made against your “scientific” claims.

        • Robert June 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

          You are confusing what I do…I’m a powerlifter, not an Olympic lifter. I do the same bench, squat, and deadlift other “lifters” do, only for the purposes of competition. I do not clean&press or snatch.

        • DJ June 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

          “Meaning you’re an athlete performing athletic movements, not exercise”


          Activity requiring physical effort, carried out esp. to sustain or improve health and fitness.

          Just like playing basketball isn’t exercise. You sound like the guy at the gym who does elliptical while talking on his cell phone for 20 minutes then pretends to know how to bicep curl for 7 reps and goes home.

        • Dray June 19, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

          Actually…I’ve seen a few studies covering how strength training has a lower chance of injury than just about any other sport. Funny how that works.

      • Cheeser June 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm #


    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

      In a few decades, it probably won’t be controversial. It will be considered common sense to not put a 300 lb bar at the top of your spine.

      • Thor June 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

        From your BIO: Anthony was an enrolled student at UCF (3) from June of 2006 until January of 2010. Studying for a degree in interdisciplinary studies, with a minor in entrepreneurship, Anthony promptly dropped out of college upon failing, for the second time in a row.

        Dude, you couldn’t manage an interdisciplinary studies degree. You can’t provide any actual science behind anything you’re selling (FYI – most kinesiologists would argue that the spine is one of the most resilient aspects of our body,) and you look like you’ve never squatted more than your bodyweight.

        You are a self-aggrandizing too who is obviously suffering from the dunning-kruger effect.

        • Robert June 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm #


        • Vic June 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

          oh wow, i had actually stopped reading any comments before i posted my own, and then I bump into someone that thought the same thing I thought. Cheers for recognizing an idiot who was so dumb he couldn’t even get through a bullshit major and who’s trapped in a bubble of over-estimating his abilities and under-estimating the complexity of everything he encounters.

      • Kevin June 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

        You have no business talking about this, and poisoning the minds of other people who are trying to learn about exercise. You are not educated, and based on this I wonder if you are even literate…do a little research on the benefits of axial loading. There is not a single legitimate professional that would agree with you about telling healthy adults not to squat. THIS is why people don’t trust information from the internet.

    • Daniel Vong June 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      Most of those “hundreds” of college and high school with torn muscles, joint damage and spinal injures from squats (assuming you’re not making it up) are probably from bad technique, form and big egos. Something common amongst teenagers with bad coaches (You’ll be able to find a lot of videos on youtube of high school and college kids with terrible form in the weight room). A smith machine is even MORE dangerous than a barbell, forces you into unnatural fixed motions. The leg press can actually be just as dangerous as well.

  7. Charles Dahl June 2, 2012 at 2:23 am #

    Your ad hominem arguments and appeals to the majority, are poor substitutes for logical reasoning. Strength training has always had “sacred cows”,which are just beliefs everyone “knows” that are simply false.Thirty years ago bodybuilders everywhere “knew” that you just had to train six days a week, just like they “knew” that fat causes fat and aerobic exercise was an effective avenue to burn it off. The truth is that a lot of concrete-bound trainees like yourself have substituted hearsay and gym folklore for evidence. The purpose of strength training and bodybuilding, properly understood is to grow stronger.Why not do it safely? If an exercise creates ever increasing risks of fatal injury, and you can easily substitute a safer alternative, and you don’t, you are simply a moron.

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 3:08 am #

      There’s that “f” word again. The boogeyman waiting around the corner during my squat workout looking for the perfect opportunity to jump out and strike me dead….Lmfao. you do realize that there is inherent risk in all weightlifting activities right? Blow a shoulder bench pressing. Rupture a disk deadlifting. Bust your ass because your grip slipped on the chinup bar, tear up your joints using a Smith machine…all kinds of things can happen. Does that mean you just throw out 90% of the equipment in the gym and turn it into a cardio factory with two bowflexes in the corner? No, you learn how to do it safely. If the rate of fatality from squats was really as high as you and Anthony are making it out to be, there wouldn’t be one insurance company in existence willing to provide a liability policy to any gym with a squat rack. There is a correct and safe way to squat. Making a statement to the effect of putting a 300 lb bar on your neck already tells me that Anthony Dream Johnson doesn’t know proper squat form to begin with and therefore is not qualified to advise for or against the exercise.

  8. NorthOfVag June 2, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    Brb, squatting 405 for reps… but just in case I don’t make it… thanks for the warning.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

      1 deep muscle spasm and your ability to walk is up for grabs.

      Enjoy your squats.

      • luriko June 2, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

        what kind of shitty argument is this…

        seriously, your article doesn´t make sense and funny is how you make make yourself a preacher “I told ya…”

      • Robert June 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

        Seriously? That’s your reply…one deep brain aneurism while you are doing anything and say good-bye!!

        Learn some biomechanics (if you can ever manage to get through your degree you started once upon a time) and come back and review the bullshit reasoing you have for not squatting.

        The SAID principle – Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand – this is how our body works

        Our spine does not act alone, it is surrounded by muscles and is supported by the whole torso.

        Final note, you are a loser! Drawing conclusions from one guy’s book, no wonder you failed college!

  9. BamaNeck313 June 2, 2012 at 6:13 am #

    If’n yous knows so much, how comes yous looks like crap?

  10. Julian June 2, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    The thing with this post is, there is no real evidence. Its simple as that. There have been studies done measuring the bone densitiy of powerlifters and mathematical models were used to calculate how much their spine could load. Because people were thinking exactly what you do did here, how can they squat 800 lbs without hurting their spine. Its because their body adapted and their spine can now load far more then the average spine.

    Now to your second point, the squat is not meant to be an isolation exercise like if you try to workout your triceps. Thats exactly why people do the squat, because it involves almost the whole body, from the lower back, abs, legs to the upper back, neck and even parts of the arms. Everything needs to be under tension, this is the exercise that will give you the most benefits because it activates the most muscle groups. Its not a bug, its a feature and intended to be that way.

    If you look at the injury rate in the gym, it is very close to zero. Its far far far less injuring then e.g. jogging or other activities. The thing that accounts for almost all of these few injuries is dropping the weights on your feet. Something that will hardly happen with squats. So as long as you show at least any evidence of the risk of injury. There are studies out there that look at this, you failed to even look for them.

    “Rates of acute and recurring injuries were calculated to be 3.3 injuries/1000 hours of weightlifting exposure.”

    “The recommended number of training days missed for most injuries was 1 day or fewer (90.5%) – The injuries typical of elite weightlifters are primarily overuse injuries, not traumatic injuries compromising joint integrity. These injury pattems and rates are similar to those reported for other sports and activities.”

    You actually already have a FAR lower rate of injury compared to other sports. And thats with competitive weightlifters that use a lot of bouncing and stuff, not the average guy doing some squats. Of these already few incidences, almost all are resolved within 1 day. I fail to see any people mentioned that would now need a wheelchair. Please provide me with these.

    To add some more to all of this:

    “Weightlifters have less lower back pain compared to the average person and far less then for example wrestlers have. Strange, huh, if they’re supposed to break their back during weight lifting.”

    Now look at the injury rates of sports:

    “Soccer: 6 Injuries per 100 hours
    Basketball: 1 Injury per 100 hours
    Squash: 0.1 Injuries per 100 hours
    Powerlifting: 0.0008 Injuries per 100 hours [1 injury per 121,208 hours]
    Weightlifting: 0.0006 [1 injury per 165,551 hours]”

    If you do powerlifting 4 times a week for an hour you would need to accumulate 631 years of lifting to get your injury, and most injuries are just simple ones that you can recover from in a day.

    PS: Leg extensions, leg press and lots of machine exercise are measured to put more stress on the knees compared to squats.

    PPS: Please show me the evidence of people crushing their spines during the squat.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

      A. Correlation does not = causation.

      B. “We collected and analyzed medical injury records of resident athletes and during numerous training camps to generate an injury profile.”

      This study drew data from *recorded*, meaning *reported* incidents from athletes, who have nothing to do with the average trainee, who is not performing a sport, with barbells, or otherwise.

      The reported part is probably most important from that statement.

      C. I didn’t say anything about a leg extension, nor are all leg presses equal. They vary dramatically. A poorly designed one … is a poorly designed one.

      • Robert June 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

        Then post your findings. I can claim I did a study that found evidence contrary to yours. Saying it’s so doesn’t make it that way.

        • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

          Objective reality is not determined by statistics, or the number of studies a person is able to reference.

          • Robert June 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

            But studies and statistics can help paint an overall picture as to the accuracy of your claims…so in other words, you’ve got nothing. Just as I thought.

          • Julian June 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

            Though its even far less determined just because someone makes a claim that I can just make the opposite claim. How do we find out what objective reality is? The scientific method helped us find cures against all kinds of diseases, helped you to be able to sit in front of your computer and write with me even though i’m thousands of miles away.

            You think just claiming something without evidence is better then using the scientific method and arguing with some kind of data and reasoning to support it?

            If I were to conduct a study that people who use heroine are more likely to develop addiction and health problems compared to people that were administered a placebo, you would just say “Objective reality is not determined by statistics, or the number of studies a person is able to reference.” and therefore my argument is invalid?

          • Sean June 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

            Ever heard the phrase “mathematics is the language of nature”? Statistics and objective reality are one and the same buddy.

            • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

              No “buddy”, statistics are (at best) a *measurement* of objective reality.

              Objective reality determines the statistics, if they are correct and accurate, not the other way around.

              • Alex June 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

                But you provide NO evidence that what you describe is actually reality. You make all these crazy, inflammatory claims, and have jack shit to back them up. A pen and a diagram of the spine isn’t enough, especially coming from somebody with no qualifications.

              • Robert June 4, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

                Yeah and the objective reality is that the claims you have made about barbell squats are false. The data and statistics out there are accurate and correct. Therefore you are wrong. UNLESS you can objectively prove otherwise with a radomised controlled study.

          • MaybiusStrip June 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

            Nor is it determined by your unorthodox, unbacked theories on how much you think the spine is able to load.

            On one side of the argument you have someone providing evidence that despite the fact that weightlifters squat near maximal loads multiple times a week, they have some of the lowest injury rates of any sport. On the other there’s you, proudly disclaiming that you refuse to back your claims because the burden of proof is on the rest of the fitness community to show that the squat is safe.

            Objective reality may not have been determined by either side, but at least one of them is providing some tangible evidence, while you have absolutely nothing but your own controversial musings to stand behind. If you still think you have the upper hand in this argument, you must be absolutely delusional.

      • Julian June 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

        How is this about correlation and not causation? If you have incidents e.g. in soccer, you think its that people that stumble all the time play soccer and thus the incident rate is higher here? That doesn’t make sense to me.

        I don’t see what this has to do with reporting either, you think powerlifters report injuries, especially heavy ones (e.g. if they break their neck) less often and don’t go to the doctor compared to soccer players? Its unlikely to suggest this.

        I fail to see why the average trainee with a decent coach and good technique who uses FAR LESS weight and thus stress on his spine compared to the top athletes should suffer more injuries. I would expect the opposite and if you look at statistics of the average incident rate in normal gyms you will see this to be true.

        You can look at Rippetoes book where he explains the biomechanics of the squat far better on 60 pages then this guy called Bill DeSimone.

        Apart from that: I still fail to see any evidence on your part about the squat being bad. If the squat is bad as you tell, and there are millions of people squatting, I’m sure we should see some evidence of the squat being bad and doctors reporting frequent incidences. You still have not provided any evidence of injuries that resulted from squats.

        To the contrary I have provided you with evidence that people who do weightlifting (includes Squats) are much less likely to have lower back pain compared to people that don’t do any lifting. How do you explain that? People who knew they wouldn’t develop back problems 20 years ago were more likely to use weightlifting and thus its correlation and not causation? This seems unlikely you have to admit. So just looking at the evidence, if you want to do something good for your back, increase bone densitiy / muscle support, you should indeed squat.

        Its like some people who try to stirr everyone up that weightlifting in the youth is bad for your growth and can be harmful. And they come up with all kinds of explanation and mechanisms on why that is so. Even though there is no shred of evidence that weightlifting actually harms growth. It just doesn’t happen.

        So before coming up with all kinds of theories, we should first look if the hypothesis is even justified and if there is even evidence to support that claim. Before you come up with “why” the squat is supposed to be bad, present evidence that it is. You didn’t do that, I presented evidence to the contrary.

      • Dave April 19, 2013 at 12:31 am #

        Ever heard the phrase that “claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence?”

        You think anyone who squats won’t be able to walk when they’re 50, but you have absolutely no real evidence for that.

        A picture of a spine and a link to the human anatomy page on wikipedia are not evidence for anything that you have claimed.

        The way you conduct yourself on this blog, in combination with your gross misunderstanding of kinesiology, has completely ruined your reputation in the fitness world. As a fitness entrepreneur, you will now likely never earn more than petty ad revenue from the few people who take the time to stop by just to explain how retarded you are.

        I hope you digest that fully.

    • Brian June 2, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

      Don’t waste your breath. The author of this article is an idiot. Don’t take his advice on anything that has to do with health or lifting.

    • Sam August 7, 2012 at 4:13 am #

      By far the best post on this board. I am currently studying a masters in Sports engineering ( yes, that’s right) and biomechanics. Both of you are correct. If an athlete is coached properly, the bar weight increased slowly and incrementally, then squatting poses no more risk than a range of other activities. I personally think the dead lift is a far superior lift( the athlete can always stand on a box if depth is an issue). However, for the large proportion of people who are coached by some numbscull personal trainer who doesn’t realise that an adult who is new to the gym will not have a strong core, will not have strong bones and will not have well laid firing patterns – then yes, this shit could and does go very wrong.

      As with anything, there is a smart way about being dumb. If you ride a motorbike, wear a helmet. If you squat big weights, get to that point after years of training and some decent coaching early on. As to the blogs author who said that ” your one muscle spasm away from being a paraplegic” – that’s a really stupid argument, by that token what if I get cramp wile driving my car and hit the gas I could crash into a tree. Both are equally as likely and deadly. While I agree on concepts you have spoken about, in practice I’m not sure it works this way.

      The squat remains innocent until proven guilty(as in peer reviewed papers)

  11. Mark June 2, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    So … in summary, we have a 15 minute video from someone who has clearly never lifted and has no understanding of musculoskeletal anatomy, just to explain why he’s too scared to squat? Awesome stuff.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      I think you made a typo. “Intelligent” is not spelled with an S.

      • Joose June 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

        Intelligent? [snicker]
        I lost count of the fallacies you employed in this travesty.

        My favorite was the well poisoning you did. Classic Troll is classic.

        Here is my point by point on your stupidity (spelled with an ‘S’). Normally I wouldn’t feed trolls who are just causing controversy to increase traffic to their worthless blogs, but just in case someone actually believes you (and because you’re a pussy who disabled comments on a video that says you welcome comments) I am making an exception:

        “Why the barbell squat is the worst exercise in existence, that is also commonly practiced… which comes off as a loaded question.” That isn’t loaded, nor is it a question.

        “I am not talking about people who squat for a sport” B.S. Your entire video is directed at anyone who squats. The points (bad as they are) are phrased in a way that you cannot differentiate between athletes and “people who squat for better health and bigger/stronger muscles.” This was a cop-out.

        “Wipe your slate clean… forget everything you know about exercise.” Why? Because you know more than anyone and everyone who has ever discussed this topic? Or, because if we don’t then we’ll see through your hollow and meaningless visual exercise?

        “Pretend you’re some dumb schmuck off the street.” Something you don’t have to pretend–clearly.

        “Magical bar.” ???

        “I am going to make it weigh a few hundred pounds–significantly more than your body weight.” STOP! Wait, are you drawing a correlation between people who squat for months, if not years, before they squat more than their BW, and “some dumb schmuck off the street” who knows nothing about fitness “for their very first movement of exercise”??????

        “A truck load, relative to your body.” So, Truck Load:Truck::Loaded Bar:Human Body. That’s what you’re saying here. Do you see the problem?
        Also, again, you’re using the effect of a loaded bar (equivalent to a loaded truck) on the back of a complete novice as evidence against the squat.

        “[some utter B.S. about one's neck.]” Didn’t you say you squatted in H.S.?? So, first of all, every person alive (who isn’t a numb nut like you) uses either safety pins, a spotter or spotters, or both. Lets ASSume that these are unavailable and the idiot squats anyway. For the “shit ton of weight” to do any real damage, the diameter of the plates makes your ridiculous assertion of “paralysis or death” moot. And (this is going to keep coming up, because you kept ignoring it) A novice is not going to have so much weight on his/her back that they would fall, or should they fall, they wouldn’t get very injured. This “magic” bar that weighs more than one’s body is only going to be lifted by people who have been doing the squat for a LONG time.

        “On top of arguably the most delicate joint structure in your entire body” and surrounded by arguably the most intricate and adaptive musculature in the body.

        “… being wheelchair bound for the rest of your life.” Where are you getting this garbage?? How many people have EVER done what you’re asserting–put 100′s of pounds on their “neck” for the first exercise they’ve ever done?? And furthermore, how many people who WEREN’T novices have become wheelchair bound due to the squat (and I don’t mean fools who squatted INCORRECTLY)??

        “Who would willingly, with no prior interest or knowledge of exercise–or ever conception of it–who would rationally take this ultra heavy bar–which potentially weighs as much as two to three time their bodyweight–and put it on top of their spine…?” Um, no one. So–your little thought experiment is worthless.

        “…which is also held together by muscles and other connective tissues–whatever.” WHATEVER??? WHATEVER?????? This is what you sound like: Indy 500–Worst Race in Existence: Who in their right mind–with no prior driving experience–would operate a moving mass of metal and combustible gas at 200mph? Oh, they have restraining harnesses, roll cages, helmets and flame retardant suits–whatever.” Freakin’ tool.

        “Also, at the same time, and simultaneously…” That is redundant AND repetitive.

        “…the furthest you can get away from the intended muscle groups.” First, it is “farthest.” Second, cheeser already owned you on this point.

        “Tippy-top…” Not just the top, mind you: The TIPPY-top.

        “… of, like, the weakest joints in your body.” So, what you’re saying is that since they’re like, the weakest, they shouldn’t be put under load? Not because they’re too weak to handle the load, but because there exist stronger joints in the body, THESE joints shouldn’t be put under load. In your “expert” opinion, how much load can the tippy-top of the spine handle? And while we’re at it–please enlighten us how much weight all the other “stronger” joints can handle–or is there no limit since they aren’t the “weakest” joints?? Most importantly, how do these inconsistencies not jump out at you when you listen to yourself?????

        “There is no other worse place to put it.” So, a complete novice, who has never worked out in their lives, would be in less danger bench pressing hundreds of pounds over their sternum or throat or face??

        “Are you following along?” Haha–nope, you lost me at “loaded question,” which, by the way, is a logical fallacy–if you had actually used one.

        “I’ll repeat it one more time…” so that there is no question how dumb you are?

        “With one wrong slip, you’re placing your neck between the bar and the floor.” Not to mention several inches of empty space. QED.

        “That’s just crazy–’no one would do that’ is my argument.” Idiot. QED.

        “No one with a basic understanding of anatomy, structure, and human movement.” How do you know? You clearly are NOT one of those people. Mark Rippetoe, one of the individuals you castigate here, doesn’t have a basic understanding? One of his friends, co-authors, and mentors, DOCTOR Lon Kilgore, doesn’t have a basic understanding?

        “Relatively thin bar up” implying, whether you meant to or not, that a thicker bar would be safer/smarter? Were you dropped as a child?

        “People will argue that [adopts a mocking tone] the spine adapts, the muscles build around the spine and all around the back… Argh rah rah!” Poisoning the Well—like a pro.

        “You’re speculating that your spine is going to adapt. You’re betting…” Who is speculating this?? WHO IS BETTING? This is Science man! This is basic anatomy, kinesiology and biology!

        “…that it is going to adapt at a later point from when you start out…” I almost got excited here. I thought you were going to close the gaping hole you missed up until this point: novices don’t lift hundreds of pounds!

        “You’re betting that this super heavy bar at the top of your spine…” Nope. You’re not going to close the hole. You’re still an idiot. This adaptation starts when a novice is lifting LIGHT weights so that when they get to lifting their body weight or more they have ALREADY adapted! Your mockery of the argument that the spine adapts only exposes the huge stupid hole in your argument. This adaptation that people are going to argue “argh rah rha” occurs over TIME. No one needs to step under hundreds of pounds and Speculate that their spine will adapt. By the time they get there, the adaptation has occurred!!!!!!

        “They’re trying to prevent your spine and ribcage from collapsing.” First, this is false. Second, so what? When you bench press, you’re trying to prevent your shoulders and elbow from giving out. Your spine and ribcage gave muscles–what, because they’re more “special” they shouldn’t be worked? Having a strong back and core is not important? Should we not deadlift? (which, by the way, is also a back strengthening–among other things–exercise that SHOULD be done in conjunction with the squat, increasing the adaptation and safety with which we squat.)

        “Think about that: you’re trying to strengthen your muscles–not through intense, safe, brief contractions–you’re putting them between an ultra heavy bar and complete and total collapse…” These are not mutually exclusive. AND, the squat IS safe if done properly WITH appropriate weight (borrowed from cheeser).

        “… They either support the weight you’re forcing them through, or your spine collapses–you just die.” You either bench press the weight or your arm collapses and the weight crushes you and you just die. See, I can do that too. BUT, smart benchers (as well as squatters) lift with good form, appropriate weight, and–where necessary–safety pins and/or spotters.

        “That’s what he says in here–it is funny when he says it too.” It is only funny because weak minded fools like you buy it hook, line and sinker…. no, wait–it isn’t funny. It is sad.

        “It is dangerous–obviously, as I have discussed. It is ineffective.” As you have discussed? Hmm… I don’t think you’ve proven anything except your own ineptitude and foolishness. Ineffective? So people who start squatting, and see ALL lifts going up as a result of the increased hormones in their blood as the body responds to this heavy lift are not being affected? So when a person who squats the bar one day, 55 lbs the next, and as they continue to be dedicated to the squat and someday lift 500 lbs, the squat was ineffective? What is wrong with you and your grasp of the english language?

        “Legs are light years away from the neck.” Um, cheeser owned you on the point you’re trying to make here, but I just wanted to point out your lame and unnecessary exaggeration.

        “Smaller muscles are between the bar and the intended muscles you’re working.” Oh dear!! I use bench for my chest and shoulders–but I am ALSO working my triceps in between!! Those POOR DEFENSELESS TRICEPS!!! Kony 2012?? Screw that. SQUAT 2012!! That darn squat is picking on poor defenseless back muscles that are too small to protect themselves!!!

        And then your final point: “The squat gets more dangerous because you need it to be heavier as your leg gets stronger.” Um, hello?? SO DOES YOUR BACK!! Your BACK gets stronger too!! If you’re squatting appropriate weight, with correct form, and also doing the Deadlift, you will be getting stronger ALL AROUND. It isn’t like the weight is getting more and more because your legs are getting stronger, but your back remains this weak helpless mass of tiny muscles around helpless unadaptive joints. The frequency of injuries among advanced lifters who lift LOTS of weights is lower than with novices using lighter weights. Your point is contraindicated. More dangerous, but fewer injuries per capita? The strongest and most muscular people in the world squat, but have fewer injuries, as a percent, than people who avoid the squat. Sucks to lose to logic, doesn’t it?

        “The weight increases exponentially” Exponentially??
        Allow me to educate you: anytime exponents are involved, the numbers increase by greater intervals each time. So, if you increased from 45lbs to 47 lbs (a difference of 2, and an exponent of roughly 1.0115) then the next increase would be 2.15 lbs. Then 2.25. Then 2.38, and so forth. Even one so dim as you can see that down the road, we’d be increasing the weight by 10, 20, even 50 pounds in between squat days. Don’t be silly, and stop butchering English.

        “Ineffective, unsafe, and it is self defeating.” Nope, wrong, incorrect. QED.

        “You think the muscles in your spine are going to be able to keep up with the muscles in your legs?” Yup. And so does everyone else–with exception of ninnies such as yourself.

        “They’re huge!” So, because your back muscles are smaller they can’t keep up with the legs in increasingly heavier squats? This would be true if the back muscles and spinal musculature (when using proper form) carried equal amounts of the load as the legs–buuuuut the don’t. Or, if you learn by anaology, we can continue the Bench analogy, since the tricep is smaller than the shoulders and chest, and the triceps keep up just fine, then the back muscles will keep up with the quads, hammies, and glutes as well.

        “There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that is going to happen!” (Emphasis added)
        This never happened, I guess: or this:
        This is what I am talking about when I said it was a cop-out. Either spinal muscles ABSOLUTELY CANNOT keep up with the legs–athlete or not–or it CAN. There was a day–a LONG time ago–when Captain Kirk was squatting under 200 lbs. His spine kept up–so can everyone else’s.

        “It is an act of ignorance. No one would do this knowingly.” You arrogant worthless fool. How dare you? Every person who squats is ignorant?? No person, if they were as smart or well informed as you, would squat?? Do you hear yourself? Moron.

        “Unless it is a sport, which is a separate matter…” FALSE!

        “Not talking about a smith machine–only free weight squat.” You automatically lose here. Most of your points apply to the smith as well–except for the stupid “fall forward or fall backward” one. You are a colossal failure.

        *not proof-read–I already wasted enough time on this idiot.

      • Dan June 2, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

        I like how you went from trying to defend your weak hypothesis with “studies”, to attacking the grammar in other peoples posts. The next time you write an article, you should probably do it on something you have some knowledge of.

        • Joose June 2, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

          He wasn’t making a correction of someone’s grammar, dolt. The person said “scared.” Dream was making a joke by saying “Intelligent isn’t spelled with an ‘s’.” Get it now?

  12. Cheeser June 2, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Dear Anthony,

    I disagree with your assessment of the worth of the barbell squat exercise as a tool in body development, and overall health. I believe a large portion of your argument against squatting is founded on faulty reasoning and I will give reasons for why I think this is the case.

    Your first argument against the squat can be summed up as follows: Loading the top of the spine with heavy weight does not seem wise since the spine doesn’t seem especially suited for this.
    ***This is a fallacious way to try and argue against something since you’re not actually providing any proof against it. You present what seems like proof whilst not actually giving any; the key word here is “seem”. Just because something SEEMS to be the case, doesn’t actually mean it IS the case. If I say, “it seems that cake is a healthier food than vegetables since cake is more delicious”, this does not make it true that cake is healthier, nor am I providing any proof for a claim that states that cake is healthier. In this case, an adequate form of proof would be referencing long-term scientific studies, with a large sample size, that show squats to be ineffective and dangerous. You will be hard pressed to find such studies, assuming they are respected and peer reviewed.

    You: “at what point in human history did this become a good idea?”
    ***The moment the sports science community realized the great potential and effectiveness of the squat in promoting health and athletic performance.

    You: “Or as stated in the video, what person without social/cultural influences suggesting if not pressuring him to perform a free standing barbell squat, would decide on his own to set this exercise up and do it?”
    ***A person with an evidence based approach, influenced not by social/cultural pressures but instead by scientific ones. Powerlifters, NFL Players, and Super Rugby Players squat for a reason. You think if the squat posed a high injury threat to athletes, professional teams who have invested a ton of money on these players, would regularly include this exercise in their routines? No. If then you say, I’m not looking to improve my strength or athletic performance I’m only looking to reach a certain level of hypertrophy (just going for looks), well fine, the epitome of hypertrophy athletes are competitive bodybuiders, and guess what ladies and gentleman? the squat is also an important part of their routines.
    Showing a picture of an isolated spine and saying, “this looks fragile, don’t put heavy weight on it”, is not a statement with much validity. If I showed you a picture of the bone structure of one foot and then said “this looks fragile, it probably shouldn’t be used to absorb the force of the weight of a person for hours on end, let alone for months and years”, would you believe that statement? If so, you need to evaluate your critical thinking skills.

    Your second argument against the squat can be summed up as follows: You should not be applying resistance far from the muscle group which you intend to work out, and this goes especially for the squat since the weight of the bar has to go through the spine, thus putting it under enormous pressure.
    ***The proximity of the resistance to the muscle group which you intend to work out is IRRELEVANT. That’s like saying, “well when I run, the resistance (force) of the exercise is focused on the soles of my feet and therefore my heart and lungs are not being developed since the proximity of the resistance is far away”, nonsense. Let me tell you what IS a relevant factor in developing lean tissue: whether an adaptive bodily response is triggered by the exercise. If the exercise causes your muscle fibers to tear, motivating the body to recruit new and greater amounts of fiber in preparation and adaptation to future exercise, then the exercise is doing its job. Squat is very effective in the recruitment of new and greater amounts of lean tissue throughout the body, especially for the muscle groups of the the legs and core.

    You: “the weight of the bar has to go through the spine, thus putting it under enormous pressure.”
    ***The spine is under pressure, but is not isolated. Stabilizer muscles and tendons all around the spine help protect it. Again, would professional sports teams, who invested a bunch of money on their players, want their athletes’ spines to be under pressure and thus at high risk of injury? The answer is no.

    Your third argument against the squat can be summed up as follows: As you improve in the squat, so does your chance of injury since there is now more pressure on the spine. Also, since you are squatting over a period of time, looking at it over the course of your lifetime you are 100% likely to get injured at least once.
    ***Assuming you’re squatting with correct form and appropriate weight, which you should be doing, the squat is a very safe exercise. If you squat with correct form there is virtually no chance of any major injuries of any sort, neck, spine, etc. let alone paralysis or death (wow, death? that’s a paranoid mentality). Also that bit you said about that guy ripping his knees out of place is ridiculous, and anyone who doesn’t realize why it is ridiculous doesn’t understand the unlikeliness of this event and how exaggerated the story was.

    “looking at it over the course of your lifetime you are 100% likely to get injured at least once.”
    ***Let me tell you right now, if you squat for the rest of your life, with correct form, there IS close to 99% chance you’ll get injured. I won’t deny that. With the amount of repetitions you would accumulate throughout a lifetime of squatting it is close to impossible to not pick up an injury along the way. Just because you WILL get injured, doesn’t mean it will be serious, or that you won’t be back within a couple of weeks or days. You see, as I mentioned before, the risk of a serious injury is null, yet the risk of minor injuries will be there (especially when assessed over a lifetime), just like any other activity. Over your lifetime, is there a risk of injury when driving your car? How about when walking? Running? Using stairs? Playing sports? Lifting weights? Of course …Does that mean you shouldn’t do any of these things? No. If you do squats with correct form and appropriate weight, they are just as safe as any other exercise. Furthermore, when you compare the benefits of squatting for your bodily development and health to a (worst case scenario) couple of minor injuries over your lifetime, the decision to include the squat becomes quite obvious.

    After careful examination, we can see that your argument against squats rests on unfounded premises/assumptions and faulty reasoning. In order to change my mind you would have to provide a strong statistical report verifying the attempted squat to injury ratio, which argues for the existence of a high risk of injury for the squat. You won’t find this. Also, to change my mind, and prove the ineffectiveness of the squat, you would have to present respected peer reviewed studies verifying the ineffectiveness of the squat, and furthermore, you would have to explain to me why all serious athletes (both sport and bodybuilding) include the squat as an important part of their workouts. Not happening. Seeing as you will not be able to full fill even one of my three requests, as far as I know from the knowledge available to me, SQUATS ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF AN EFFECTIVE EXERCISE REGIME!

    My Experience:
    - Division 1 Collegiate Rugby Player
    - Exercise and Sports Science Major
    - Squatting Injury Free for Close To 8 Years Now
    - In Depth Research On The Subject

    You should try and research a subject in-depth before you make conclusions. ESPECIALLY when teaching others. I hope you put ego aside and that my well thought out objections to your argument help you change your mind. This is not about being right but about growth through truth.Thanks for your time!

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      Excellent reply sir, good job. Don’t expect any kind of actual data in his reply, though. He has none. And outside of calling you a moron, he’s got nothing to go on to validate his claims. Btw, did you find your way here via r/fitness?

      • Cheeser June 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

        Thanks, I appreciate the compliment!

        No, I’m subscribed to Anthony’s youtube channel and saw his video. I frequent r/fitness from time to time though. Is that how you this?

      • Cheeser June 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

        Thanks, I appreciate the compliment!

        No, I’m subscribed to Anthony’s youtube channel and saw his video. I frequent r/fitness from time to time though. Is that how you found this?

        • Robert June 2, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

          Yeah. Someone posted the video as a kind of “can you believe this guy?” kind of thing. As you can imagine, it was not well received. Some even went as far as accusing him of trolling bc nobody could be this dumb.

          • Cheeser June 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm #


    • Daniel Vong June 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      WELL PLAYED SIR. Don’t expect a reply from him or at most, he’ll just end up ignoring all your points and bring up some other bullshit.

    • 2L June 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

      This is the best reply in this thread.

      Thank you for debunking this bullshit post.

  13. Donnie Hunt June 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Very good conversation going here. Giving me much to think about.

  14. Julian June 2, 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    This somehow reminds me of people that are afraid of travelling by plane. You can come up with hundreds of mechanism on why a plane is dangerous. Its up in the air. There is so much electronics. So much could go wrong.

    But the actual data shows its the safest way to travel compared to cars, the bus and so on…

    Before you start coming up with ways to be against the squat (which aren’t even correct by the way, the body is perfectly capable of doing a squat and adapting) you should first establish that there is indeed a problem with it.

    Before you talk a lot about the dangers of planes, first show us that there are indeed lots of accidents. This is not the case, just like this is not the case with the squat.

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

      Excellent posts and arguments, Julian. Keep up the pressure on this guy. As long as he doesn’t pull a YouTube and delete the comments section, there will be fact based arguments against his drivel present for the uneducated to read. Maybe we can even open the eyes of some of the rubes he’s already duped into seeing the kind of fitness hack he truly is.

      • Julian June 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

        He seems to get all of his advice from that Bill DeSimone guy.

        All of this stuff… Point 1, the spine being a pyramid… Guess what, the most stable building one can build is a pyramid. Guess why. Also like you said “fail to acknowledge the support functions of the spinal electors, rhombus, traps, lats and abs” Thats pretty big in this argument.

        Same goes for his Point 2, the squat isn’t an isolation, its a compound exercise that is supposed to use the whole body. How are you supposed to keep tension in your upper back and arms, pushing your chest out? Thats why you squat, do use your whole body. Thats why the barbell is far away and this is a good thing, not a bad thing.

        The same for his Point 3… Measuring bone densitiy has shown that the more you progress, the more stable you become. Or suggesting that if you do a squat wrong, you aren’t able to walk anymore. Or claiming 100% of people who squat will have an injury. Without even looking at the studies I provided.,_Relative_Safety-3.pdf

        Its just a FACT that weight lifting is safer compared to other sports. If you don’t weight lift, you can as well not play Squash because thats far more injuring and dangerous. And don’t even start with Soccer. Or jogging.

        Or the “horrible things” that happen once you lose concentration for one second. I have not yet been able to find or hear of a single case of someone not being able to walk anymore or cracking his spine and stuff like that… Because it doesn’t happen.

  15. Daniel Vong June 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    Do you even lift?

  16. Really June 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    This guy might be the biggest fucking idiot on the planet. You look like shit, maybe you should take up squatting to fix that, oh wait, you are too much of a pussy to do that. Instead you make a retarded video bashing it, good idea. Its sad that people as stupid as you can get so much attention, but now I’m done giving you mine. Have fun being a a weak failure.

  17. mirin gains June 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Do you even lift? You look like you haven’t stepped into a gym a single day in your life.

  18. Bo June 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    Still somewhat of a beginner, I’m obviously interested when someone makes a claim like this. I appreciate some of the detailed replies critical of this post that were made in the comments. One point is however more valid than all the others and should be enough: no data.

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

      You’re welcome

  19. Bill DeSimone June 2, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Posters like Robert and Julian are fascinating.

    The barbell squat is probably the King of Magic Exercises. There is probably more in print and online telling us how great an exercise it is than any other exercise. Bodybuilders, sports performance, Crossfitters, functional training, everybody who’s anybody will tell you how great it is and how great they are at it and what a pussy anyone who doesn’t agree is.

    Yet offer an alternate approach, like I do, that doesn’t repeat the same macho bullshit line, and these guys rush to the defense of the squat. It’s not enough that they simply disregard material they don’t like, they are obligated to squash it and trash it as vehemently as they can.

    Why? Are you seriously concerned that your precious squats and deadlifts will be taken away from you? What do you care if someone other than you chooses another way to train?
    You should be thanking me for scaring people away from the squat racks, so you can have them all to yourselves.

    There are about a million forums you can visit and have your asses kissed for being a squat/deadlift tough guy. One discussion against the squat and you lose your shit? What do you have to be so insecure about? You guys are already in the elite.

    But this nonsense that barbell squats don’t put more bad stress on the back than say, not doing a barbell squat, is wishful thinking at best and willful ignorance at worst.

    Really, continue to come up with more novel ways of attacking my material. Keep in mind a few things. A, you haven’t read what I actually wrote, B. I wasn’t writing for you anyway, and C. the longer these “discussions” go on, the more books I sell.

    So thanks, guys!

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

      “The barbell squat is probably the King of Magic Exercises”

      I’m in a bit of a goofy mood … but god Bill, I just fell out of my chair laughing at that comment! =)

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

      Ah, Mr Bill decides to throw his hat into the ring!

      First off, let me say that the course language you are using in your post doesn’t seem to fit the type of distinguished man you appear to be on video during a conference. I’m just some random squat/deadlift/bench tough guy-internet jerkoff without such constraints. And before I really get started here, you are correct on one point: I have not read your material. For a couple of reasons:
      A. You and Dream were not even blips on my radar until yesterday.
      B. If your material, opinions, science, is so groundbreaking and revolutionary, why hide it behind a price tag? If you are the one who discovered the rate of death/dismemberment/zombie apocalypse as a result of squats, why not do humanity a favor and release it for free then link to your book for more info? I’m certain your book covers more topics than just squats.
      C. No, you didn’t write it for me.
      D. I’m sure I couldn’t get my money back once I realised how much misinformation, bad science, and flawed logic it contains.

      If you go back and read my comments, I never mentioned your name. Anthony made it clear that these are his views and to direct all hatemail to him. Also, I would like to refer you to my previous exchange with Anthony so maybe you will actually address the concerns that he ignored: the supportive relationship of the core muscles and the spine, and the fact/science based validity of his claims.

      As to thanking you for scaring people away from my squat rack….I will admit, it is kind of nice having it all to myself. However, I must point out that views like yours are not new, and permeate the fitness industry more than most people realize. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a gym with a decent squat rack, so yes, my squats are gradually being taken away from me as a result of this mamby pampy “scared of squat” bullshit.

      Last but not least…your book sales. This discussion won’t increase them, unfortunately they won’t hurt them either. So long as there are rubes out there willing to shell out big money at a low rent Tony Robbins style seminar on how to nail a job interview and be a pickup artist, you’ll still make your money. But it won’t be bc of little ol’ me, that’s giving me too much credit.

      • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

        Bill’s gotten pretty popular online … but I seriously doubt his work is affecting how chain, or even smaller scale gyms, are purchasing their equipment.

        Bill’s ideas, especially as they pertain to a barbell squat, are unique, and found no where else in the world as far as I’m aware. It’s really obvious you haven’t grasped his work if you think his ideas are common in the fitness industry.

        If only.

        • Robert June 2, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

          I didn’t give him full credit for gyms not buying squat racks. In fact, I said his ideas aren’t new. Also, I said that I haven’t heard of the two of you until yesterday, yet I’ve been hearing for years from various spin class instructors and personal trainers about how bad squats are for you. So yes, I blame the anti squat police for the gradual removal of squat racks from gyms across America. The only thing new I see around here is the whole “death” scenario that’s been brought up.

    • Steve June 2, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      It’s not that you’re offering an “alternative”, it’s that you literally have no understanding of the human body but are attempting to present things as a fact. Do you not feel bad for pretending to have a fucks idea what you’re talking about?

    • Julian June 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

      No one denies barbell squats put more stress on the back then no squats.

      If you are right, we should see the huge amount of incidents in people performing the squat, right? You still failed to mention ANY evidence that such a thing even happens.

      Here are several things you did not even adress. Your whole post has as of yet just fluff talk in it, not facts. You did not adress a single point people in here made.

      How do you explain far less injuries in weightlifting / powerlifting then in almost all other sports, including sports such as Squash?,_Relative_Safety-3.pdf

      How do you explain weightlifters have actually less back pain, if they are supposed to have put a lot of bad stress on their back?

      I tell you the reason. The mineral density of the bones increases as well as the supporting muscles, making the benefits outweigh the risks. Here a good reference:

      Bone densitiy increases relative to the weight you lift:

      There are some smart scientists who calculated the shearing forces and leverage, and the weight your back can handle. The weight is more then you can squat, no matter if you’re already advanced (your mineral densitiy increased) or you start with lower weights.

      I’ll just quote someone else now about the arguments you made in your book, I’m not the first one to call you out on this:

      This is regarding this whole “pyramid” argument you seem to made.

      “The spine consists of the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical regions. The back squat places the bar on the thoracic region. There is no load on the cervical region, therefore in no way is the squat analogous to putting a tabletop on top of a pyramid. If the muscles or vertebrae of the cervical region are forced to support any sort of significand load during squats then they are being done incorrectly.

      If Bill were correct, then the majority of squat injuries would in the cervical region. They are not. The fear mongering he is describing would make more sense if squats were done with weights on top of the head or perhaps some sort of odd neck harness contraption. No one I’ve ever met in Crossfit or Olympic weightlifting loads up squats that way.”

      “Honestly, I get tired of so-called experts trying to invent reasons why exercise X should be causing injury Y. Maybe they should first find evidence of a problem that needs solving before they find the cause of the problem. Bill solving the mechanics of cervical injuries from squatting is just like the American Associations of Pediatrics spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt (aka FUD) about the potential for growth plate damage cause by kids lifting weights. It’s a solution to a problem that never was an issue. But boy it sure makes them sound like they care, doesn’t it?”

      Would be nice for your to present any evidence that there even is a problem and danger involved, if its true I’m sure some ncident rates should show it. And maybe adress the other points made. But I guess you won’t repond in a factual manner to the points I made anyway. You didn’t in your last post. Because the facts are simply against you.

      I post here to help other people. And maybe convince them to not buy your books.

    • Alex June 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

      Robert already covered most of it, but there’s one thing that really made me angry about this video, and it wasn’t that somebody was talking shit on the squat. I hear Bullshit like how squatting is bad for your knees every day, and have no trouble ignoring it.

      My problem with the video is the insinuation that, because I squat, I am the most ignorant person to ever set foot in a gym. Not only was his claim baseless, it was insulting. The only “alternate approach” offered by the video was that I stop being a complete fucking idiot.

      In regards to A)
      No, I have not read what you wrote, but Dream did not cite anything you wrote. I could infer from his praise of your book that you claim somewhere that squatting is evil, but he explicitly differentiates his opinion from yours, and does not directly use anything from your book as evidence to support his claims.

      I had no problem with you or your opinion, but it now seems that you are of a very similar mindset to Dream and have a similar proclivity for needlessly insulting the intellect of everyone with an opposing opinion.

    • Alien July 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm #


      You probably get the same commitment and results that Curves does. A lot of women sign up and only a small percentage actually see results, which could be attributed to them actually getting of their lazy asses of the couch in the first place.

      But I’ve also heard that once people start the “Joint-friendly” or whatever else you want to call it, they turn to a more “traditional” (i.e. real gym, with real weights, doing OMG real lifting exercises) gyms to push themselves mroe and get a real workout.

      They end up in great shape thanks to you getting off the couch and the real gym for giving them the tools and the means. I’m assuming long-term clients aren’t your speciality but telling people BS is.You have successfully let me know I should ignore and avoid any articles and books from you.

      Thank you for that…

      PS – heard that outside of being a “certified” personal trainer, you actually know little to nothing about exercise and sports physiology. What are your qualifications? And don’t say “I’m a certified personal trainer”, I found one of those certificates in a Cracker Jack’s box when I was 7.

  20. bert stareson June 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Dream, are you one of those guys that goes into the gym and lifts just to “get toned”? That would explain a lot.

  21. Steve June 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Your understanding of basic biomechanics is bad, and you should feel bad.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

      Yes, placing a 300 lb bar on top of your spine is a bio-mechanically sound idea. My mistake, that sounded insane for a second.

      • RG June 2, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

        Well, you are not placing it just on your spine. You are distributing the weight all along the shoulder area and supporting the weight with your arms..

      • Julian June 2, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

        And don’t even think about rowing, if you’re tall and weigh 220 lbs you can easily reach 1000 lb of pressure and loads of shearing forces on your spine… A 300 lb squat with little shearing force is laughable against that. And we see it so often that these rowers are in a wheelchair or their spines simply crack open because of the huge forces that the body cannot withstand.

      • Julian June 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

        This was ironic by the way

      • Lars June 3, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

        You can make anything sound insane by being sarcastic.

        Floating around in a freezing vaccum orbiting a radioactive megaexplotion? That would never work!

  22. Tardovski June 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    What a great blog post. I’ve heard a lot about how dangerous heavy squatting can be, and this just fit in with everything else I’ve heard. I mean look at how small the kneecap is, and somehow it’s supposed to handle all the force of your knee extending under load? Get real! It got me to thinking about other exercises too. Last summer when I broke one of my metatarsals my podiatrist told me that while running you put 2 1/2 times your bodyweight in force on each foot. For me that’s over 500 lbs every time my foot lands! And when I look at the anatomy of the foot it’s obvious — All those tiny bones can’t be meant to handle that sort of load, just like in the spine. I mean, look at the skinny little metatarsals, and if you heel strike especially then the talus takes all that force by itself. That’s why I crawl everywhere now, because your argument makes total sense. Thanks a million — keep up the great work!

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

      Your feet don’t have a spinal cord in them … nor do the bones of your feet form a column of interlocking vertebrae.

      • Julian June 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

        So there are lots of normal activities that place a lot of stress on your spine… What about jumping? Or running? You should never do that.

        Did you know that rowing places 4.6 times my bodyweight on my spine? If someone weighs just 160 lbs, thats 736 lbs of weight that compress your spine… I mean if a 300 lb squat is already bad, what will rowing do then? Remember the stress is on the spine… Can’t imagine how many people are now in a wheelchair because of rowing.

        Actually these things are used though to increase bone mineral densitiy in adults… So that stress that you and Bill think is the devil, is actually used by doctors in adults to increase health problems because of lowered bone mineral density.

        “Decreased bone density is a growing problem in modern societies. Exercise remains one of the most potent alternatives to drug treatments for maintaining or improving bone density. An intensive program, three or more times per week featuring a variety of exercises that considers the individual needs of each person and promotes long term compliance can have a positive impact on bone density.”

        Now lets be realistic and follow the science. Do an intense program and load your spine. Otherwise your decreasing bone density might become a problem.

        But go on suggesting about how bad loading the spine is.

        • Julian June 2, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

          Typo: I meant “decrease health problems because of lowered…” obviously

        • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

          Doctors are generally pretty clueless when it comes to exercise.

          Actually, that’s an understatement : they don’t have the first clue what they are talking about.

          You’re better off getting advice from a sports coach … oh wait, that’s where most people get their exercise information.


          Jumping and running do not stick a magical 300 lb bar on the top of your spine.

          There are infinitely better ways to support bone density.

          • RG June 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

            Sports coaches get their information from Sports Journals which have research conducted by scientists.

            One way or another…you are getting your information from “Doctors”.

          • Julian June 2, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

            If there would be such a health problem, people could row once and then never again.

            Jumping does put more pressure on your spine then a lot of people can back squat. It doesn’t matter if the pressure comes from a bar or from the impact after falling a certain distance.

            As a matter of fact I’d rather chose the weight, would you let a piece of glass fall on the ground or rather place a 10lb weight gently on top of it like you do with a squat?

            You’re still talking about sticking something on top of the spine. Thats not how its done, no one can do that. As its said you distribute the weight around the thoracic region.

          • Robert June 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

            So is that what you and Bill are? Sports coaches? Let me go ahead and break this down in terms of a comparison of strength/sport coaches with the varying levels of sport:

            Louie Simmons : NFL hall of fame inductee
            Dave Tate: Professional championship caliber
            Jim Wendler: NCAA Champion caliber
            Riptoe: Highschool state champion caliber
            Dream and Bill: YMCA youth soccer were no scores are kept and everyone is a winner.

            • Smif June 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

              Damn it, Robert… you are so full of win.

          • Joose June 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

            YOU are generally clueless when it comes to squatting.

          • Tardovski June 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

            > Doctors are generally pretty clueless when it comes to exercise.

            In that case we’d have to look to the sports community to see how horrible back squats are and come face to face with . . . the thunderous lack of terrible spinal injuries suffered while squatting. If this is such a horrific exercise then every football player from high school up should be wearing a brace after a single off-season of training. Instead the problems we see in football (among other sports) are cranial injuries and other injuries due to collision with other humans. In these cases the back squat — by allowing progressive loading and the gradual training of the core — actually is protective, building the muscular strength of the thoracic column that could potentially stabilize the spine against sudden impacts. Your argument entirely avoids the fact that one of the fundamental advantages of the squat over isolated leg training is that it trains the torso to support the weights that the legs are pressing. A properly performed squat will not exceed the weight that your core musculature can support, and as training loads gradually increase the bone density of your spine (and everything down to your talus and metatarsals) increases as well to provide a denser, more stable column (an architectural term for a load-bearing structure) to transmit force from your legs to the target weight. The fact that elsewhere you allowed that a properly performed deadlift was an acceptable full body movement invalidates all of your objections to the back squat; in both cases you transmit force from your legs through the hips and spine to a load suspended from your shoulders. The difference being that in a deadlift the weight is pulling against the soft tissue of the shoulder while in a low back squat the weight is supported by the scapulae without the involvement of the arms. Both movements rely on the lifter’s ability to stabilize their core and spine well enough to oppose the resisting weight, and simultaneously train the core to do that. Any motion that directly applied shearing force to the spine without involving the surrounding musculature would be instantly paralyzing since the spine on its own cannot resist any lateral forces; only the surrounding musculature can do this. Refusing to train those muscles puts your spine at greater risk in sport and other real world situations. Your basic argument is against a straw man exercise that doesn’t exist, that somehow directly applies a 500-pound weight to an unsupported spine bereft of any other human anatomy. When the body is considered as a whole the intelligent application of progressively loaded squats is a key technique for strengthening your core and improving your spinal health, even against sudden trauma. Basically, your argument is exactly and entirely wrong.

          • Richard F June 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

            “Jumping and running do not stick a magical 300 lb bar on the top of your spine.”

            Nope, they don’t, but they do put hundreds of pounds of force directly into your feet, all the way up to your hips. This force is, scientifically proven, to be 2-3x heavier than a 300lb bar on your spine. But hey, why use facts when we can just make shit up, right?

          • Hairy Johnson June 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

            Awesome post and your replies are awesome/ hilarious… keep on keepin on haha

      • RG June 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

        The Vertebrae are not interlocking. They are separate and are connected by muscles and ligaments.

        • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

          “The vertebral column is responsible not only for the protection of the spinal cord, but for providing structure and support to the trunk of the body. The vertebral column also serves as a site of attachment for the thoracic muscles and bones. The vertebral column extends from the skull all the way to the pelvis. Typically the vertebral canal contains 33 bones, collectively referred to as vertebrae. These vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs composed of fibrocartilage. These vertebrae are divided into four groups; cervical vertebrae, thoracic vertebrae and lumbar vertebrae.

          Structure of the Vertebrae

          The spongy center of the bone, coated in a thin layer of of compact bone is known as the centrum. Each vertebra contains a small triangular foramen along the posterior side of the centrum. Each foramen is surrounded by a vertebral arch, conmposed of two bones; a pedicle and lamina. Extending from the center of the vertebral arch is a bony spine, known as the spinous process. The spinous process extends downward and posterior from the centrum. A similar process, known as the transverse process, extends laterally from the point where the pedicle and lamina meet. Two superious articular processes extend upwards from the vertebra, meeting with the processes extending downwards from the vertebra above. When two vertebrae interlock with one another, small spaces form between their pedicles known as intervertebral foramen. These foramen allow the passage of spinal nerves into the column. Each of these formen is formed by an inferior vertebral notch found within the pedicle of the upper vertebra and a superior vertebral notch found in the pedicle of the lower vertebra.”

          • RG June 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

            It uses the word “interlock” incorrectly. They are not interlocking. The two vertebrae just meet each other to form a foramen.

            Without the muscles and ligaments to hold them together they would slide off one another.

      • Joose June 2, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

        Your point was the spine was the smallest joints with the smallest muscles. “nor do the bones of your feet form a column of interlocking vertebrae” amounts to “your feet aren’t your spine, therefore they can’t be analogous.” This is called begging the question: assuming the conclusion as a premise. You fail so hard at logic it is almost sad.

      • Alex June 2, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

        Nor do the bones of my feet break when i go running

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      I see what you did there….*golf clap*

  23. Q June 2, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Statements of idiocy. For a novice you are a nut job if you load up the type of weight you are describing. Squats are a great training tool and there are many exercises which will injure you if you do the idiotic things you are prescribing for the squat. Come on dude catch a clue.

  24. David June 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Clearly the “Dream” is a direct indicator as to where your ideas originate. The way things “seem” to be is in no way an indicator of what they are. If science was based on statements like “it should be obvious that we should not load the spine with weight”, I shudder to think of the progress science would have failed to make in the past century.

    Quit being a pussy, quit talking shit on a movement you suck at, and perhaps consider educating yourself before you write something and call it science based. How do you fail out of college pursuing a non-degree and then decide you’re a fucking scientist, anyway?

  25. Josh June 2, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    This article is probably the worst thing written on the Internet right now. You probably also think things like pasta and bread are good for you and that red meat causes cancer. If you need someone to push your wheel chair when your older and have diabetes and hip disease, call me, I’ll be over here squatting. Taking care of my body

  26. Mike June 2, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Pure broscience article.

  27. Personal trainer June 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    This article makes me lol.
    In no way is this correct.
    Way to lead many people astray and hurt their progress.

  28. AJ June 2, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    If you do athletics, you risk injury. It does not matter what sport you play, if you are involved in athletics, injury is inevitable. All you can do is postpone it with as much technique as possible. That being said, this vid and argument is stupid.Back squatting is amazing, I will never stop back squatting as long a i live. I will survive. Enjoy a life time of being weak if you don’t back squat.

  29. Copernicus June 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Please, please, please go take a medical level anatomy class before you start talking about loading spines and big bones around muscles.

  30. DrinkLiftGamble June 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Thanks for wasting a few minutes of my life with your satire. I officially am blocking this website’s domain from ever being accessed again. You sir belong no where near any a writing utensil.

  31. AJ June 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    And i will cut my legs off before i use a leg-press machine OVER Back-squats.

  32. Richard F June 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    From your Post:

    “In a long enough time span, I would bet the risk of injury on a free standing barbell squat is 100%.”

    Did you know that once you are born, you have a guaranteed 100% chance of dying in a long enough time span? It’s true! But at least what I said is a proven fact, everyone dies, although you say “I would bet” meaning, you have no idea, mostly because you did no research at all.

    But hey, this was a PR stunt for you and it’s been very effective. This is just a simple rule of blogging to get a shit ton of traffic: write something controversial. In fact, it’s on almost every top 10 list of building traffic, “I would bet”.

  33. Julian June 2, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Dream even though I disagree on everything you say regarding the squat I have to give you a compliment:

    Proper respect for allowing all of these (though mostly critical) comments and not deleting them.

    • Lolatthedream June 2, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

      He did remove the YouTube comments……

    • Tardovski June 2, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      ^ this

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

      I must say the same…Dream, way to take your beating like a champ and for having the integrity to leave it up for all to see.

      • Alex June 3, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

        It would be hard to get blog traffic he wanted from this if he hid the comments section ;)

  34. Lolatthedream June 2, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    I’m going to guess The Dream is a religious person………. He’d half to be if he thinks it’s acceptable to tell an elaborate tale with zero fucking proof of it.

  35. Lolatthedream June 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    This faggot gets strong from his safe leg extension machine.

    No one ever said this was supposed to be easy.. Douche.

  36. Schulzey June 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    As a soldier, I disagree with everything in this blog post.

    This is purely anecdotal, but:

    In my last 3 courses ranging from 40-80 people I have been given top athlete award. To be given this you have to have best overall score of things like a buddy carry (200 pound dude), trench dig, ruck march (150 pounds of kit marching for around 3 hours), obstacle courses and some other shit.

    The difference between me and my platoon and section mates is I am the only one who practices the compound lifts, deadlift, squat, some crossfit stuff. They are things that have to be taught correctly, but have a much more potent result then the archaic old PT + machine exercises.

    That dream guy should read Starting Strength watch some youtube videos of legit people, learn the hows and whys, do a few cycles of the texas method.. or probably something a little more beginner then make a real post. You can speculate all you want a priori but until you get your ass in the field or on a barbell (and get real experience), who cares what you are saying.

    Your post seems like something a hippie vegetarian yoga punk would say.

    For the lifters:
    “Never try to teach a pig how to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

    Everyone else does curls in the mirror and uses those machines designed for clueless fucks who don’t know how to exercise.

    • dogsmycopilot July 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      Hey now, I was vegan and I still squatted! (But I hate hippies too, so I’m not all bad.)

  37. Jason June 2, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    OK . . . for pretty much every opinion one has, it’s fairly easy to find another person who will make the same or a similar assumption.

    For every person who decries the basic barbell squat, others will herald its’ benefits. Some of these are just normal folk (like myself), while some are educated people who have done high quality research, experimentation, and testing on, with, and using the barbell squat (Dr. Robert Newton, formerly of Ball State University, being just one of many).

    But, your logic deficiencies aside, I’ll happily capitulate to one thing: the more frequently you do barbell squats, the more likely injury becomes.

    But, sir, the same assertion holds true with any strenuous or semi-strenuous physical activity. Show me one person with significant injuries due to squatting, I can show you one or more who’ve been injured running, cycling, swimming, skiing, or golfing.

    The longer you do ANYTHING, you increase a risk of failure or catastrophe during that given activity. The more you bicycle, the more likely you are of wrecking. However, it would be ridiculous to not reap the rewards that cycling has to offer out of fear of injury. Especially injury that can be avoided.

    I myself have hurt myself squatting. However, I have also hurt myself running. And personally, the planar fascitis that I suffer from (which is primarily due to running) is far more debilitating than any injury suffered from lifting.

    The benefits which can be attributed to heavy resistance exercise -such as the barbell back squat -should not be avoided for fear of avoidable injury.

  38. MC June 2, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    So basically, there are plenty of ways to workout the same muscle groups, and improve bone density to the same degree, all with lesser risk…..But, you guys just really, really like to do free weight barbell squats.

    That’s about all you guys are saying. You really like doing the exercise, and you’re coming up with reasons to continue doing it by talking about how you’re getting stronger doing it (no shit) and bringing up soccer for some odd fucking reason.

    • Julian June 2, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      Risk? Which risk? No one has proven such a thing, to the contrary, I’ve proven there is close to no risk.

      The only way to improve bone density is to put compression on your spine…You either load your spine somehow or you don’t… Putting the same pressure on the spine there is no difference how you do it. But doing the squat correctly will minimize shearing forces. Show me another exercise that you can do that produces less shearing force compared to a squat with good technique.

      There is no reason to not do the squat, we’ve demonstrated its safe and actually beneficial for peoples backs, studies show this in bone density and general back pain as well.

      • MC June 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

        “Risk? Which risk?”‘

        The risk that if you fuck up the exercise it leads to you dying or being paralyzed, potentially. Meaning one false move, and you’re done. You can minimize risk with proper form, but if you mess up, go for one more rep then you should have, or whatever else, then there’s nothing between you and a very heavy barbell pressed up onto your spine.

        “The only way to improve bone density is to put compression on your spine…You either load your spine somehow or you don’t… Putting the same pressure on the spine there is no difference how you do it.”

        That’s equivalent to putting the weight directly on your knee caps in order to improve it’s bone density. Would you say there is no other way to improve the bone density of the knee caps? No difference in how you do it, really?

        • dogsmycopilot July 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

          “Meaning one false move, and you’re done.” As a beginner I can tell you that ain’t true.

    • Robert June 2, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

      No, we are refuting Dream’s opinions(since that’s all they are bc there has yet to be one shred of fact submitted to support them) on how dangerous squatting is. Don’t know how much of the post you read but he did explicitly say squats will kill you. We are merely arguing, with supportive evidence, to the contrary….but yes, it’s true, we do like to squat.

  39. Mike McCarthy June 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    Even though I strongly disagree, I’ll compliment you on having balls to say something this unique. I squat, a lot. I love it. I can see so many other lifts or exercises that are easy to fuck up and hurt yourself with. The only thing I can really add in is that one of my FAVORITE lifts, maybe even more than the back squat is the FRONT SQUAT. That shit will make your dick grow. Thanks

  40. John Smith June 2, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    No wonder you’re a weak pussy. You don’t squat and you work out on that gay Omni piece of shit I saw in your other article.

  41. Ian Sturrock June 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

    The squat builds real, transferable, palpable, whole-body strength. It’s a leg exercise in the same way that an iPhone is a phone. If you were capable of squatting 300 lb safely — and it can be done, and Rippetoe’s book is certainly one of the best starting points — you’d feel how much stronger you’d become, every time you performed any action involving effort. That applies whether your effort is combat sports, football, moving boxes, pretty much anything.

    And there’s plenty of science to support that position — demonstrable improvements in health, strength, and fitness, caused directly be a proper weightlifting programme, incorporating the squat. Improvements whatever your starting point — whether you’re a serious athlete, sedentary pensioner, or skinnyfat, wannabe-controversial, “entrepreneur” blogger.

    Do people get injuries from squatting? Sure. People get injuries from washing their backs in the shower, though, or tying their shoelaces, especially if they don’t exercise. The body is fragile like that. The squat makes it stronger, though, and I will happily trade a tiny increased risk of injury during lifting, for a lifetime of increased strength *and* increased resistance to injury, including spinal injury.

    My experience of combat sports is that people who don’t lift get injured far more than those who do, and are weaker overall. Squatting will help you pick people up and throw them in judo, as well as reducing the risk of injury when you get thrown. It’ll build the kind of core that can take repeated punches in boxing or Thai boxing. Lift, and you can deal with anything else life throws at you, because very little else is as hard as putting that 300 pounds on your spine, squatting down, and standing up again. Don’t lift, and you’ll break in two next time you pick up a bag of cat food. I exaggerate very slightly, but only in that last sentence.

  42. Bob June 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    I like how your whole argument breaks down into “It’s bad because spine.”

  43. john June 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    This guys an ass clown. In your article you are critical of the squat or your a pussy mentality. Then you proceed to give a buch of “pussified” reasons as to why not to squat. “Your spine will crack wawawa” Thats part of why some lifters are so enamored by the squat because of the development of the testes-major. If your spine is so weak go look at yolk bar walks and try and explain how that exercise can even exist. Also the whole point of having the load far from the legs is so the body develops the ability to transfer the force your BIG muscles can create and transfer it. It trains the body to work as one big fast machine. Therefore legpresses are not a sutible substute. What other way can you train the core to deal with heavy loads safer. You should try them sometimes. Because you look as imposing as loaf of bread.

  44. TSki June 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Let’s take weightlifting out of the equation. How did we survive hunt and gather before modern technology like cars, wagons, farm equipment? I’m pretty sure our shorter life spans were from disease and not spinal explosions. Are are some examples of the things are incredible bodies are designe to do. By backsquatting in our western society, we are simply keeping our bodies functioning the way they are designed. (A friend of mine tried to carry this type of load on her mission trip to Ethiopia. It weighed way onver 100 pounds and is carried 15 miles by these women.)

    If these links don’t work, cut and paste them. Or not. Apparently actual proof is not needed anyway.

  45. Scooby June 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Great post. I suggest doing skateboard squats as a safer alternative.

  46. Mason June 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

    The fuck do you think bones are made out of, paper mache?

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      Bones are pretty strong. Unfortunately for the barbell squat zombies commenting on this blog though, the spine isn’t quite as sturdy as the femur(s).

  47. TSki June 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    Please excuse the typos in the above post. I was trying to finish quickly because of my kids. Also, the picture was labeled incorrectly. The photo is the example of my friend’s experience. I think so often we underestimate the strength and astonishing things our bodies are capable of doing and designed to do. Because of strength training, especially squatting, I am strong enough to carry my kids on my shoulders or back, hike for miles with a backpack (or my husband with his ruck) and enjoy it.

  48. Steve June 2, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    My main problem with all of this is the repeated use the phrase “top of the spine.”

    I mean come on man, the top of your spine is directly under your skull. The bar position of a high bar back squat is probably at C7, low bar probably T2 or T3. And if your positioning is correct you should be setting your “magical bar” on either your traps or on the scapular insertion of the deltoids. It shouldn’t be resting on your boney processes.

    Since the bar is longer than the pen you kept using as an example isn’t the force of the weight distributed over a wider area than just the spinal column?

    What about front squats? Those have no direct weight loading on the spine.

    Also if we shouldn’t be squatting what should we be doing? I did not hear an alternative. And why are you not against people who are using the squat to get better at sports? Isn’t this still just an exercise for them too? Isn’t all training just exercise?

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

      Hey Steve

      Thanks for the respectful comment. It’s far and few today.

      Re top of the spine: okay, top of the spine would technically require balancing a barbell on top of your head. I should have been even more specific, ie upper area of the spine, etc. I don’t think this takes away from the argument though since it wasn’t dependent on the bar being at the exact, precise, tipy top of the spine.

      Re loading area : I did not suggest anyone should load a bar directly on a bone, or that (most) people were. At least it wasn’t my intention to suggest that. I’m well aware a relatively thin layer of muscle and fat is supposed to pad/buffer the applied load from the barbell.

      The load is still being applied to the upper area of the spine. A cozy way of saying that is “the back”. It really ends up being your spine in the case of a barbell squat though. So yes, it might be distributed over a wider area, but it’s still ALL being force fed through your spine, to get to your pelvis, to get to your upper legs, and so on.

      Re front squats : I should have been even more specific and it was my mistake (serious) for not removing front squats from the equation. By “free standing barbell squat”, I 100% meant a barbell squat with the bar on the back, not the front.

      I’m not saying a front squat is a good idea, but it’s a different discussion, same way a dumbbell squat, body weight squat, belt squat, etc … are different discussions entirely.

      Re alternative: I didn’t provide an alternative because … well, I didn’t have an interest in discussing them at the time, or in the post (more than a little, which I did). The point of the video and article was to take a critical look at back loaded, free standing, barbell squats. Nothing more, nothing less.

      That said, a horizontal leg press with the seat back, or of even more relevance, a belt loaded squat, are far superior alternatives.

      Re sports/training: NO. All training is NOT exercise. Exercise, properly defined, is a very specific activity. Other physical activities with varying degrees of exercise *effect*, are not defacto exercise. They are what they are.

      An olympic lift for example, is an *olympic* lift, performed by professional (or amateur I suppose), *athletes*.

      Athletes perform athletic physical movements. Exercise is a different physical movement, even if the two appear the same, have some net effect overlap, etc. I realize this sounds like semantics … but it is actually the crux of all advancement in the realm of exercise.

      The separation of exercise from athletic and recreational physical activities.

      Thanks for your comment! Let me know if you have more questions.

      • Steve June 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

        Is this whole video directed at people who are training for aesthetics? And not the people who care about strength?

        • Lol June 3, 2012 at 10:53 am #

          It’s for those who want to activate Straight Bitch mode.

      • Dude. June 2, 2012 at 9:19 pm #


      • Alien July 3, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

        The horizontal leg press is by no means safer than a squat. Once, you bring your legs in and your lower back and butt start to roll it is stretching the lumbar in an unnatural position which can cause tears in ligaments and compression of the lumbar discs. A squat done properly retains the natural curve of the back distributing the weight across multiple joints and supporting muscles…

        Nevermind, I’m wasting my breath… you don’t understand physiology anyway.

  49. Jon June 2, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    Most back injuries from lifting aren’t the bones snapping to pieces, but rather it is the intervertebral discs being herniated.

  50. legbrah June 2, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who watched your video is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • Wendell June 2, 2012 at 9:25 pm #


  51. Trey June 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    What studies do you have to back up your theory? I didn’t see a single point in your post that led me to believe that it was purely your opinion. If you want to convince me, give me studies and empirical data.

    On a long enough timeline, the chance of falling down the stairs and breaking your spine are 100% as well. Hell on a long enough timeline, the chance of you gouging your eyes out with your toothbrush are probably 100%.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      The laws of logic dictate that I do not actually need to back up my claims — you have to back up yours (the assertion that a barbell squat is safe).

      This is true because I am not logically obligated to defend a negative, much like I am not obligated to defend my claim that God *does not* exist. You have no proof that God exists, nor do you have proof that a free standing barbell squat is universally safe in “good form”.

      While I realize that you will run to Google and cite a personally crafted list of studies and statistical research that support your *positive* claim, please try to grasp the idea that studies do not dictate reality, and that correlation does not = causation.

      To definitely prove that a free standing barbell squat is fundamentally safe is a monumental task in and of itself, never mind that it’s fundamentally unsafe and bio-mechanically antagonistic, at best.

      • Wendell June 2, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

        If you use correlation does not = causation, then you can’t claim that your friend blew his knees out from squatting, just because he was squatting doesn’t mean that is what caused it.

        • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

          Umm… yes it does. Because one of my best friends watched this happen. He watched his friend fall forward, and blow his knees out, squatting.

          His knees crashing into the ground with a few hundred pounds on his back was the absolute reason they “blew out”.

          God was this a serious comment?

          • Wendell June 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

            Yes it is serious, the squat correlated to his knees blowing out, but that doesn’t mean they caused it. Could have been the way he laced his shoes up. Could have been a bone disease that has yet to be discovered.

            I don’t have to prove the negative that the squat didn’t cause his knees to blow out, you have to prove that they did.

            Also, it is hearsay and therefore isn’t a good example.

          • Robert June 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

            Well, seems to me that his failure to set the safety bars in the rack resulted in the force of the weight driving his knees into the ground. The fall caused the injury.

          • Julian June 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

            No it isn’t. Correlation is not causation. Actually his knees were just accidentally crashing at that moment (like it happens pretty often in lots of sports, fact) and that was the reason he fell forward.

            Correlation is not causation.

            It could also be that because something is wrong with his body, he has weak knees. This causes him to feel bad and thus in an emotional moment he decided to ram his knees into the ground.

            Now lets be serious.

            Its ridiculous that you mention one accident that happened because of bad form. Lots of people aren’t able to get up during the squat, they drop the weight safely backwards, I see it sometimes in the powerlifting gym.

            What happened there is the absolute exception, has nothing to do with the spine or the knees and everything to do with bad technique and no spotter.

          • Robert June 2, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

            The more I’m involved in this the more I understand why Dreamer failed out of school….he obviously didn’t understand the need to provide citations in his research papers bc fuck the academic writing process….

            And MC, pull your head out of your fucking ass and let the adults talk. Yeah, one wrong step is all it takes, for anything. I wonder if you were to break your ankle stepping off your front porch, would you become a shut in bc stepping outside of your door caused you injury once? This is the type of mentality your favorite college flunky is espousing.

            • MC June 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm #


              There’s a difference between a wrong step walking, and a wrong step with a fucking loaded barbell resting against your spine.

              Hope I don’t hurt your feelings this time. I can tell by all the PMSing you’ve been doing how much my other comments must have hurt you.

      • legbrah June 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

        There was no logic in your video, period.

        • DrinkLiftGamble June 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

          He doesn’t give a shit about the video, other than he made money cause we were stupid enough to click on it and see an ad.

          • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

            Actually I’m most happy that over 5,000 people saw “”. The money is insignificant compared to that.

            • Wendell June 2, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

              Where is that located?

          • legbrah June 3, 2012 at 7:01 am #

            come at me bro

      • John June 2, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

        Can you produce any proof that God doesn’t exist or that barbell squats are bad for you?

        If one can not produce proof backing their statements, would you not take said statements with a grain of salt?

        I’m saying this because I am a very logical person, and thus I require proper citation on all arguments.

      • Julian June 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

        You claim the squat is bad for the back. YOU make the claim. Now WE have to prove something?

        And then you tell us that we need to back up our claims. But if we would actually do that and back up our claims, it doesn’t count because “studies and statistical research doesn’t dictate reality”. Great.

        So how I ask you are we supposed to back up our claims? You start becoming ridiculous and talk like some religious zealot now, seriously.

        Do you see this?

        “MRI revealed normal alignment, no evidence of disc herniation or compressive disc disease. ”

        This guy squats > 1000 lbs. Thats definite proof that the spine adapts (they measured bmd) and you can even squat 1000 lbs and have zero damage to your spine. I don’t know what more one could want to prove the safety of the squat.

        Now tell me how you can explain this away.

        Ah, I forgot. Research doesn’t dictate reality. No it doesn’t. But it SHOWS reality.

        • Robert June 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

          While I certainly agree with your overall argument, I would say that using the 1000 lb squatter as an example in this instance probably isn’t the best idea. Guys who squat 850 or better are wearing supportive squat suits that take a significant portion of the weight out of the equation.

      • Seriously... June 3, 2012 at 3:03 am #

        I can’t believe this fundamental misunderstanding of simple logic. You ABSOLUTELY have to back up your claims. You are, whether you realize it or not, making a positive claim. You are claiming that squatting is bad. A negative claim would be “squatting is not good.” There is a monumental difference. In one scenario, you are presenting information and, in the other, you are responding to it. On top of this, once someone has demonstrated to some degree that squatting is good you must address the evidence if you want to logically hold your position… If you fail to do so, as you have, it will become clear that you are wrong.

      • John Willows June 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

        “The laws of logic dictate that I do not actually need to back up my claims — you have to back up yours (the assertion that a barbell squat is safe).

        This is true because I am not logically obligated to defend a negative, much like I am not obligated to defend my claim that God *does not* exist. You have no proof that God exists, nor do you have proof that a free standing barbell squat is universally safe, in “good form”, or otherwise.”

        So what about that “positive claim” that squats are going to, 100% of the time in 100% of people, cause an injury?

        That’s a highly specific claim which you asserted and one which, to be taken seriously in any health profession, would have to be supported by actual evidence. At the very least you’d have to have conducted some sort of large observational study to establish that, out of the population of people who squat, we see a large incidence of crippling injury.

        Do you have any of that, or is your entire hypothesis based on “things I saw and/or felt”, otherwise known as the utterly unreliable anecdote?

        Invoking “laws of logic” [sic] doesn’t eliminate this issue for your side of the argument. This has nothing to do with logic, but rather with an untenable and unsupported position which you’re now trying to defend by way of poor reasoning and what looks like a decidedly poor understanding of how science works.

        “To definitively prove that a free standing barbell squat is fundamentally safe is a monumental task in and of itself, never mind that it’s fundamentally unsafe and bio-mechanically antagonistic, at best.”

        This is, at best, a confirmation that you operate under a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works as a mechanism. You don’t “prove” anything in science. You establish possibilities, likelihoods, rates of risk, and so on — but “proving truth” as you’ve so confidently set the bar here is an unattainable standard.

        So about that confidently-asserted 100% risk-rate? How about some evidence…anything, any reason at all…to back that up?

      • Trey June 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

        If I went to Google for research then it would be more effort to support my opinion than you’ve put forth.

        To equate the safety of barbell squats to proving the existence of God is a bit of a stretch. I have no idea how you could test the existence of God, but I have a few theories as how you could test whether or not barbell squats are beneficial or detrimental. Gather a group of test subjects, have one group squat, have the other do leg presses, measure their musculature, perform bone density scans, x-ray their spines, do compressive load tests, and on and on. There are literally dozens of tests that can be done to build evidence towards the hypothesis that squat are good or bad for you.

        Can anything ever be 100% proven, I suppose not. As for the God debate, my pet theory is that the universe really began 5 minutes ago and that we all have pre-planted memories.

      • Jay June 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

        You’re analogy with the argument of God exists vs does not exist is a completely improper analogy.

        Number one, God’s existence CAN be proven through pure analytical logic provided the premises begun with are sound and accepted.

        Number 2, this is not a metaphysical question, unlike God, the safety or danger of squats can be EMPIRICALLY observed, tested, and extrapolated from. So ANY statement of one or the other must have logical support, which in this case necessitates empirical evidence because this is in its nature an empirical subject

        Further, you’ve essentially ignored any logical points against your idiotic claims, so I can only conclude that you’re a closed minded bigot with an opinion who refuses to accept anything remotely resembling logic while at the same refusing to provide any support of a similar nature

      • dogsmycopilot July 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

        I disagree with this. The “can’t prove god doesn’t exist” thing is because you can’t prove a negative. In this case the lack of injury would be the negative. We can’t (supposedly) prove the negative that squats don’t cause injury so it is on your side to prove the affirmative that they do. This should be relatively easy if it is the case, there should be boucoudles of medical cases where squat is the sole cause of debilitating injury. I’m open to reading those studies.

        • Anthony Dream Johnson July 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

          The basic premise of this article is not that the barbell back squat causes injury, it is that it is fundamentally unsafe and bio-mechanically antagonistic.

          • anon August 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

            … which is a positive claim (a claim that something (injury) is caused by something else (squat) ).

            actually the claim that squats cause injuries is equivalent, logically, to the claim that god exists.

            Whereas the opposite (God does not exist, or proper Squats do not cause injuries) are positions which are not provable, only disprovable.

            You can prove something unsafe, just like you can prove (beyond reasonable doubt) that something exists, but you cannot Prove, logically, that something is Safe or that something does not exist.

  52. Kaz June 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    I bet if I asked you how much can you squat the answer you replied with would be the reason you wrote this stupid argument.

    You left out one important claim about squatting. It makes you better at life.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

      Gee, that looks safe. I wonder what would have happened had he — for any reason — fell forward

      My guess is he’d be eating through a straw for the rest of his life.



      • Kaz June 3, 2012 at 3:38 am #

        How about the fact that he squatted that ten times easy? If you fell forward while walking and landed in an awkward position you could be spending the rest of your life drinking from a straw so maybe your talking about people who suffer from incorrect body function or mechanics? How can you make a claim like that on someone who squats double their body weight as correctly as someone who squats only their body weight?
        If you stuff your self up lifting weights it all comes down to your form/technique. Its like driving a car if you don’t know how to drive properly you are going to have an accident which may end up a life threatening injury but once you are taught to drive properly… blah blah blah you get the idea. Don’t make claims on something which have not mastered and experienced yourself first hand.
        Once again I ask how much can you squat?
        If you don’t squat how much do you dead lift? Hip thrust? Split lunge? Have you experienced close to double your body weight either in your hands or on your back or shoulders? Also what about the shear forces that act on the spine during a conventional deadlift or bent over row? are these forces not as bad or even worse than the compression forces that act on the spine during a back squat? Maybe you have had a bad experience falling forward and are now terminally restricted to a bed due to your dysfunctional squatting style? Whatever the reason… I know this stupid threads gonna make me squat big tomorrow hahahaha.

      • dogsmycopilot July 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

        With many racks it’s impossible to fall forward while keeping the bar on you. The rack would catch the bar due to the difference in width of the bar and the rack, you might fall on your face and be embarrassed but you wouldn’t be trapped under the bar or anything.

      • Big Burt April 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm #

        Mr. Dream,

        You forgot to take into account that Mr. Mendes has the spatial awareness to stand on two feet. Often times, before olympic weightlifters even begin their training, their coaches will test them to see if they can stand on both feet. I’m sure Mr. Mendes’ coach has tested and re-tested his ability to stand on two feet. So there is no need to worry about Mr. Mendes ability to stand up on both feet. That is thoughtful of you, however, to speculate on whether or not Mr. Mendes can stand up on two feet.

  53. Robert June 2, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    Well how convenient it is for you that you don’t have to back up your claims. I’d ask for citation from the “Laws of Logic” but I guess you wouldn’t be obligated to respond accordingly….HOWEVER, the laws of science and credibility require that you do back up claims with evidence. And right now, your level of credibility is sinking like a quadruple amputee in the ocean, not only are you losing credibility on this blog, but it’s also effecting your reputation concerning this 21 Convention thing….

    Simply put, commenters like Julian and I have supplied evidence to our argument. You have not.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      Yeah … and I don’t have to. Really, defending my argument like you are asking me to, is self-defeating and undermines my argument in the first place.

      If I don’t have to logically defend it, I don’t have to logically defend it. Same way I don’t have to explain to you why I have a right to my life.

      • Wendell June 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

        That is the logical equivalent of “I’m taking my ball and going home.”

        >Yeah … and I don’t have to. Really, defending my argument like you are asking me to, is self-defeating and undermines my argument in the first place.

        Evidence undermines an argument, means the argument is incorrect.

      • Julian June 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

        This is so crappy…

        You expect us to back up our claims… But if we back up our claims, it doesn’t count because studies “don’t dictate” reality. And anecdotal evidence of course also doesn’t count.

        I ask you, how are we supposed to back up our claims. Which possible way could there be. It isn’t possible.

      • Jay June 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

        There’s no argument to undermine. Which is why people are asking for you to back it up, you haven’t provided an argument from sound premises

  54. Chris June 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    Honestly if you attempted to squat just the bar resting squarely on your neck, you are going to hurt your neck. The bar should be resting on the middle trapezius, which helps to create a layer of muscles that cover the upper spine prior to the neck. Thus you should have little to no pressure at all on your spine from the bar resting across you back and shoulders. Have you ever even bothered to see if there is a crushing danger of ones neck from a bar while falling forward? I challenge you to prove this crushing danger. Rest a bar with at least a 45 pound plate on each side on the ground and lay on the ground and have a friend slowly roll the bar over the top of you body. Funny thing is that the bar is going to hit you in about the same place that your suppose to rest the bar while squatting.

    I am very curious as to why your smaller back muscles would not respond to weight training in the same fashion that your leg muscles do? The human spine is designed to carry weight vertically and to resist the acceleration of gravity as well. Unless you are trying to making huge jumps in weight, you can’t squat more than your core muscles will allow you to do. You can build up your legs doing leg press and squat machine work, but until you put the bar across your back, you will not work the core and you will not be able to reach the same weight as the other lifts. Anyone that is reading this can likely walk into any gym anywhere in the world and find a person that can leg press 3 times what they can squat easily. The lower squat weight is not because of weak leg muscles, clearly. It is the core muscles that have not been strengthened to the point necessary to preform the squat at near equal weights.

    As someone that is clearly as uneducated as you are about this subject, I would ask that you refrain from sharing your opinions in any such forum as this were people could mistake what you are saying for fact.

  55. john June 2, 2012 at 9:58 pm #

    Look maybe you are a smart guy. But you are completly unqualified to entirly dismiss the barbell squat. What have you feats of strength have you accomplished with out it. Or who have you trained to accomplish great things without it. On what grounds are you declaring it unsafe? Because we have spines!!!! And some guy blew a knee with 800lbs on his back. Guys tear pecs benching 315. You can tear a bicep curling. Sammy sosa got hurt sneezing one time. There are two kinds of knowledge when it comes to strength training. Science and time under the bar AKA experience. I guarantee you do not have enough of both of these to have an opinion on the matter. Stop trying to revolutionize strength trining with ideas you pulled out of your ass.

  56. Wendell June 2, 2012 at 10:09 pm #


    I think your post, on your forums, seem to be advocating a member to do squats.

    • Tardovski June 3, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      > the chicken is great, but you won’t get much calorically from the rice . . .

      I seriously wondered if this was all an elaborate prank but no, this dude is just completely pre-literate. Need brainbleach now.

  57. Julian June 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    I guess the best thing is to just stop giving this troll and more attention.

    He asks that we back up our claims instead of him.

    If we do, he claims that the evidence doesn’t dictate reality.

    Therefore, we can’t back anything up because he doesn’t accept whatever we give him.

    Guess what, your opinion (and there is nothing more) also doesn’t dictate reality.

    • MC June 2, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

      I believe the claim he made was that a heavy barbell resting on your spine, and you missing a step, falling, doing one rep too many, will not be good for your spine or your life. I don’t see how anyone can argue that is some absurd statement.

      You’re the ones making ridiculous claims of immortality through back squat. No one is required to do a free weight back squat. You have no convincing reasons to do a free weight back squat, other then it’ll make you better at doing a free weight back squat.

      • Julian June 3, 2012 at 7:13 am #

        I was doing a rep too much. Threw the barbell down. No problem. If I miss a step or fall, there is no problem. Thats why I’ve got a squat rack that keeps the barbell from crushing me. I can stumble as much as I want, all that will happen is the barbell falling on top of the safety pins in the squat rack. It seems you’ve never seen a squat rack nor have you ever done barbell squats. There are lots of convincing reasons to do them, higher hormone activation, effects on the cns and lots of other benefits you only got with the big compound movements.

        • MC June 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

          Perhaps you didn’t read “free weight back squats.”

          I wasn’t talking about the kind of squats you’re doing, but free weight back squats. Again, no reason to do a free weight back squat. A back squat with a squat rack that helps hold the bar in place and using the two safety pins to prevent it from hitting straight down to the floor, is NOT a free weight back squat.

          • Ian Sturrock June 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

            That *is* a free weight back squat, which kind of demonstrates conclusively that you really shouldn’t be posting here, MC.

            Anyone with any sense uses a squat rack to do their free weight back squatting in, unless they have an alternate solution for safety, such as saw-horses (Dan John style).

            You will not see anyone who advocates back squatting, who doesn’t also say that the place you should be doing it is in a squat rack.

            • MC June 3, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

              @Ian Sturrock

              What is a back squat then that doesn’t use a squat rack to stabalize and hold the barbell in place?

              Whatever you want to call it, THAT’s what I’m advocating against. THAT’s what I’m talking about.

              If I’m calling it something wrong, then that doesn’t change what I’ve been talking about. It just means I used the wrong word.

              I’ve been posting here for longer then most people that have commented on this topic. This isn’t a place where only experts that know everything come to post. I generally come here to learn things. I’m no expert, nor did I claim to be.

              Feel free to tell me the proper name of a back squat that doesn’t use a squat rack to stabalize and hold the bar for you.

              • Ian Sturrock June 3, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

                The squat rack doesn’t stabilise or hold the bar for you, except before you lift the bar off the pins to get it in place for the lift. The squat rack is *only* there to catch the bar if you drop it.

                The fact that you don’t know this incredibly basic stuff is a pretty good indication that you have no business saying what is and isn’t a sensible way to squat.

                Your comments are kind of reminiscent of a person who has never left their landlocked country advising on the best way to surf.

                • MC June 3, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

                  @Ian Sturrock

                  Actually you just made it clear to me that what you’re talking about is not the same thing I’ve been talking about.

                  I assumed Julian was talking about a rack that holds the bar in place WHILE doing the squat, and was saying that’s why his squatting was safe. So I told him I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about free weight back squats.

                  Then you just confused the situation by saying (to me) that a rack that holds the bar in place during the squat is a free weight back squat. That’s what I thought you were saying at least, which is why I was confused. Then you started to claim I didn’t know what I was talking about, but really, you just weren’t clear as to what you were talking about.

                  So, let’s be clear. Free weight back squat I think is unsafe. A back squat that holds the bar in place DURING the exercise is safer.

                  • Ian Sturrock June 3, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

                    That’s because what you’re talking about… is not in the same language the rest of the world uses. :)

                    I didn’t say anything about a rack “holding the bar in place”. Are you thinking of a Smith machine? That’s not a squat rack.

                    Really — if you want to sound authoritative — in fact, if you just want to sound like you’re not an idiot — you could start out by going to the gym, and at least learning the terminology. Then read the Rippetoe book. Then spend six months doing the programme. That would be a good start.

                    Otherwise the assumption is that you’re either (a) just one of “Dream”‘s mates, feeling he’s being attacked, and weighing in to defend him even though you’re clueless, or (b) another Ron Paul fan, hoping that if this website gets lots of hits, more people will vote for Paul. Though why “two idiots who are scared of squats like him” would cause anyone to change their vote, I’ve no idea.

                    • MC June 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

                      @Ian Sturrock

                      Again, I wasn’t talking about a Smith Machine, or anything for that matter other then a free weight back squat.

                      Julian mentioned using a rack though that would prevent the barbell from falling on him or crushing him, so I ASSUMED he was talking about some sort of rack that would hold the barbell in place while he did the squat, otherwise he was talking about the same rack I would have been talking about which wouldn’t do jack shit to prevent it from falling on him if he was in the middle of a squat and couldn’t lift anymore.

                      Of course when I ASSUMED he was talking about some rack that holds the bar in place during the exercise, you came in and said “that is a free weight back squat.” Then I became confused.

                      You getting it yet? Getting what happened here?

                      Feel free to stop acting like a jackass when you finally understand what happened.

                    • Ian Sturrock June 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

                      A squat rack will prevent the barbell from falling on him or crushing him. If you’d lifted, you’d know that. You wouldn’t have to invent your magic new kind of rack that’s not a squat rack and not a Smith machine. :)

                      So — do you even lift? If you think back squats are too scary — how much do you deadlift?

          • dogsmycopilot July 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

            You are mixing up a squat rack with a Smith Machine. The Smith is the one that holds the bar in place for you, a regular squat rack does not, although there are different kinds of squat racks none of the kinds are a Smith Machine.

  58. Corey June 2, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Laws of logic? Are you daft? OK, from someone much smarter than you, I will try to make this incredibly simple. The burden of proof ALWAYS falls on the person making the accusation. What does this mean? YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOUR NEGATIVE! In Law, the burden of proof falls on the State. If it was up to the defendant to prove his/her innocence, everyone would get the death penalty. They do not have to prove the positive. See how simple this is? QED. (that’s a Latin initialism, probably WAY over your head.)

    You simple minded creature. Yes, I can say God does not exist, and someone can also claim that he does. Who’s right? Neither, because we truthfully do not know. That makes it a poor analogy, and a logical fallacy. You provide no evidence short of shoddy observation. We are biomechanically BUILT for squatting. Don’t believe me? Look at a toddler. Look at how people poop in un(der)developed countries. If we were not meant to squat, we wouldn’t have legs. It’s that simple. Now, you’ll probably use some childish argument like “you’re stating without weight, this is different.” No, it is not. Anyone with half of a brain will understand that. If your argument holds any truth whatsoever, then, DAMN…why are we all wasting so much time in the gym? I could make your same petty argument for ANY movement.

    Why, if the squat is so dangerous, does it elicit such a high hormonal response in our body?

    Shut up. Just…shut up. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

  59. john June 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    This article may be my favorite internet fail of all time!!!! HAHA This self described “Ideal man” who i think is 23. Decided that squats are the WORST EXERCISE IN EXISTINCE” Gets Absolutly SMASHED in the replies. Decides thats his point needs no proof whatsoever. And its our job to prove his theory incorect. Posters come up with studies and anecdotal evidence gallore. Then the author just starts talking crypticaly about religion and logic. Ever think the reason your being attacked is your just flat out wrong. The only point you seem to be clinging to at this point is under extreme circimstances the squat is marginally unsafe. Let me try and make one final point. YOU ARE NOT STRONG. STRONG PEOPLE ARE TELLING YOU SQUATS MADE THEM STRONG. YOU CALL THEM DUMB. THEREFORE YOU WILL REMAIN NOT STRONG.

  60. Wendell June 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    I, for one, would like to know:
    How much your friend was squatting when he screwed his knees?
    How much did he weight?
    How many years had he been training the squat?
    Did he receive any professional training for the squat? Or did he just “figure it out” as he went?

  61. Brian June 2, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    This is all very interesting, but how much do you squat? Let’s quantify the progress in absolute terms we all understand, like pounds on a bar through full ROM.

    • Kaz June 3, 2012 at 3:45 am #

      Thank you Brian!! Yeah b*tch how much you squat? I bet he cant squat his BW. hahaha

  62. justsomeguy June 2, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Well I have to agree, I’ve been squatting for fifteen years and all was well until that accident. I was warming up with 120KG an early morning and my mind started to wander, before I knew it I got off balance and crashed down. The safety pins caught the bar but I’d already torned of an achilles tendon and permanently damaged my lower back.

    • Kaz June 3, 2012 at 3:47 am #

      who the fuck warms up with 120kg you idiot haha

      • Wendell June 3, 2012 at 7:06 am #

        the better question is, who lets their mind wander while they squat?

        • James June 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

          Lol I concur

  63. john June 2, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    Maybe I am being to harsh here. Your body will not destroy itself. If you take the time to learn proper form. Your body will only squat as much as the weak links” your so worried about protecting” will allow your body to. The body is smart. It will only activate muscle to a point . When the body sences instability it will not active any further skeletal muscle. Maybe you learned in biology about the power of the body of an 80 year old woman to lift a car to save a baby. Our bodys are born with the muscular potential to tear our joints apart. Its the bodys own sort of moderating that prevents it from doing so. In times of crisis the body says screw it and just gives it everything its got. Why can you bench press many times more then you can standing cable press. STABILITY. Same reason you can not one legged squat exactly half what you can bilaterally squat. (with out practice and training) Try squatting on a bosu ball. Your numbers will go way down. Your neuromuscular activation goes down. Try squatting on roller skates and watch your body attempt to protect itself by cutting down available muscle recruitment. Squats work exactly the opposite of what you claim. Rather then the legs getting stronger and ripping apart the core. The body will decrease activation of the leg muscles till the core DOES ADAPT. And Many squatters DO squat to get a strong back. The Back is key. It makes you exponentially stronger. You are incorrect in asserting that SQUAT=LEGS. Thats the only reason to do it. You can laugh about core strength all you want. But it matters.

  64. john June 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    Also Elitefts posted an article stating never take fitness advice from someone peddling a product. I dont know if this guy makes money of this arx thing. But he sure seems to like it. And that would be enough to cloud someones judgment.

    • Billy Helo June 3, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

      Oh yes.. because Elitefts isn’t selling anything…

  65. Alex June 3, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    “The laws of logic dictate that I do not actually need to back up my claims — you have to back up yours (the assertion that a barbell squat is safe).

    This is true because I am not logically obligated to defend a negative, much like I am not obligated to defend my claim that God *does not* exist. You have no proof that God exists, nor do you have proof that a free standing barbell squat is universally safe, in “good form”, or otherwise.”

    It is widely accepted that, in a given argument, the negative is effectively unprovable. For your point to actually be the negative, it would have to be unprovable, or at least practically unprovable. Our claim, that the squat is “safe” or “NOT dangerous”, as you admitted, is effectively unprovable. This makes your claim, in fact, the positive, and merits its rephrasing to “barbell squatting is dangerous.”

    I will reiterate, in case this isn’t clear – It cannot be proven that in every case the barbell squat is safe; it can [in theory,] however be proven that in some cases the squat is unsafe.

    Moving on from there, by asserting that “the barbell squat is dangerous” because we have not yet proven the [effectively unprovable] negative “the barbell squat is not dangerous,” you are committing the logical fallacy Arguing from Ignorance. If you do not provide evidence that the barbell squat is dangerous (and in this case, you’ll need a lot to show that it’s “the worst exercise in existence,”) you have no argument, and should probably stop being a condescending douche.

    Nice try with the logic bullshit though.

  66. Richard F June 3, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    An 82 year old man — 60 years older than you — squats over 350lbs. Instant invalidation of your idea, which that’s all it is, that squats are going to kill you. This isn’t anecdotal and it’s an officially sanctioned meet. If squatting was so bad for you, a man 60 years older than you wouldn’t be doing them, blowing your *only* idea about why squats are bad for you completely out of the water.

  67. Randy June 3, 2012 at 1:40 am #

    Your middle name is “Dream”. Therefore, I cannot take you seriously. Do you even lift?

  68. Robert June 3, 2012 at 1:54 am #

    Again, MC…shut the fuck up, get on your bowflex and play with your clit silently while the big boys hash this out. You’re out of your league. I don’t give two shits if you agree with Anthony or not, if you can’t defend your arguments with fact, then you’re as useless as Dreamer…..

    Justsomeguy….I’m sorry you injured yourself. I really am. It’s a shitty situation that can happen to any lifter, doing any exercise, at any time, and its tough to hear of losing a fellow iron brother. But in all honesty, it did take you 15yrs to hurt yourself, and you admitted yourself that you lost focus. I’m not here to portray squats as 100% safe. You must make it a safe as you possibly can. But the views espoused by Anthony Dreamer is that under no circumstances is the exercise safe, and everytime you get under the bar, you are toying with your life……that just simply isn’t the case.

  69. The Troll June 3, 2012 at 2:37 am #


  70. Bo June 3, 2012 at 2:39 am #

    Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I’m still reading this thread. Yes, you have to defend your claims. It is not enough to posit that something follows logically. If I make the claim that breathing is essential and someone denies that, then I need to defend that claim. By the way you define a negative argument, you seem to think it’s enough that your phrasing of the problem contains the word “not”. But you are also making the positive claim that the squat is harmful. Please put aside your version of logic for a while and cite a study. One. Not that one study should have anyone immediately convinced, but because it would make a huge difference here.

    I seem addicted to this thread, but if you make the claim one more time that you do not need to back up your argument, then I will be permanently gone. Why should you bother? Because you are trying to convince a large group of people in your area of work that you know better. You should care about us coming here and showing respect for your opinions, whether we share them or not.

    It is deeply saddening as well as frustrating that you do not seem to understand why proof is necessary.

    • Nick June 3, 2012 at 3:50 am #

      What is it that you want us to take from this whole blog and disscussion? Yes I understand that Squating is dangerous and has its risk, I think a majority of us believe there is a risk in squating. We also believe that there is a risk in just about anything in life. These risks are what fuels us as human beings. Yes loading someone with a barbell who has never done it before is probably going to hurt them, thats because of lack of training not the squat itself. Put that aside though and think about how you conduct yourself on your blog and how you present information to the public. I f you want your opinion to be heard be willing to hear the opinion of others without disrespectful backlash. (goes both ways) Obviously we are here to listen to what you have to say on this topic and would like to hear about why squating is bad, and not because you said so. Because you have done case studies, because you have spent countless hours in the gym and have seen the negative effects, because you have read the research to both support squating and against it, and compared the two. Hey you maybe right, who is to say you are wrong but your credibility does not help us follow what information you are giving. Those of us who spend the hours doing research on these subjects and take the time to properly present our bodies of research to the public whether it be on a blog or in a conference have a hard time when someone makes these specific claims of catstrophic events with no evidence. It makes it hard for us to steer people in the right direction when it comes to training.While I do appreciate you taking the time to discuss your opinion I would only hope that you spend more time with how you present the information and actually have something for us to read and learn from on the subject you speak of.

  71. Will Levy June 3, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    The “To squat or not to squat” debate has already been best addressed and surmised by Mike Boyle, a far more experienced, successful, and respected strength coach than yourself. He has reported on his rationale for, his findings on, and his successes with the elimination of loaded bilateral squat variations and the increase in prescription of heavily loaded single leg exercises within his athlete’s training programs.
    Any strength coach worth their salt has stood up and taken notice of Boyle’s stance. It is generally acknowledged that he makes some valid points, and his choice seems particularly logical given his situation of being a coach to athletes that train in very large groups, and often for short training cycles depending on their athletic season.
    From Boyle’s push to eliminate squats, most strength coaches are certainly more cognizant of the risk to benefit ratio when using or prescribing loaded squats, and allowing a client/athlete to squat will be strictly determined by their assessment, yet few have given them the same total ban as Boyle.
    Personally, I still squat. As do several of my clients and athletes. However, many do not, based on their individual screening.
    I agree that the risk to benefit ratio becomes more unfavourable as an athlete/client’s squat strength rises. How strong in a squat does a team sport athlete, or a desk jockey, need to be? Personally, I feel that if a person has a solid squat pattern, that loading up to 1.5 x bwt is a very safe minimum marker for most. Above that, we further weigh up the risk to reward for the individual in question.

    To summarise, there are several points both for and against your basic claim to avoid loaded squatting.
    However, your utter disregard for scientific refererences and reasoning and, more so, your failure to acknowledge far more prominent people than yourself in the field to which you allege your passion, smacks of an internet warrior out to gain publicity, and paints you as both disrespectful and ignorant.

  72. Burton June 3, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    Your article is way more dangerous than squatting – I, for one, nearly ruptured my spleen laughing.

  73. Jackson Marshall June 3, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    G’Day Mate;

    you have presented an interesting argument and one that has caused a few responses from very passionate users of the back squat and other Olympic lifts I must say. So well done on generating a debate. I had to Google you real quick as the Four Hour Work Week sitting on my shelf was written by Tim Ferriss. Regardless…

    I am not a follower of your blog, and as such am unaware about your origins or belief system which has caused an analysis of the back squat. What I would thus question is stats which show that the barbell back squat is infact as dangerous as proposed verse a number of things, such as more serious issues as smoking, drinking or even driving a car. Further, since it is a fitness exercise, or as I think you put it, not an exercise coming from the Olympic/Power Lifting family but rather an invention for competition… Wait, let me clarify that point. Is is correct you placed the back squat into a family of movements you described invented for the purpose of competition? If so, does this movement need any more analysis then any other competition activity, such as a back flip on a dirt bike?

    The barbell back squat as a training exercise for the average joe, would likely be performed at a lower fatigue rep range, not a 1RM, but in the reps of say 10-20, so does not necessarily pose the degree of spinal column threat you have described, you need to be clear whether your attacking the movement in general or its use in sports such as power lifting. As a hypertrophy exercise the back squat falls into the group of functional lifts, such is the name is because, as a matter of fact causes whole body stimulation to lift the load, including midline stabilisation of the core/back to support the load, thus requiring the large focus it does infact gain on correct posture so as to not cause flexion, but rather stacking of the vertebrae and thus even distribution of the load on the back through to the pelvis and through to the ground.

    Is it a great leg workout, indeed. Is it the only leg exercise, no – this you are correct about. But as mentioned it falls into the family of functional lifts, thus requiring the activation of the whole skeleton to achieve the task, such as required and infact replicated in every day life, this is an evolutionary fact and can be viewed through the course of history, a point you might have overlooked when you stated there was no historical need for the barbell back squat.

    The barbell, as a point, is a method in which the back can be loaded, to achieve the task of the barbell back squat. There are high and low barbell positions and then the accompanying front squat which when placed in their relevent positions do infact load the hips and leg muscles in uniquely different ways, hence their varying degree of difficulty and huge load lifting difference between the bar positions.

    Again coming back to the points you made about no historical need for this movement and your lack in clarifying the difference in high rep hypertrophy training and power lifting, the barbell back squat is replicated in the spinal column loading by many cultures which carry huge loads in by back or on top of their head, I look to many Eastern cultures whom do this. Since your arguments against the barbell back squat are actually focused to the spinal column not the squatting motion, how would you argue the ineffectiveness of Empires which were forged upon the grunt labour of servants carrying loads in by back? Surely their conditioning to the exercises allowed them to carry greater loads with increased safety through improved technique and strength.

    If a barbell back squat did not challenge the legs, it would not require leg strength to squat then?!

    Again belonging to the family of functional movements and your point about the deadlift “maybe” being a valid motion, I will point out that the family of functional movements are as such in part because they replicate life. A deadlift is used daily, when a grandma picks up her dear little cats food off the ground, just as the functional movement of the press is used when she places it into the pantry above her head. If she were to sit back into a chair with a back pack on, she would be performing a back loaded back squat.

    These movements are replicated daily, and as such is why they have been immortalised as being termed power and Olympic lifts.

    The only valid argument I think you make is the appropriate use of high weight 1RM style movements as seen in power lifting used in untrained people. This, I do agree poses a huge risk to their health and safety. However, this argument then would not be against the back squat, but rather the performance of high weight moves without adequate training and safety devices. Your point of squatting without a cage/rack is not a valid argument against the back squat, rather the stupidity of people performing a risk movement as you put it, just like driving without a seatbelt or riding a motor cycle without a helmet. Neither of which society attempts to use as validation points for no longer using motor transportation.

    When a person does fail a back squat by falling forward, as I have seen and experienced my self, I do agree it is a scary experience. But the height of an Olympic lifting plate in radius is a greater distance then the diameter of a human head, so other then a bruise and graze, no serious damage usually occurs, at least when compared to the bench press, which statistically in the USA kills over 3 people a year, I am uncertain to the deaths caused by the back squat, perhaps you have those details for your follow up article?

    In closing, is the back squat used in history and the evolution of the human race, in a squatting function and replicated in other spinal loading? Yes, infact early transportation and agriculture was dependent upon it. Does back squatting strength the core and work the legs? Yes, any back squatting performed in the 10-20 rep range will fatigue the legs with minimal to no effect on the spine (when a proper training regime has been followed as preparation – thus again an individual that does not follow a proper preparation programme is to blame, not the activity they are undertaking). Is it used in daily life? Almost certainly by any individual, just ask a fat person if they squat with a huge load on their spine every time they sit. Is there a need to do heavy 1RM style power lifting? No not in daily life, only for competitive athletes. But this is not the argument you made, you made the argument against the squat its self and complete use.

    On a final point, it does not matter if God does or does not exist, or what side of an argument a person stands on. What matters, if you choose to stimulate debate, and you bring that debate/conversation to an audience, then you are the one whom infact needs the data to prove the argument you have brought before the audience. And in that case, the data I think you would need to produce are case studies from people whom have never used back squatting as an exercise and compare their strength, power and size (in their relevant sports) against users of the back squat and see statistically which is better (data which is not likely to exist). Second, you would need to provide data which proves either lasting spinal damage and/or death as a direct result to use of the back squat and not the failure of the individual to use safety measures (such as deaths to using a car with a seatbelt and without a seatbelt, the later not making cars more or less safer, just the risk mitigation method for the activity).

    So you have been asked to provide data that NOT using the back squat but other exercises will garnish equal results, and that the movement alone damages lives, not the idiots whom do it wrong. Again, like poor car safety, poor firearm safety or even posture issues from sitting at a PC all day writing uneducated articles and then claiming you don’t need to justify your points but others do.

    Here is an argument for your next article – the earth is flat and when sailors circumnavigated it due to quantum physics and crap it only seemed round, but I don’t need to prove that it is flat, you need to prove its round…

  74. john June 3, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    Its all BS. Thats why he can’t back them up. If his stupid arc machine had a barbell squat attatchment he would be squatting. It has a belt squat attatchment. Belt squats are a great assistance exericise. But they lack core development. Also the feet are too close together. If you look further throught this site its all about this new fitness gizmo. What a joke. I like how he suggests that there is this huge coalition of great exercise scientists that have come to a consensus that the squat is stupid. But this guy is the only one brave enough to come foward. GTFOH. Go tell louie simmons the squat is stupid. Mark rippetoe at age 50+ would smash you in a debate and a fight. People like dreamer are whats wrong with the internet. How would you feel if anyone actually listened to you and they were sentenced to a lifetime of being a pussy.

  75. Nick June 3, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    What is it that you want us to take from this whole blog and disscussion? Yes I understand that Squating is dangerous and has its risk, I think a majority of us believe there is a risk in squating. We also believe that there is a risk in just about anything in life. These risks are what fuels us as human beings. Yes loading someone with a barbell who has never done it before is probably going to hurt them, thats because of lack of training not the squat itself. Put that aside though and think about how you conduct yourself on your blog and how you present information to the public. I f you want your opinion to be heard be willing to hear the opinion of others without disrespectful backlash. (goes both ways) Obviously we are here to listen to what you have to say on this topic and would like to hear about why squating is bad, and not because you said so. Because you have done case studies, because you have spent countless hours in the gym and have seen the negative effects, because you have read the research to both support squating and against it, and compared the two. Hey you maybe right, who is to say you are wrong but your credibility does not help us follow what information you are giving. Those of us who spend the hours doing research on these subjects and take the time to properly present our bodies of research to the public whether it be on a blog or in a conference have a hard time when someone makes these specific claims of catstrophic events with no evidence. It makes it hard for us to steer people in the right direction when it comes to training.While I do appreciate you taking the time to discuss your opinion I would only hope that you spend more time with how you present the information and actually have something for us to read and learn from on the subject you speak of. It does seem that most of this is steming from the product you are peddling and if thats it you got us,

  76. Joe A June 3, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    This comment thread is sad. Couple observations:

    It takes literally no balls to anonymously call someone a pussy, question their ability to squat their own BW or make fun of their physique. I suggest you post a pic of your own physique and a video of your lifting ability before you go down that road or simply STFU…you sound like children.

    Also, for those saying squats are not ‘leg’ exercises b/c they work the back and core, etc. Let me ask you this, where do you include them in your program, on ‘back day’ or ‘leg day’? Get fucking real…if you are squatting, it is probably your primary lower body exercise. Yes, it affects more than the legs. So what.

    Now, I disagree with Anthony IF risk of catastrophic injury is the reason for the “worst exercise” label. I think, as some have commented on, the growing majority are inside a rack and less likely to become fatally wounded. The barbell bench press (performed the way the majority do) is far more likely to result in Christopher Reeves (or worse).

    That said, there is concern with the BB squat, even if the exerciser’s intention is to minimize the risks and remain diligent about proper performance. Mistakes happen. Fatigue can sneak up on you. Expecting a lifter (who is under duress) to maintain the concentration and capacity to balance the bar, control posture, breathe properly and lift with perfect form…day in and day out, over time is disappointment waiting to happen. The most common ‘issue’ is going to result from loaded spinal flexion…and it may not be life-altering, but it may be temporarily debilitating. Does that make it the ‘worst exercise’…that is for the end user to decide.

    The spine does not need to be loaded the way the barbell squat loads it. Some in this thread have even mentioned other ways to load the spine. Axial loading from the top (or near the top) may not even be the most effective way to load it, given that it is not a shaft. Bone adaptation is not limited to the amount of weight imposed…bones are loaded by the muscles tugging on them, the tension generated. In that regard, a person could effectively ‘load’ the spine via loading the muscles that attach to it…which can be done with exercises not named squat.

    ‘Can’ you load the spine this way? Yes. Someone posted pictures of people demonstrating this. Possessing the ability to perform something does not de facto make it a good idea for exercise. Cumulative wear and tear* may* have implications that should be considered when performing the activity for exercise, i.e. an activity that is supposed to improve your health and function, not deteriorate it. I’m not judging the squat here, I’m saying look at the bigger picture before latching on to your ideals. I squatted for years without issue, with significant weight. I no longer see the risk/reward as being in my favor.

    I choose exercises that allow me to target the musculature I’m working (not limit performance by that which I can balance on my shoulders, not limit performance to what smaller muscle groups…deep postural muscles are capable of sustaining) AND that allow me to fatigue them as deeply as possible. Barbel squats don’t fit into that paradigm. but that is me.

    If others want to get under the bar, best of luck. I suspect that one day (after you get strong enough to necessitate top-end loads; after you’ve spent enough time under the bar; maybe after an injury or degenerative changes in your skeleton; maybe after you cease feeling like you have to prove something via exercise) your tune may change. If not, and you are able to sustain this throughout your lifting careers, I’ll be the first one to congratulate you.

    • Julian June 3, 2012 at 9:01 am #

      evidence… where is it?

      • Joe A June 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

        evidence of what?

        Here’s the thing, quite a few have come on here trying to play internet squat expert. Obviously, if you have chosen to load yourself this way, you have to have done your must know all of the risks and benefits…all the things that could go wrong and how to prevent them,,,what proper from is and why…you don’t need others to provide anything else.

        If you haven’t, then you may want to investigate the subject fully…make your own decisions…for your own body. You don’t need my evidence…you need your own…it is the only thing that matters anyway.

        • Julian June 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

          Evidence of the harmful effects / the risks during the squat. The incident rate is less then 1 injury per 121,208 hours as I showed above. And even this is in 90% cured within a day.

          There is also no evidence of degenerative changes in skeleton, rather the opposite is true if you look at the actual facts described in studies that are presented here.

          There has yet not been provided a shred of evidence of any of the claims made here by these “anti-squatters”. On the contrary there is lots of evidence for the safety and health benefits.

          Did you read all the comments?

          • Joe A June 3, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

            See my reply above RE: evidence. Do your own investigation and draw your own conclusions, ultimately it is the only thing that should matter to you anyway. I’m happy to put my experience with squats (academically, practical application and teaching others) against most here. My ‘evidence’ led to my conclusions…everyone else is responsible for themselves…do whatever you want.

            But don’t kid yourself about the ‘evidence’ you provided. First, you are misrepresenting the conclusions by saying, “Evidence of the harmful effects / the risks during the squat. The incident rate is less then 1 injury per 121,208 hours as I showed above. And even this is in 90% cured within a day.” They did not look at the squats in isolation, so those hours include time spent doing other things, not just squat time. Also, “cures” were not reported…only time recommended before returning to workouts. It did not state the return to workout time for squat related injuries. None of this matters though, b/c the study suffers from selection bias. It only looked at elite level athletes…yeah, the conclusions are seriously relevant to yourself. But even if you pointed to some other random study, it does not replace or supersede the experience of the individual (assuming the individual has experience). You don’t need PubMed to tell you things you can observe for yourself and/or experience for yourself.

            Squat heavy enough and do it long enough and (observe others do the same) and I think you’ll understand the risks/outcomes I speak of. If not, then no ‘evidence’ that I (or anyone else) give you is going to change your perspective.

            Good luck with your training.

            • Julian June 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

              You’re delusional if you think anecdotal evidence (sample size = 1) > well conducted studies.

              • Joe A June 3, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

                Unless I am in the well conducted study, then I’ll take my n=1 every time when it comes to what I should or should not do with my body.

                But, your point is moot, as no “well conducted study” relevant to this discussion have you presented. Keep searching for PubMed to tell you how to workout…

                • Bill June 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

                  I did heroin once and didn’t get addicted which means I can safely do more.

                  I was walking once and rolled my ankle. Not walking ever again!

                  • MC June 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

                    Heroin is bad for you, whether you get addicted to it or not.

                    The purpose of walking is to get to places. Not to improve health. So it potentially leading to an accident is not counter to it’s purpose.

                    A physical injury is counter to the purpose of exercise, because the only reason to exercise is to improve health.

  77. Kim June 3, 2012 at 10:17 am #


    You sure do talk a lot and say nothing.

    Regardless of my opinion on your argument (I completely disagree, by the way), you have to realize that you NEVER actually answer any questions.

    I suppose it would be in my best interest to to educate myself and purchase your $77 DVD set: Exercise Super Pack…or not.


    P.S. ON a serious note: What is it that you ACTUALLY do? It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a website selling a product or service and you can’t even tell what it’s selling. Kudos to you for selling to schmucks.

    • MC June 3, 2012 at 6:58 pm #


      Everything on his DVD set is available for free on his other website or youtube. He streams all the content for free, but gives people who want to purchase the DVD set the option of purchasing it.

      If you watch that video, starting at 9:50, Bill DeSimone explores the difference between a barbell squat and a leg press.

      If you watch that video at the beginning you might get a hint as to what Anthony Johnson does.

      • Kim June 4, 2012 at 11:48 am #

        Minute 1:21 of above video – “First let me say I have no academic background in bio mechanics…” – Bill DeSimone. Lost me right there.

        • MC June 4, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

          I guess reading a textbook at school retains information more then reading the exact same textbook while not attending.

  78. myron gains June 3, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    do you even lift?

  79. john June 3, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Maybe i place them under FULL BODY EXERCISE / Movement. Any IDIOT that thinks it is UNBELEVIABLE For a tranee to squat for core stregnth. Then let me ask you WHY IS THE DEADLIFT THE NUMBER 1 Lift to most squat “zelouts” Other than the squat itself ?!?!?!?! The spinal loading that takes place when squatting is crutial for hormonal release and for triggering adaptations.
    I dont record my workouts and take tons of topless photos of myself. So sorry to dissapoint you. I also DIDNT CALL THE SQUATS THE DUMBEST THING YOU CAN DO IN A GYM. With a body that is clearly not towards even the middle of the fitness spectrum. So you can say my opinions invalid without a full compliment of shirtless photos and vid of me squatting if you want to. But thats a cop-out. I’m not a form nazi on youtube that you can call out. Or hating on a guy squatting 500lbs. I’m saying THIS GUY IS UN FIT TO MAKE SUCH A DETERMINATION BASED ON HIS PHYSIQUE. If this article was called SQUATS AND WHY THEY ARE RISKY. I would have never even commented. But thats not what the author said. He giggled and said. Hehe why would you do them. Why would you put a heavy bar on your back hehehe. So you can play adult in the room all you want but you seem just as lost as the author. Legpress your way to glory if you want, But leave guys that want to make real strength gains to judge the risks for themselves.

    • Joe A June 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm #


      I never said opinion are invalid without topless photos or videos of your workout…you say he is unfit to make such a determination based on his physique…if validity of a point is based on appearance, then apply the same logic to yourself. You speak anonymously, so therefore how are we to know that your opinions are valid?

      Then you call me lost and say to leave guys that want to make ‘real strength gains’ to judge risks for them selves…implying that you are one of those ‘guys’…sure you are. Whatever, re-read my post without your biased blinders. I never judged anything for anyone else…

  80. Adam June 3, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    How many people do you know that fall sideways on a squat? If they do, they clearly should not be working out in the first place. I have seen more people fall forward, back, side to side, on a lunge.
    Maybe you can’t squat, because your spineless and afraid to do real work, but the rest of us with balls and will continue to squat over a quater ton of weight and love it.
    How many spinal injuries have you actually observed in the gym from a squat? If you are able to teach a proper squat then there should not be any knee or back pain. i have seen more people get hurt on the deadlift, which is a movememnt we perform everyday.
    You sir are why other countries laugh at us and call us week. People are going to get hurt no matter what exercise they do, people get hurt stepping off a curb, are you going to tell people to not step off curbs anymore. Stop trying to re-invent the the wheel, it is good the way it is.
    I couldn’t even watch the video instead I went and punched myself in the nuts for an hour, it was time better spent.

  81. Bart June 3, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    You seem to like meme pictures, so I’ve got one for you:

  82. Adam June 3, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    O and if you want to see if I am big enough and strong enough My Facebook is Adam MIcheal Signoretta. I compete in Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, and Strongman. Also am a kettlebell instructor RKC 1 and 2 , NASM CPT-PES-CES-FNS. But none of these certs are as important as the thousands of I have worked with over the 10 years.

  83. MikeEnRegalia June 3, 2012 at 11:37 am #

    Hey Anthony,

    Logic 101: Any claim you make you have to provide evidence for in order to defend it. If you make the claim that “god does not exist”, you need to provide evidence. It’s only when you reject a claim because there is no evidence to support it that you don’t have to provide any evidence. The best example is Atheism: It is not the claim that no god(s) exist, but the rejection of the theists’ claim that (their) god exists.

    As far as the actually topic is concerned: You (and apparently Bill DeSimone, too) are essentially calling Mark Rippetoe an idiot. Having read Starting Strength, but not Moment Arm Exercise (not for a lack of trying, but for the fact that Bill can’t get it published properly), I cannot compare the books directly, but Mark does provide plenty of reasoning for why the barbell squat (or more precisely, the low bar position back squat – a distinction that you, Anthony, did not bother to make at all, which further shows that you have no idea what you’re actually talking about here).

    One thing about this goofy point that the spine is a pyramid like structure and therefore it makes no sense to place heavy objects on top of it: The arms/shoulders are attached to the top, and they’re what humans – or apes in general – use to pick up and carry heavy objects. I agree that it’s a pyramid like structure if you look at the bones alone, but once you add in the muscles that support the spine in an exercise like the back squat, you’ll notice that they’re quite capable of (and designed for) handling heavy loads.

    As far as safety and catastrophic accidents are concerned: Have you ever heard of an invention called “power rack”? You know, the kind of thing Drew Baye endorses, whom you are so fond of. You’re attacking a straw man here – barbell squats can be performed in a way that removes those risks you’re talking about.

    My own take on the back squat is this: It is a vital exercise, and everyone should do it, but you don’t have to add as much weight to the bar as possible. For example, if as an untrained individual you start with like 45 pounds (the empty bar) and you can increase the weight over the course of several months so that eventually you can back squat your own lean bodyweight for reps – that’s an excellent achievement, and you will not have ruined your back and at the same time acquired a lot of functional strength. From there you can choose to further ramp up the weight, which will take you down a path leading to powerlifting and possible injury (as Rippetoe admits out front), or you can leave the weight at that level.

    BTW: How has your leg strength increased over the last two years or so? You keep preaching this HIT stuff, but in all your videos you look like a weakling. What are your results?

  84. Sabin June 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    This article is factually incorrect and based solely on your uninformed opinion, unsupported by any actual evidence. You are presenting things you made up as facts. You should probably kill yourself.

  85. Lars June 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    While this makes sense in theory, empirical evidence shows that squats done with good form are safe and have great benifits.

    This strikes me as controversy for the sake of publicity.

  86. john June 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Look if SAFTEY is your number one priority. Then don’t do anything heavy. With more weight comes more risk/ wear and tear. Without question. But if getting STRONGER is your priority. Then you better be doing some form of squat or O’ly lift. Its just that simple. It really is.

    • Joe A June 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm #


      If you remove activities such as hobbies, sports, etc from the equation and ONLY look at exercise (activity intended to improve health and function) then ‘safety’. along with ‘effective’ is paramount. No point subjecting your body to damage (acute or chronic) that is unnecessary, risks that are unnecessary, considering the goal is improvement.

      If the goal is simply getting ‘stronger’ at all costs, then that is a different context altogether. I have no interest in such things.

  87. Frances June 3, 2012 at 1:23 pm #


    • Adam June 3, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

      Awesome, 2nd that

  88. Ryan C June 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    My first problem with you: If you want to be taken as a valid authority on fitness, you actually should back up your claims with solid evidence. To simply say you do not have to creates a stigma with people who squat. I’ve read through your comments, and nowhere have I seen any scientifically proven, hard evidence that shows squats are unsafe.

    My second problem with you: Your video. I never thought someone could repeat themselves in as many ways as you did in your video. Four minutes in, and you finally got to your good-intentioned, but inaccurate point. I watched ten minutes of it, then turned it off. Look at an Oly. Bar, and then please correct your statement about the diameter of a pen being slightly smaller than the diameter of a bar. Also, in your video, you tried to make the assertion that someone would undoubtedly get hurt if you would take someone who had no knowledge of fitness, and put them under a massive load. Of course they’d get hurt!! With anyone who is being properly trained on squats, or any movement, you do not risk injury to them by giving them a load they cannot handle, and a lift they may not or cannot, perform. I’ve put people on air-squats to fix mechanical errors before they get under any type of weight. Then I move them to PVC pipe, then barbell, then weight. Your example is nonsense for that reason.

    I’m not even going to address what everyone else already has about muscle groups that support the weight, but I will say one thing:
    The top of your spine is not at shoulder height, like you say it is. The cervical portion of the spine goes higher than that.
    And you are not resting the weight on your spine, there are muscles back there that you rest the weight on.

    Stop spreading this filth without backing it up with claims. You are not an authority, and I hope the only reason you’re doing this is to try and make money through traffic to your irrehensible and website.

  89. Robert June 3, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Fellow squatters, I believe our work here is done. We have given enough counter arguments for anyone who is unfortunate enough to come here for exercise advice. We’ve given this jackass more than enough attention and hits on his site. In light of the fact that Dream is not willing or capable of supporting his wild and ignorant claims, we are just talking to ourselves at this point. It’s been fun, gentlemen.

    • Julian June 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

      You’re absolutely right. I now canceled my subscription and won’t bother anymore. You can’t debate with people that value their own opinion and anecdotal evidence over hard facts. Their opinion – contrary to what I first believed – is apparently not open for debate.

  90. matt June 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    anything over a long enough span has 100% chance of injury, you cross the street enough times you’ll be hit by a car….even the safe exercises you say exist will approach 100% injury over a long enough time span, eventually you do enough hamstring curls you eventually will tear your hamstring. Even if the chance is 0.01% enough trials will always result in an injury. So by saying that over a long enough time span squatting will result in injury is not a very powerful statement. You should be arguing its risk/reward trade off isn’t worthwhile, which I don’t think you have done.

  91. MikeEnRegalia June 3, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    More food for thought: Take a look at Drew Baye’s book covers. Elements of Form shows a man with a barbell in the starting position of the press, High Intensity Workouts shows a man in the bottom position of the barbell back squat. That’s two of the five essential exercises Mark Rippetoe advocates in Starting Strength.

    Just saying.

    Anthony, you are a pumper. What do I mean by that? Check out this page:

    In the article James Krieger essentially describes how people can get carried away by crazy ideas and end up defending beyond all evidence to the contrary. Doesn’t matter whether you’re following a stock guru, a diet guru (like Gary Taubes) or an exercise guru like Bill DeSimone. You need to do a reality check – take a step back and evaluate your position critically. I was truly appalled when I saw that you had deactivated ratings and comments for that video on youtube – a clear sign of a dogmatic “head in the sand” “fingers in my ears – lalala I can’t hear your criticism” stance. Wake up, dude.

    • MC June 3, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      I’m actually getting annoyed at how everyone that offers any information on any topic nowadays is labelled “a guru.”

      Gary Taubes has said to go low carb, until you lose the weight you want to lose, then increase carb intake based on how much your body can tolerate without gaining weight again.

      Bill DeSimone simply discusses biomechanics for the purpose of preserving the integrity of your joints and safety in using exercise equipment.

      Wow, how “guru” of them.

      • MikeEnRegalia June 4, 2012 at 3:19 am #

        I’m sure that neither of those people would refer to themselves as a “guru” – it’s their followers who elevate them to that position. They can then either take steps to counteract that, or accept it. In Bill DeSimone’s case it seems to me that he welcomes this development. It creates buzz which will surely boost his book sales, and he’ll be known as “the anti-squat guy who thinks that Rippetoe is an idiot”, and apparently he’s fine with that.

        Taubes has not only said “go low carb”, but he has also provided countless “sciency” arguments to back up his theory of “carb drives insulin drives fat”, most of which have been shot down by actual scientists.

        Both have in common that their followers are fascinated by this “we’re going against conventional wisdom” attitude, and that they’re offering an easy alternative:

        Taubes: If you want to lose weight you don’t need to eat less and move more – you simply need to go low-carb.
        DeSimone: There’s no need for you to do squats or deadlifts, or even bench presses – just use machines, and even then use a limited range of motion, it’s just as effective.

        As far as the latter is concerned, I’d like to add that I’m aware that strength training done with machines can be brutally hard, too – by no means do I want to say that machine training is for pussies.

      • Joe N June 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

        Kelly Starrett- Doctor of Physical Therapy- is big into joint safety too, AND his has the knowledge of biomechanics to back up whatever he says.

        I wonder what his thoughts on squats are?

        I’ll take his advice over Bill DeSimone any day.

    • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      Mike… if the NFL trainers/doctors recommend to avoid the bar bell suat I would say it is good avise for us regular folk unless you are a competitive power lifter?

      Anthony could have been more diplomatic but in the end his concerns and suggestions to avoid the barbell squat were spot on.

      Most of our athletes have performed the squat at one time or another. Some have been hurt and some say they refused squatting, even though it was part of the program. We know that specific adaptations have supposedly enhanced the barbell squat, but we do not believe that the adaptations are significant enough to warrant exposing our athletes to the short and long term hazards of the squat.

      If you feel strongly about including squats in your program – or have athletes that prefer squatting – make sure you teach sound lifting and spotting techniques. Injuries in the weight room cannot be tolerated.

      We would also suggest that you do your athletes a favor (UNLESS THEY ARE COMPETITIVE POWER LIFTERES) by giving them an alternative for the barbell squat. You will not be blocking their physical development nor diminishing the potential success of their team.

      Most important, when they become middle-aged adults, their spine, low back, and knees, will probably feel a heck of a lot better.

    • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 8:01 am #

      Mike… it seems you may be guilty of trying to defend your sacred cow “the barbell squat”. I think you need to keep an open mind.

      Anthony could have been more diplomatic but in the end his concerns and suggestions to avoid the barbell squat were spot on.

      Most of our athletes have performed the squat at one time or another. Some have been hurt and some say they refused squatting, even though it was part of the program. We know that specific adaptations have supposedly enhanced the barbell squat, but we do not believe that the adaptations are significant enough to warrant exposing our athletes to the short and long term hazards of the squat.

      If you feel strongly about including squats in your program – or have athletes that prefer squatting – make sure you teach sound lifting and spotting techniques. Injuries in the weight room cannot be tolerated.

      We would also suggest that you do your athletes a favor (UNLESS THEY ARE COMPETITIVE POWER LIFTERES) by giving them an alternative for the barbell squat. You will not be blocking their physical development nor diminishing the potential success of their team.

      Most important, when they become middle-aged adults, their spine, low back, and knees, will probably feel a heck of a lot better.

  92. MikeEnRegalia June 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Another nice point taken right from your post:

    In a long enough time span, I would bet the risk of death is 100%.

  93. stu June 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    You are a fuck-tard.

  94. MikeEnRegalia June 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    “About 3 weeks ago in Fort Myers Florida a friend of one of my best friends blew both his knees out squatting in a rack.

    I asked my friend what he meant when he said the guy “blew his knees out”.

    His response was “the bones were about to stick out of the skin“.”

    Ridiculous. Both knees “blown out”? Sounds to me like a freak accident in the sense that the guy did more than one thing wrong. You’re using this as an argument against Rippetoe (essentially), so did you make sure that the guy did the squats correctly? Did you even spend one thought on that? I’m pretty sure that one could castrate himself doing the hip belt squats which you are such a fan of – given enough time (which, again, is one of your silly points – given enough time almost any improbable thing can happen).

  95. Lincoln Brigham June 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    This blog post proves that Johnson could not find the top of the spine if you gave him a map, quite literally. He even provided the map himself and still missed it by more than a half-dozen vertebrae.

    Hey, calling people stupid is more important than accuracy right?

    BTW it’s possible to ‘prove’ that ANY exercise is dangerous by claiming it will eventually cause an injury if done for long enough of a period. Why? Because most people eventually sustain an injury – especially spinal injuries – even if they never exercise at all!

  96. patrick June 3, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    its crazy this ignorant guy is presenting himself as an educated individual. the benefits of squatting heavy are proven over and over and over. id like to here from someone who has been injured from squatting,…. that was not from overloading and prematurely or bad coaches. And the fact that you view crossfit as a negative thing just reinforces your ignorance. iv watched it take take 50 plus pounds off people integrate them into a supportive community and then also turn out some of the fittest people in the world.

    ps.. we used to think the world was flat.. and as a population we acknowledged that it wasnt because as our science developed we knew better. and the same think has happened with religion except alot of us havent quite

    • Shickalee June 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      Anthony, I think your tone has brought on most of the negative comments or at least the attacks. That said, I agree that the barbell squat is not worth the risk as part of a well thought out long term exercise program. In fact, Jason Arapoff Director of Strength training the past 11 years for the Detroit Lions and 11 years with the Washington Redskins concurs.


      Before the early 1970′s, most coaches discouraged any lifting. Once they learned how valuable a strength program could be, they scrambled to find information. Few sources were available.

      The primary source of information became the people who were most heavily involved with “weight-lifting” – the muscle magazines and the competitive power lifters, Olympic lifters, and bodybuilders.

      The coaches had to turn to them for exercises and routines. And guess what happened? Their athletes grew stronger and the coaches became better informed! Coaches soon learned it wasn’t all that difficult to figure out. You can increase strength by using more weight and/or doing more reps.

      Since the three exercises being performed in competitive power lifting were the squat, deadlift, and bench press, these became the foundation of most strength programs.
      The barbell squat, a multi-joint exercise, is a great movement that involves all of the major muscles that cross the hip, knee, and ankle joints. It actually was the only functional multi-joint exercise available in the ’60s and early ’70s, and it became the core lower-body exercise in all strength-training programs.

      What we know now that we didn’t know then is that the strength-training needs of our athletes are different from the needs of the power lifters, Olympic lifters, and bodybuilders. There are similarities, but also differences. For example, most weightlifters and bodybuilders ignore the muscles of the neck – which must be the No. 1 priority of most athletes.

      With the invention of the barbell in the early 1900′s, the squat became a staple of the “weight-lifting” routine. There were no alternatives. In fact, it wasn’t until the early 1970′s that any significant improvements were made in equipment design.
      Today, the equipment manufacturers are designing specific equipment that address the anatomical needs of a muscle or group of muscles. The safer and more productive equipment enables the athletes to perform the squatting action without having to place a barbell upon their shoulders.

      Next time you see anyone perform a barbell squat, observe him from the hips down and then from the hips up. The flexion and extension of the hip joint, called the squatting motion, is a very productive part of the squat.
      The activity from the hips up is not considered part of the squatting motion. (There are safer and better ways of exercising the muscles of the lower back and upper body.)

      Since the hips and legs possess the biggest muscles of the body, a significant amount of weight is needed to adequately stress them. The barbell squatter must lift with the bar resting on his shoulders.
      Result? He vertically loads the spine and compresses it with a heavy weight, which produces a risk. Our medical staff believes that this kind of loading should be avoided whenever possible.

      You have to understand that the lower back muscles are the weak link in the barbell squat, limiting the potential strength development of the hips and legs. The squatter also has to move his knees ahead of his ankles, and the farther forward they move, the greater the stretch of the joint and the greater the shearing action.

      Obviously, the taller the athlete, the greater the strain on the lower back and knees – and who knows how much structural damage can be caused by squatting over the years. It is not just by chance that most successful lifters are short.

      Equipment manufacturers have designed a multitude of exercises to substitute for the squatting motion. We offer our players six different exercises to choose from.
      Photos 3 and 4 depict the starting and extended positions of one of our exercises.
      Our athletes derive all of the benefits of the squatting motion without the limitations of the barbell squat.

      As you can see, we have eliminated the vertical compression of the spine, thus enabling us to train the hips and legs intensely without risk of injury to the lower back or having the weaker lower back restrict the training of the hips and legs.
      By stabilizing the athlete’s feet, we can prevent the knees from moving ahead of the ankles in the squatting position.

      Recap: For many years, the barbell squat was the only multi-joint lower-body exercise we used. We extolled its virtues and never thought of dropping it from our program.
      When we finally did so, it didn’t take long for our athletes to appreciate the benefits of the alternative exercise. We could now push our players harder without the risk of hurting the lower back or aggravating the knees.

      Most of our athletes have performed the squat at one time or another. Some have been hurt and some say they refused squatting, even though it was part of the program. We know that specific adaptations have supposedly enhanced the barbell squat, but we do not believe that the adaptations are significant enough to warrant exposing our athletes to the short and long term hazards of the squat.

      If you feel strongly about including squats in your program – or have athletes that prefer squatting – make sure you teach sound lifting and spotting techniques. Injuries in the weight room cannot be tolerated.

      We would also suggest that you do your athletes a favor (unless they are competitive power lifters) by giving them an alternative for the barbell squat. You will not be blocking their physical development nor diminishing the potential success of their team.
      Most important, when they become middle-aged adults, their spine, low back, and knees, will probably feel a heck of a lot better.

      • David June 15, 2012 at 1:30 am #

        Because you found the article with Jason Arapoff’s name on it, you have made the logical leap that the Lions don’t do back squatting and reject back squatting.

        The question is: how do you know this is true? You don’t.

        Unless you have physically been in the Detroit Lions training room watching them train yourself, you do not know how they train or don’t train. Have you ever attended a Lions training session? If not, then you’re just typing shit on the internet.


        a. You do not know what you’re talking about
        b. You have no direct experience of the Lions training program do you?
        c. You make unwarranted logical leaps
        d. You fail to do even the most basic research about what the Lions are doing

        The article you linked to, entitled “What’s wrong with the barbell squat?” is copyrighted 1999 and has two authors listed, Dan Riley and Jason Arapoff. At this time both were coaching with the Washington Redskins (not the Detroit Lions), Dan Riley as Head Strength and Conditioning Coach and Jason Arapoff as Conditioning Director. I’m going to take a guess here and say that Riley was probably a senior ranking coach to Arapoff.

        There is no way to know for sure which of these two coaches sat down and wrote the linked article or it reflects one or both of the author’s beliefs. However, Malcolm Blacken was the S&C coach of the Lions from 2001-2009 (since went to Colorado) and this article says: “Blacken does not ignore old-school squats, jerks and bench presses.” This makes me wonder how “against” the squat the Lions have been with Blacken in charge for nine years.

        Now take a look at YouTube. Here is have a video titled “Detroit Lions: Warm-Up and Platform Work” which shows at 1:36 an athlete doing the dreaded back squat (with chains!)
        In the YouTube notes, the poster thanks none other than Jason Arapoff.

        Is this proof that the Lions squat? However, they sell a DVD of this workout on their website:

        So the Detroit Lions must hate squatting if they are advertising a training DVD on the official Detroit Lions website called, “DVD of 2nd Annual Detroit Lions Strength and Conditioning Clinic with Lions’ coaches.”

        In June, 2011, Ted Rath, Strength and Conditioning Assistant for the Detroit Lions wrote this article: The article says right at the beginning:

        “1. Strength. HOW MUCH you can lift: Sometimes referred to as absolute strength, this is a simple measure of the amount of weight you can push on a single lift. Going for a maximum on the Bench and Squat is an indicator of strength levels.”

        Here is the workout Ted Rath, Strength and Conditioning Assistant for the Detroit Lions wrote for football players to use in the off-season:

        On Day 1 and Day 3, Rath recommends Back Squats supersetted with Box Jumps. So squatting twice a week.

        On September 20, 2011, Ted Rath, Strength and Conditioning Assistant for the Detroit Lions wrote the article “Dominate the Line of Scrimmage: Part 1, Building Strength and Power” to teach football lineman how to have the power to dominate. The article says:

        “Below is a list of compound exercises that linemen should perform toward the beginning of a workout:
        Lower Body
        - Deadlift
        - Back Squat
        - Front Squat
        - RDL

        Olympic Lifts
        - Push Press
        - High Pull
        - Hang Clean
        - Power Clean…”

        Clearly Ted Rath, the Strength and Conditioning Assistant for the Detroit Lions, who I would think probably does more of the actual weight training with Lions players than does Jason Arapoff and is featured in the Lions Conditioning Clinic training DVD featuring squatting, seems completely on board with back squatting.

        Ted Rath participates in training videos featuring squatting, conducts clinics featuring squatting, writes articles for football players recommending squatting and designs workouts for footballs players recommending back squatting multiple times per week.

        Now, let’s go back to your assertions about Arapoff and the Lions. How do you know what Jason Arapoff thinks now, today in 2102, about squatting? I’m not about what he co-wrote in an article in 1999 (see below), but what Jason Arapoff’s attitudes today? Do you know? Unless you’ve talked to him, you don’t what he thinks or believes. What we do know is that his colleague Ted Rath is very much into squatting, so I for one would guess that the Lions do barbell back squats.

        In fact, the first listed author of this article that you linked to several times, is Dan Riley, who has since moved on from the Redskins and is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach with the Houston Texans. Looking at this article co-written by Dan Riley, which is posted on the Houston Texans’ official website:, we can see that coach Dan Riley is probably the original source of the anti-back squatting material in the 1999 article you seem fond of.

        In the Texans’ article, Dan Riley explains the evolution of his ideas about squatting over three decades of coaching. He originally used barbell back squatting at West Point, but grew to believe that that other exercises had advantages over the barbell squat, mainly related to safety. These include the leg press and also includes squatting using three different squat machines, all of which require you to push weight with your traps/upper back, but don’t require you to stand free on the floor with a barbell on your back.

        Riley seems afraid of injuries to the lower back from barbell squatting, especially for taller players, but he is a believer in the squatting motion and utilizes machines for squatting exercises. He is also concerned about the knee when barbell back squatting. (Numerous scientific studies point in another direction and indicate that barbell back squatting actually strengthens the back, strengthens the knees and surrounding muscles, decreases likelihood of injuries, etc. but Coach Riley is of obviously entitled to his own views).

        However, Texans Coach Riley is clear in the article that using machines for squatting instead of barbells is what he does for the Houston Texans and further says: “My advice to coaches, personal trainers, parents, or anyone responsible for organizing strength programs, is to offer the option of performing the barbell squat or a leg press. Some athletes are not very well suited to performing the barbell squat. If you like to squat, go ahead and squat. If for any reason you do not like the barbell squat, simply substitute a leg press. Both are very productive exercises.”

        Again, Dan Riley says that he doesn’t do barbell squatting with his pro athletes but he does recommend that other coaches keep back squatting available an option for their athletes. He is not dogmatic about his views, in fact, he says, “if you like to squat, go ahead and squat, if you don’t use the leg press.”

        The picture is a lot more nuanced than you think and if you did some basic research on the topic you could learn a lot.


        1. The evidence points to the likelihood that the Lions do actually squat, as I believe the great majority of NFL teams do.

        2. Dan Riley of the Houston Texans doesn’t have his players barbell squat, but he doesn’t rule it out in the recommendations he makes to other coaches and athletes. (I believe that Coach Riley is in the minority in the NFL and that the majority of NFL players squat like crazy because it makes them bigger, stronger and more powerful (and I believe, safer.)

        3. Jumping to conclusions from partial evidence is a hallmark of Internet posting and only serves to create confusion.

        I have not dealt in this post with the other article you link to below because of time concerns and the fact that it is also co-written by Dan Riley and Jason Arapoff.

  97. James June 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Every one of your shitty replies has come down to what if he falls over and will be eating through a straw for the rest of his life. Then do you also hate the bench press just in case you drop it on your head? What about the same for the overhead press?

    Do you hate carrying your 2.5kg plates to do your curls just in case you drop them on your toe? Oh wait.. you probably wouldn’t bicep curl because if you had a deep muscle spasm you wouldn’t be able to jack off all your male followers

  98. Brad June 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    Personally had patellar tendonitis and knee pain all throughout highschool. Had 2 knee surgeries as well during that period. Started squating in college and my knees have never felt better. So im gonna keep squating :)

  99. Shickalee June 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Fellas it’s just his opinion… relax. There is some adherent risk in doing barbell squats but also great benefits. Sure it’s a roll of the dice. I guy like Anthony has his opinion he see’s the risk that’s “his” view and he would advise others not to do the excersice…his right. If you beleive in squats just state that you do and why. Let the viewers make up there own mind.

  100. MC June 3, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    @Ian Sturrock

    “A squat rack will prevent the barbell from falling on him or crushing him. If you’d lifted, you’d know that.”

    No, it won’t. In an accident, where he no longer has control of the bar, the machine will not magically come to his rescue.

    “So — do you even lift? If you think back squats are too scary — how much do you deadlift?”

    I currently do the body weight exercises outlined in the book, “Convict Conditioning.” I couldn’t tell you how much that would translate to in weights. Though I don’t know why this is turning into a weight lifting competition.

    • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 7:45 am #

      MC Educate yourself…

      Anthony could have been more diplomatic but in the end his concerns and suggestions to avoid the barbell squat were spot on.

      Most of our athletes have performed the squat at one time or another. Some have been hurt and some say they refused squatting, even though it was part of the program. We know that specific adaptations have supposedly enhanced the barbell squat, but we do not believe that the adaptations are significant enough to warrant exposing our athletes to the short and long term hazards of the squat.

      If you feel strongly about including squats in your program – or have athletes that prefer squatting – make sure you teach sound lifting and spotting techniques. Injuries in the weight room cannot be tolerated.

      We would also suggest that you do your athletes a favor (UNLESS THEY ARE COMPETITIVE POWER LIFTERES) by giving them an alternative for the barbell squat. You will not be blocking their physical development nor diminishing the potential success of their team.

      Most important, when they become middle-aged adults, their spine, low back, and knees, will probably feel a heck of a lot better.

      • Lars June 4, 2012 at 8:40 am #

        If you do squats properly, you’ll be fine. For most people however that takes a lot of work. If you’re not prepared to do that, don’t start squatting. Injuries happen because people pile on the weight before mastering good form.

        • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 10:10 am #

          The article from Jason Araphoff is clear. There are inherent risks in doing the barbell squat that even with perfect form there are better and safer options that should be utilized. I personally, would never advise someone to do barbell squats and just use good form. Fine for yourself but advising others is gross negligence at worst and ill advised at best.

          • Lars June 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

            That’s just the subjective opinion of one man, the article has zero references and is purely speculative. It has zero argumentative value. Studies cited in this comments section showing the benefits of squatting however, do.

          • Lars June 4, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

            Also I might add that squats aren’t REQUIRED. If you lack flexibilty, you’re afraid of being injured or you simply don’t have the patience to learn good form then by all means do something else, you can get great results with other lifts. But the squat is awesome. Once you learn good form, you can pile on the weight really fast, which means you progress faster then another lift (like a bulgarian split-squat) where progress takes significantly longer.

    • Ian Sturrock June 4, 2012 at 8:03 am #

      Yes, it will, really. :)

      You lose control of the bar on a heavy squat, and one of three things happen, in approximate order from best case to worst case scenario. Bear in mind that this bar is not tilting sideways at any point; the weight of it & the distribution of weight don’t allow that. It’s heading quite directly for the floor.

      1) You get out from under it, moving forward, and it drops more or less straight down once it’s off your back. You keep walking forward. If you were in a squat rack, you walk out of the rack, and the rack catches the bar. It’s all very loud. If you’re in a commercial gym, the staff possibly tell you off. No squat rack? Hopefully you’re quite fast at getting away from the bar. It possibly cracks concrete and/or breaks the weight plates open when it lands.

      2) You unbalance, backwards. The bar heads to the floor, possibly being caught by the rack. You land on top of it, or regain your balance partway down so things are more like (1). You probably have cuts and bruises, maybe a pulled muscle or something. The kind of thing that could happen if you ever engage in any physical activity in your life. This is not horrendously dangerous, rack or no rack.

      3) You unbalance, forwards. Your face is heading straight for the ground, and there’s a heavy bar on your upper back propelling you there. You probably don’t regain control of the bar. If you’re in a squat rack, you keep falling but the bar doesn’t. You might well still faceplant. It’ll be unpleasant — bloody nose, maybe? Again, quite possibly cuts and bruises and maybe a pulled muscle. Your knees don’t pop out of your body, though, nor does your, uh, “spinal pyramid” suddenly collapse. If you have no squat rack, though, that’s when things get dangerous. That’s why no-one advocates squatting without a rack. You really don’t want to be face-planting with the bar on your back, possibly rolling forward and crushing your neck, too. Yes — very dangerous, possibly deadly. Which is why you use a rack, and take away those risks.

      It’s not a weightlifting competition. It was a question to see if you did any weightlifting. Because if you don’t, you’re just speculating, right? You don’t even know what equipment is used, let alone how safe or unsafe anything is. Enjoy that surfboard — makes a nice wall ornament.

      • MC June 4, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

        @Ian Sturrock

        Thanks for just speculating as to what would happen during a squatting accident, then accusing me of “just” speculating.

        Your spider-man reflexes aside, I don’t see the benefits out-weighing the risks, especially when there are plenty of alternatives for working out the attended muscle groups.

        And I don’t own a surfboard or a barbell squat rack, so you’re analogy is stupid.

        • Ian Sturrock June 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

          No speculation. I’ve been squatting for years, in and out of squat racks (you can use a pair of sawhorses if you don’t have a squat rack, but it’s not quite as safe…). I’ve had failed lifts. I know the mechanics of the squat.

          You don’t. You know how to do… bodyweight exercises. Which are great. But not really relevant. You’re speculating about whether purple is prettier than lilac, but you’re colour-blind.

          • MC June 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

            I’ve done the squat before, I know how it works, you just make assumption after assumption about what my credentials are. And you always have a stupid analogy to end your posts.

            An accident while doing a free weight barbell squat is significantly more of a problem then an accident involving other alternative exercises. No matter how much you try and say otherwise, I don’t see that changing. It also causes unnecessary stress on your spine and back, I don’t see that as a good thing. Yes, your back will get stronger, but there are other ways to make your back stronger.

            I personally don’t think I’d take up doing it again, after looking into it, but that’s just me.

            You’re trying to taste cheddar cheese, and blue cheese, and figure out which one tastes better. Unfortunately, you ain’t got no taste buds :D lol

            • Ian Sturrock June 5, 2012 at 5:28 am #

              So how much did you squat, when you did the squat before?

              I don’t agree that the alternative exercises are safer. Nothing strengthens the little supporting muscles around the knee like the squat does. In the long term, nothing builds strong muscle and bone, throughout the body, like squats, deadlifts, and presses do, and that’s a massive insurance against age-related problems with the joints, the bones, etc. Squatting is way, way safer than not squatting.

              Then you have the benefits to the core from all squats, and the heart and lungs from doing widowmaker sets, and really, the only sensible conclusion one can make is that if you want a long, healthy, happy life, squatting should be part of it.

              You are very welcome not to do it. You’ll get old though. That really sucks! The guys I know in their 60s or 70s who can still throw a guy 40 years younger on the judo mat, or still pick up their Harley if they have a crash, all still lift, and lift heavy, and have done for decades. This is only anecdote obviously. You may have an alternative anecdote of a friend of a friend of a friend whose knees LITERALLY EXPLODED and whose SPINAL PYRAMID burst open under the strain of evil back squats. So you should totally listen to them. I heard that you can cut glass underwater, you know. With scissors.

              You’re trying to argue, but neither your experience nor your logic nor your rhetoric are sufficient. :D

              • MC June 5, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

                The exercises I’m doing are preserving my joints while making me stronger. You can still lift heavy with leg presses and belt squats.

                What I’m currently doing as an alternative to back squats, are one-leg squats and stand-to-stand bridges, using body weight. They aren’t exactly easy.

  101. John June 3, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    No other skeletal structure between the spine and your legs. How about your pelvic girdle moron. Rib cage. Lets not mention the fact that we shed all other musculature when squatting, you know like, lats, rhomboids, abs, etc. We just leave the spine all out there by its lonesome to get the job done. The other musculature and bones just point and look at the spine laughing like he’s the guy who got suckered into working on Saturday while everybody else enjoys their 3 day weekend.

    Most bars are around 28mm thick or thicker which is about 3-4 times as thick as that pen you were using in your demo. Just trying to help you out with facts. Not just slightly thicker as you mention.

    And yeah if somebody who has never squatted before tries to load up 300lbs on a bar and squat it with no previous knowledge on how to squat hurts themselves, I’m all for it. Natural selection. Just because I see Travis Pastrana go out and do double backflips on a motorcycle doesn’t mean I am buying a Yamaha 500 and finding the nearest ramp. Life’s tough. It’s tougher when your stupid.

    Your feet are about as far away from your legs as your shoulders, so why are you advocating leg press. I’ve had more athletes screw up their back on leg press from trying to go heavy than squats. Before you ask how many catastrophic back I’ve had coaching squats, the answer is zero. You study biomechanics much. By your assertion the bar (or whatever form of resistance you advocate) should lie directly on the legs (or whatever your intended body part might be that day) to get the most beneficial workout.

    You drive a car long enough you are likely to be involved in an accident. Do a videoblog about all these stupid motorist getting in their car and trying to make themselves better by going to school, work, dates, etc. Those poor lost souls. Let’s make sure that everyone is covered in bubble wrap and spends less than 30 min outdoors each day. We wouldn’t want to be exposed to too much sunlight or have to actually live.

    • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 7:52 am #

      John Educate yourself…

      Anthony could have been more diplomatic but in the end his concerns and suggestions to avoid the barbell squat were spot on.

      Most of our athletes have performed the squat at one time or another. Some have been hurt and some say they refused squatting, even though it was part of the program. We know that specific adaptations have supposedly enhanced the barbell squat, but we do not believe that the adaptations are significant enough to warrant exposing our athletes to the short and long term hazards of the squat.

      If you feel strongly about including squats in your program – or have athletes that prefer squatting – make sure you teach sound lifting and spotting techniques. Injuries in the weight room cannot be tolerated.

      We would also suggest that you do your athletes a favor (UNLESS THEY ARE COMPETITIVE POWER LIFTERES) by giving them an alternative for the barbell squat. You will not be blocking their physical development nor diminishing the potential success of their team.

      Most important, when they become middle-aged adults, their spine, low back, and knees, will probably feel a heck of a lot better.

      • RG June 4, 2012 at 10:30 am #

        1) The Article reaches the same conclusion as Dr Dream. It uses completely different reasoning. So, it has nothing to do with Dr Dream being diplomatic.

        Dr Dream states that the only thing in-between the bar and pelvis and legs is the delicate spine. That is a factually an incorrect statement.

        2) How many scientific studies has the person linked to ? Zero

        3) Why can’t he link to scientific studies? Well….he talks about the strain “on the lower back and knees”

        Anyone that has researched the most recent articles on squatting will realise that in fact, squatting below parallel is thought to strengthen your knee joint and your ligaments.

        In fact, it is used part of knee rehabilitation programmes.

        Here are articles with scientific links as evidence to back up what they say.

        • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 10:42 am #

          The point is that the spine is the most vulnerable point in the bar squat. I think it is undeniable that the bar squat can be ver effective in strengthening the knee joints and ligaments. There is now thankfully equipment and excerices that are just as effective as bar squats without the safety/injury risks invloved with practicing the bar squat.

          • RG June 4, 2012 at 11:47 am #

            Again. Evidence is required to make your statement.

            Where is the scientific evidence that the spine is most vulnerable point in the bar squat?

            This is something that can be easily found if it was the case because numerous studies have been done on squats and the biomechanics of it.

            There is no piece of equipment that can do legs, core muscles and etc as effectively as squats at the same time unless you plan to load something across your shoulders.

            There is a reason why your hero Dr Dream refuses to provide any scientific evidence.

  102. Jeff June 4, 2012 at 1:49 am #

    Two major issues with your assertion. 1 is that there is a wealth of information on the back squat. Major universities such as the University of Wisconsin Madison to list one at random have medical professionals closely examining their athletes regularly. I’m talking about MDs that actually practice, many of whom are honorary professors. The data is scientific, and it certainly isn’t refutable by a single person’s thoughts.

    Second, the idea you’re using to support your hypothesis without any data (firstly in statistics, you accept that you are wrong and then prove that you are right) because it’s as you call it a “negative” is actually incorrectly applied. A more accurate example than if god exists, would be someone claiming that breathing air causes cancer. There is an overabundance of back squatters who have gone their entire lives without any issues. When your claim is by far in the minority, the only way to support your hypothesis would be to study it.

    You see how opinions without any study or statistical justification are pretty much worthless, because it’s just (your or my) opinion? The human body is remarkably complex and the weaker joints have been shown to have greater longevity when supportered with muscle. No matter what you or I say, it wont change the overabundance of people who have no issues and do back squats.

    I would further argue that the glutes are much more central to the squat than the quads, and at higher weights it becomes much more important that you have a strong core.

  103. Myron_Gains June 4, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    OP is a phaggot, that is all.

  104. Steve Pulcinella June 4, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    Wow! Really, if you squat heavy it could be dangerous? You really went out on a limb and broke new ground with that one there dreamy. No shit, anything worth doing right is dangerous, but some of us don’t live in a world of ‘safety’, we live in a world of risk and reward! What’s your next blog going to be about, how NASCAR drivers should slow it down to 35mph to save fuel and be safer?

  105. Marius June 4, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    You obviously have no idea how to load your traps. That “loading the spine” claim is absolute garbage.

  106. Jeff June 4, 2012 at 10:33 am #


    One and Two
    “Try to think: does this structure look especially suited for loading the strongest and largest muscles in my body with a shit ton of weight?”
    You can find arguments that the arch (as seen in the natural curvature of the spine) is an exceptionally strong and supportive structure. The shape is used prominently in architecture. (Coincidence that the word “arch” appears in “architecture”? I don’t know.) So perhaps, yes, the structure would appear especially suited for loading.

    You seem to imply that loading the spine is an unnatural thing to do. However, how does one carry an object, a very natural movement, without loading the spine in any way? When you want to move things, do you suspend them from your squat belt first, or do you get on your back and to kick/push/leg press them? Those solutions seem impractical for most cases.

    Can you concede that one of the spine’s natural functions is to accept *some* amount of loading?

    “The vertebral column is responsible not only for the protection of the spinal cord, but for providing structure and support to the trunk of the body.” (That’s from your own citation in the comments above.)

    If so, then moving on…

    Is it okay to load with a “shit ton”?

    That’s subjective, of course. 150 pounds may be a shit ton to you, but it isn’t for everyone. Excuse me if I’m putting words into your mouth, but it sounds like you’re saying that it’s impossible to develop progressive strength adaptations to the point where 150 pounds is no longer a shit ton. I disagree there.

    If not, then where do you draw the line for what is an acceptable amount of weight?


    A vital point you’re missing in your article is that part of the idea of training the squat *is* precisely to load the spine for the purpose of increasing midline stability. Squats are not merely for intended for strengthening the legs.

    Most of the time you’re going to be using your legs in conjunction with other parts of your body. In those cases, you will have to stabilize your torso, and you’re going to need a correspondingly strong trunk.


    Pretty much all the arguments you make regarding the barbell squat in Three, can be applied to belt squats and leg presses as well.

    Same as for the guy who blew his knees out. That example doesn’t do much to support your argument that squats are bad for your spine because his back wasn’t injured. Belt squats and leg presses both could have caused knee injury as well.

  107. Lincoln Brigham June 4, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Shickalee, taking training safety advice from a football coach is like taking auto safety advice from an alcoholic NASCAR driver. Unless you’re a football player look elsewhere for training tips.

    • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 10:57 am #

      Football coach? Do your homework please. He is a the Director of Physcial Training for the Detroit Lions working with professional “athletes” not olympic powerlifters. If a professional athletic strength trainer that has the best equipment, asst trainers, research and doctors available recommends not doing a bar squat specifically due to the risk of injury and long term damage it would benefit the gym rats to heed his advise. Go ahead and do bar squats yourself but recommending to others without noting the short term and long term risks is careless and irresponsible.

  108. Lincoln Brigham June 4, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Well it is true that the Detroit Lions are not much of a football team.

    Please note Riley’s comment that injuries in the weightroom are ‘not acceptable.’ Studies have shown that injuries to football players in the weightroom are miniscule compared to injuries on the field. Think long and hard about why injuries on the field are acceptable to the coaching staff but injuries in the weightroom are not. Think about the irony. Think about the children! The Children!

    Also note that there is no such thing as an “Olympic powerlifter.”

    • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 11:14 am #

      Great point. If performing the bar squat even for well conditioned athletes with the best equipment and training is not worth the risks then it would especially prudent for the general lifting population to avoid as well.

    • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      Ok, competitive powerlifter. BTW, the Lions were 10-6 last year not too bad and he also spent 11 years with the Redskins. But you know more than him, his staff, and the team doctors regarding safe training. I think not.Dude, keep up on doing barbell squats …free country.

  109. Lincoln Brigham June 4, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Football players are athletes who have very high injury rates and very little aversion to injury. I’m not going to follow their lead and I advise that no one other than football players should either.

    Don’t forget that football is primarily a pediatric sport. Most participants are under the age of 20 — there are no 50-year old football players. These coaches okay with bashing the heads of children from August to December. They’re not a great example to follow for safety advice.

    Olympic-style weightlifting however is a very safe sport statistically. The injury rate is around 50 times less than football. That’s ~5,000% if you’re math-challenged. Fully one-quarter of all participants in the U.S. are over the age of 35. That wouldn’t be possible if the sport was a dangerous spor like footballt. Keep in mind that Olympic-style weightlifters do a LOT of back squatting.

    And the Detroit Lions have had one winning season in the last 12. Check their injury stats while you’re at it. That’s not my idea of a stellar performance model to emulate.

    • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 11:37 am #

      You are obviously missing the point. All sports carry a higher risk of injury than excercise and some much higher. The point is that bar squats should only be done as a competitive sport such as competitive powerlifting not as an excercise to promote short term and long term health and fitness BTW, crossfit is a sport not an excercise that is IMO cool, motivating and a fun sport albeit with a higher risk of injury than functional excercise.

      • Lincoln Brigham June 4, 2012 at 11:57 am #

        The point is that both you and the OP don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re taking your advice from a sport with a truly horrible track record for safety. HORRIBLE. It’s also pretty clear you don’t know anything at all about the various sports that use the back squat as a regular part of their training. You don’t know the difference between powerlifting, weightlifting, and Crossfit — you can’t even keep the names straight. Lord knows you’ve probably never spent any time with them, yet you claim to know all about the back squat from — football?

        Look, if you want to find the sport that has the worst weightroom habits of all you’d be hard pressed to find a sport that’s worse than football.

        • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

          Perfoming bar squat wiht the proper form is the same regardless of what the reason for doing it is in the first place when we are talking about safety/risks.

          Since the hips and legs possess the biggest muscles of the body, a significant amount of weight is needed to adequately stress them. The barbell squatter must lift with the bar resting on his shoulders.

          Result? He vertically loads the spine and compresses it with a heavy weight, which produces a risk… the lower back muscles are the weak link in the barbell squat, limiting the potential strength development of the hips and legs. The squatter also has to move his knees ahead of his ankles, and the farther forward they move, the greater the stretch of the joint and the greater the shearing action.

          Recap: For many years, the barbell squat was the only multi-joint lower-body exercise we used. We extolled its virtues and never thought of dropping it from our program.

          When we finally did so, it didn’t take long for our athletes to appreciate the benefits of the alternative exercise. We could now push our players harder without the risk of hurting the lower back or aggravating the knees.

          • Alex June 4, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

            Please tell me who but one coach and his staff have stopped squatting, and what tangible benefits have his players seen? I find it hard to believe NFL players would benefit from strengthening the legs, and NOT the back. To push, get hit , jump, or do anything remotely athletic, you need to have a torso strong and stable enough to transfer power. Skipping back work is just dumb.
            You still haven’t shown evidence of a movement as effective as the squat for building the legs, either.

            Here is a study that shows the leg press involves far less hamstring, glute, and spinal erector (AKA the posterior chain, AKA the most important component of running fast and jumping high) than the barbell squat:

            Talking about the low back is one thing, but you can’t seriously still think squatting carries anything but benefits for the knees when done properly. There have been several studies listed just on this page that show tighter, more stable knee capsules in olympic weightlifters and powerlifters.

            Keep doing your leg extensions, those’ll get you places.

            • Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

              You have to understand that the lower back muscles are the weak link in the barbell squat, limiting the potential strength development of the hips and legs.

              Our athletes derive all of the benefits of the squatting motion without the limitations of the barbell squat.

              …we have eliminated the vertical compression of the spine, thus enabling us to train the hips and legs intensely without risk of injury to the lower back or having the weaker lower back restrict the training of the hips and legs.

              As for back ecercises…


              Among our low-back exercises are the stiff-legged deadlift (Photo 1), the competitive (bent-legged) deadlift (Photo2), hyperextensions (Photo 3), good mornings (Photo 4), and various back-extensions performed with equipment designed to isolate the lower back.

              Budget and personal preference should dictate your choices of exercise. Our players choose between the back extension and the stiff-legged deadlift.

              Stiff-legged Deadlift

              We prefer the stiff-legged deadlift to the competitive version because in the latter exercise the hip and leg muscles will tend to transfer the weight to the lower-back muscles as the legs straighten.

              The low-back muscles will thus have to finish the exercise, making these muscles more vulnerable to injury.

              Coaching point: Since the muscles of the lower back aren’t as strong as the muscles of the hips and legs, it’s possible for the hips and legs to lift more weight than can be safely handled by the lower back.

              In the work place, athletes are taught to bend their legs while lifting a heavy object. That’s good teaching, but when it comes time to strengthen the lower back, the athlete is expected to select an exercise that allows his lower-back muscles to do all of the work from start to finish.

              That’s why we prefer the stiff-legged deadlift to the competitive deadlift. It does a better job of isolating the lower-back muscles and minimizing the work done by the hips. It also allows the athlete to select a weight that is safe and effective from the beginning to the end of the exercise.

              Starting position. Have the athlete round the shoulders and upper back and slightly bend the knees, then have him lower the weight in a smooth and controlled manner and pause momentarily before recovering to the starting position.

              Once the athlete can perform 12 strict reps, add 10 pounds.

              Many athletes ignore the lower-back muscles. We are conservative with starting weights. A 45-pound Olympic bar may be heavy enough (and possibly too much so) for the beginner. The stress should be on perfect form, not on how much weight can be lifted.

              We would also eliminate sudden and jerky movements and gradually increase the weight. For variety, we would have the players perform a strict set of leg curls followed immediately by the stiff-legged deadlift.


              This is another effective low-back exercise. We suggest 12 reps, but to exercise caution. Some athletes may not be strong enough to perform 12 strict reps with the weight of their upper body.

              Once they can perform 12 good reps, more resistance will be needed. Note: We prefer using manual resistance rather than holding a barbell plate. Manual resistance allows the spotter to vary the angle and the amount of resistance throughout the entire range of motion.

              Starting position: Have the athlete cross his arms on the chest and gently tuck the chin. (Photo 3).

              Coaching point: We do not want the athlete to place his hands behind his neck because it promotes the arching of the back–a no-no.

              We want the athlete to raise his upper body to a position parallel to the floor (Photo 5) and pause for at least a count of one-thousand-and-one. He must establish a definite pause. Any bounce in this position indicates that momentum is being used to help raise the upper body.

              We emphasize the lowering phase and pause in the starting position before beginning the next rep.

              Good Mornings

              We believe that the good morning is a less effective exercise than the stiff-legged deadlift or the hyperextension, but it can serve as an alternative. We suggest that you determine which movement is most effective for you and your athlete.

              Every athlete should set up with his feet just wider than shoulder-width and slowly lower the body to a position parallel to the floor and pause momentarily before returning to the starting position. (Photo 4).

              Back Extension

              A specific piece of equipment is needed for back extensions. Personal preference and budget limitations will determine your choice.

              From the starting position, the athlete must extend his torso to the contracted position and pause momentarily before returning to the starting position.

              Conclusion: The lower back and abs are considered the foundation of the torso. The lower-back muscles are often ignored because they are on the back side of the body. Coaches may have to place a special emphasis on this area to help stimulate more interest from the athletes.

              More weight must be used to generate maximum gains. With any low-back exercise, we stress perfect technique rather than the amount of weight that can be lifted.

              • Alex June 4, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

                The stiff-legged (RDL in the study, close enough) deadlift and good morning produce high shear and compressive forces, as demonstrated here:

                The spine can tolerate far more compressive force than shear force, so why is the squat ruled out based on safety to the low back, when the RDL and GM both place the spine in an equally poor position, even with lower weight? This just doesn’t make sense.

                Finally, as they say, perfect technique is their main goal, not weight lifted. This philosophy lends itself perfectly to squatting, as poor form is what leads to injuries, not some inherent flaw in the exercise.

                If the lower back is the weak point and keeps you from squatting big and that’s your issue with squatting, do low back exercises like you listed until the back is strong enough do squat the desired weight. From there, the inherent erector spinae activation from the squat itself (i linked to the study that showed much more erector activation in the squat than in a leg press elsewhere) will be enough to illicit an adaptive response and keep the muscle development going at the same rate as the legs.

                The only way to avoid any sort of force on the lower back is to ignore it completely, which is retarded. If you can accept the risk of RDL and GM, there is no reason to stop squatting.

  110. Nick June 4, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    I think we have gotten away from the point of this whole blog, Anthony has said that Back Squatting is a dangerous movement and has catastophic consequences yet we have not seen any real information as to back up that claim. The whole football claim about Detroit is one piece of info that is giving the opinion of one Coach, and nothing to back up his claims either. The rest of the NFL I am sure are using the squat, ecspecially since strength training has been shown to prevent injuries on the field. All we are saying is that we want to hear what you have to say but please when giving info about a subject give us something we can read and learn about, show us that you took the time to study your subject and present us with info that is concrete. Show us that you went out into the real world and did case studies, let us know that you were dedicated to changing the minds of others for their actual safety based on results. We will listen when you back yourself up and when you reply to us you do it in a professional manner instead of the disrespectful backlashing. The studies and research will stand against your opinion anyday, and some of the research has been around before you were born so take the time to read and compare to what your THOUGHTS are before you discrace the countless hours and years people put into their research.

  111. Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    Nick…I agree with you more than Anthony. I think the premise of the article that bar squats are the most dangerous exercise is counter productive and flawed. The title should have been there are now more safer options than the bar squat t withoua reduction in benefits. Bar squats have been a very valuable tool in the tool box and arguable one of the best for building overall strength for many years. Also, to slam people that do the bar squats that spent hundred of hours working hard to better themselves and are deservedly proud of their accomplishments and have experienced the benefits first hand is disrespectful and counter productive As for Araphoff, he is a strength trainer not a COACH big difference obviously. His article was respectful but still informative.

  112. Lincoln Brigham June 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Araphoff is only informative if you’re in the NFL.

    Araphoff, as the lowest man on the coaching staff, is merely covering his ass. He knows he can’t win games from the weightroom but he surely can lose them if someone gets hurt. At the NFL level his job is mostly rehab and strength maintenance. Most of the job of getting these guys strong was already done by someone else, usually God. When Araphoff says he’s training football players not weightlifters you should take him seriously. Football players have all the genetic talent and resource$ in the world. They spend a lot of time in the weightroom. Yet football players make mediocre weight lifters, especially when compared to no-name athletes such as throwers, powerlifters, weightlifters, and strongmen. Why? They’re hurt all the time for one thing.

    If you want an informative opinon, talk to a strength coach whose wins are DIRECTLY dependant on results from weightroom activity.

  113. Shickalee June 4, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Arapoff is not the lowest man on the coaching staff. The strength program is one of the most important depts on the team. He is the director. Let’s just focus on the main argument by Araphoff.

    “You have to understand that the lower back muscles are the weak link in the barbell squat, limiting the potential strength development of the hips and legs. The squatter also has to move his knees ahead of his ankles, and the farther forward they move, the greater the stretch of the joint and the greater the shearing action”.

    “Result? He vertically loads the spine and compresses it with a heavy weight, which produces a risk. Our medical staff believes that this kind of loading should be avoided whenever possible.”

    ‘We would also suggest that you do your athletes a favor (unless they are competitive power lifters) by giving them an alternative for the barbell squat. You will not be blocking their physical development nor diminishing the potential success of their team.’

    youAre If you don’t want to do yourself any favors then your body your call.

  114. Mike Smith June 4, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    You know, there is a 100% chance of injury performing “life”. At some point, during “living” you will inevitably make a mistake, and injure yourself. I think the best thing to do is thus to not live. Kill yourself before life injures you!

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

      The problem with your logic is complete lack of context. The purpose of life is not better health. The purpose of *exercise* IS better health.

      Injury negates better health, always, and absolutely.

      • Lincoln Brigham June 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

        Making up injuries willy-nilly does not help your “logic”. Your “context” is that you don’t have a lot of in depth knowledge on the subject, despite your high school exprience. So you’ve invented fatalities.

  115. john June 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Arguing with guys that say the squat is dangerous is alot like explaining to your girlfriend you want to try MMA. Some guys just truly are different. Anyone with a Friggen brain can look at a powerlifter that squats a thousand pounds and can figure out GEE THAT GUYS STRONG AS SHIT. Now some guys are gonna say ugggg i could get hurt. And some guys are gonna say. That guy knows something about getting stronger. I want to learn how to do that. Just like 2 guys can see the same cliff and one may say nice cliff and the other will be figuring out how to base jump off it or something.

  116. Jenny June 4, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    The risk of death is 100% for everyone, so should we stop living?

  117. Mike Bledsoe June 4, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    It’s a good thing we never have to load our spine in real life. note sarcasm

  118. john June 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Look i love goodmornings and deadlifts. But your saying they are safe alternatives to the squat. If the back is the weak link in the squat WHY WONT IT SNAP LIKE TWIG during the goodmorning. I don’t think it will. But it just seems dumb to say squats are dangerous… goodmornings. Its Almost the SAME thing. You are just removing any leg development. Also The more you move towards isolating everything the more likely you are to create strength imbalances. What happens when a guy who can leg press a grand. and maybe do 25lb plates for a couple of reps of hyperextentions trys to show his frends how strong he is by moving something heavy. That guy is going to have ZERO proprioception and crazy strength imbalances. So i guess its a good thing he didn’t “weaken” his spine squatting Because its gonna be in pieces. Some of the movments that coach recommended are fine. But stifflegged deadlifts….To me they are safe. But to some guys on this site. They are gonna want a surgeon general’s warning on the barbell before they can be performed.

  119. john June 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Also In the squat the back is mostly functioning isometrically. The spine is most vulnerable in flexion. Which is very easy to happen in any form of deadlift. It takes much more awareness to maintain an arch with a heavy deadlift than in a barbell squat. Deadlifts are still safe when done properly but they’re a little more dangerous. Not less. When looking at the spine, extension and rotation are much more hazardous than compression.
    ” we train the limb muscles (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists) to produce force. We train the torso musculature to act as a conduit and transmit force, not produce it. Therefore, the stronger and more rigid we can make the conduit, the more force the body as a whole will be able to produce”

  120. Loki June 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    We are large and strong, you are small and weak. Case closed. Enjoy your leg presses and being a college dropout.

  121. John Casler June 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Hi Anthony,

    I had the opportunity to listen and see your video and it is difficult to watch, as you are a good example of “a little bit of knowledge is dangerous”. However that said from your comments you have “less” than a little bit. You have illogical fallacies, straw men, appeal to authority, and ad hominem arguments, laced with your centric position which is absolutely incorrect.

    First off, it is incredibly clear that you have NO working or fundamental knowledge of functional anatomy, or biomechanics. Your appeal to authority is less than adequate and falls flat. No facts, no information, just uninformed, illogical repetition of your incorrect premise. Saying something regularly and often will not make it so.

    As I said you also have an even greater deficit relative to training stimuli, and adaptive responses.

    Further you cannot establish the value of an exercise action without a “clear” goal. If all you wish to do is hypertrophy the quads the you DO NOT need to perform squats at all. But you do not appear to be either a bodybuilder “or” an athlete, much less a Strength Athlete, so this may be ne of your issues.

    You don’t understand Kinetic Chains, you don’t understand the TSM (Torso Stabilization Mechanism) and you also attack one of the most esteemed Strength Coaches in the country without a shred of knowledge, logic, or fact. Your collapsing ribcage is high comedy and clearly shows you do not understand the most simple of biomechanical mechanisms nor ITP. Do you have the slightest idea what ITP is and how it is created? Do you understand its function? Try a Google Search and start to educate yourself. And while your at it also look up IAP. And maybe some of the torso muscles that contribute to stabilization such as the Obliques, TvA, Diaphragm, and the mechanics of how they all function when performing squats.

    Your shortsighted ignorance is OK if all you want is to be able to walk around in shorts and not be embarrassed, but you should be embarrassed at this clearly “over your pay grade” rant of and delusions of grandeur. You couldn’t carry Mark Ripptoe’s jock much less understand the level to which you don’t comprehend the anatomy, biomechanics, and conditioning potential of the squat.

    That said, I would hope that instead of doubling down on your illogical and limited argument, that you enlighten and educate yourself a bit more so you don’t sound so foolish the next time.

  122. iMonsterEatCity June 4, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    I watched the video and read the blog post mostly for laughs. I read the comments hoping this fool would see reason at some juncture. Alas, he is so convinced that getting under the bar will spell instant death that he refuses to see even the most basic of truths. For instance, the fact that millions of human beings across generations have used the barbell squat to acquire strength without spontaneously combusting is simply a fact that he will not accept. In fact, I wonder if he might oblige a request for a reference to even one fatality caused by a properly performed back squat? I doubt it. Ah well. Best to let him be. SOMEBODY has to replace the current generation of mall walkers.

  123. nick June 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Can you at least give us a list of excercises that would take the same place and yeild the same results. I keep hearing of alternative movements but havent seen a list of them yet. If I missed them my apologie. Thank you

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 4, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

      Horizontal leg press with the seat back, and a belt squat (you’ll need much less weight, and the weight is loaded through the pelvis, not through the spine).

      • Corson June 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

        So, I’m more confused about what the point is.

        Is there an exercise you would use to replace the squat? I cannot squat because of my elbow/shoulder flexibility, so I do Bulgarian split squats with dumbbells. Those are held with in a foot of my hips and right next to my legs, load is on my shoulders and hands, so is that safer?

        Or would you rather replace leg press?

        I guess, overrall, yes, some points are made, and people who enter weightlifting in general (oly, power lifting, strongman) are usually out of the sport due to injury with in five years (I believe Dave Tate said that) because they do stupid shit, which, MAY just be the barbell back squat.

        In the end, I’m curious: If we take away back squats, deadlifts, snatches, power cleans, front squats, bulgarian split squats, step ups, lunges, bench press, standing shoulder press aka military press, what will we train our athletes with to make them better? What will people do to get stronger as human beings? We are not born strong, and we definitely NEED strong/fast people for jobs, military, etc. so what would YOU recommend we do to replace those things? Because machines come no where close to capturing what happens in reality, be it a soldier, construction worker, MMA fighter, etc.

        • Alex June 4, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

          If your shoulders are stopping you from squatting and you don’t have access to a safety squat bar, check out how clint darden uses his straps (standard weightlifting wrist straps) to solve that problem in this video:

          Just slip-knot the straps around the bar at a comfortable width, and use them as a handle to pull the bar horizontally into your back, locking it in place on top of your rear delts.

          Also, please don’t buy in to what he’s saying about the dangers of squatting, especially if he says holding the same amount of weight would be better than squatting it. There’s no difference, your torso still bears the same load, and it’s till transferred through to the feet by the same musculoskeletal structure . Yes, there is an inherent risk involved, but there is risk in anything, we can’t live in a marshmallow cotton candy world. If you want to get strong you have to take a little risk, and squatting is well worth the risk.

      • Alex June 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

        So let me get this straight:
        one of the main issues with the squat is that you can’t load the spine enough to work the legs without snapping it like a twig

        AND belt squat takes much less work your legs? Come on man, it’s like you’re not even trying.

        Also, looking at the ARX thing (belt squat in particular), it’s totally useless in terms of trying to replace a squat. The hip and knee angles basically stop at 90 degrees because you hold the handles and lean so far back (meaning no glute activation typical of a deep squat and absent in a 90 degree squat, study to back this up)

        At the same time, holding onto the handles takes strain off of the hammies because there is no tendency of your torso/hips to fall forward that they need to counteract. It’s essentially a really complicated quad movement at best.

        • David June 15, 2012 at 1:51 am #

          Great article, thanks

  124. nick June 5, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    Here is a big problem that I have, you are at the mercy of the machine when you are doing a leg press, hoping that the person responsible for the maintanance on the equipment has done there job, because unlike a back squat (which you can safely dump and get out of the way) you can not get out of the way of the leg press if the machine fails and crashes on you.

    Dangers of Poorly-Fitting Machines One note of caution should be taken even before you take your position upon the leg press machine. Make certain that the weight handle is securely in place and safely supported by the safety pins. Frequently, machines are constructed with pins that do not amply support the cradle. These pins can come loose on one side or the other either during the loading of the machine or through use by other trainees. The machine may appear to be safely supporting the weights you have put on but the cradle may be at the very edge of slipping off the pins. One side of the cradle could be completely off the support pin (on that side} with the result being that should you happen to nudge the other support out of place during your entry into the seat, the weight cradle could come crashing down upon your leg.

    Danger of Hyperextension of the Knee Joint , one major concern associated with applying pressure with the rear portion of the feet is that there is a
    tendency to rock back with the heels in an exaggerated posture that sees the toes raised off the platform. Because of the angleof the movement application, if
    there is an exaggerated rocking back on the heels there is experienced a hyperextension of the knee-joint which can lead to serious injury.

    Not to mention I asked if you had any exercises that will yeild the same results as a back squat which a lege press will not. You completely negate the core and othe stabilizer muscles used to keep yourself balanced.

    Next the belt squat, while a good assitance exercise for the squat will also not yeild the same results of the back squat, a good exercise none the less. Because there is no weight on your shoulders you can keep your back more upright which means it is harder on your quads but as a result de-emphasises the glutes and hamstrings.

    Im just having a hard time with the fact that you are saying that a back squat will yeild catostrophic results and will always lead to injury. Those are bold claims with no evidence. We just want sound information being put out for those who want to make a good decision. If you have the info why are you hiding behind smartass coments and rude responces to make yourself feel superior to the rest of us. Now some have gone to that also but some of us are trying to have an educated conversation on the comparison of why the squat is good or bad. Is it not possible for you to conduct yourself in a professional manner. I hope you are able to respond with good info.

  125. Vance June 5, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Good gods, what a retard.

    Weak, inexperienced, uneducated, fucking stupid, and just full of shit.

    Whatever you do, newbies, don’t let this walking facepalm mislead you. The barbell squat, along with a bunch of other key lifts, is one of the best things you can do to become stronger, AND MORE RESILIENT. That’s right: core compound lifts will make you LESS vulnerable and fraglie in all kinds of ways, in the short term, and later in life.

    This idiot seriously needs to shut the fuck up, and go and actually learn something (of value).

  126. Ken Gack June 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Holy Shit – I’m about to DIE tonight!

  127. Anthony Dream Johnson June 5, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    “Thanks for your squat article, I believe you! My trainer pressured me into heavy squats, I am a 115 lb. …bicycle racer. Squats never made me faster, in fact, I repeatedly said to him that I did not like the bar on my back, he got all dickhead on me. I asked a coach of Olympic cyclists if she had them squat, she said no! They have 2000 watts of sprinting power. Incidentally, my trainer injured his spine,at 25 yrs old. And I no longer go to him! Thanks for your wisdom!”

    • Roland June 6, 2012 at 12:23 am #

      Anthony, you’re not alone out there. Wise man like Steve Maxwell are with you! I’m with you ‘cos I don’t need scientific proof to see the the obvious. (Maybe because I’m approaching 50?) Throughout history great thinkers were laughed at by the crowds – until enough of them thought differently due to dependance on other people’s intellect. Say smoking, say nuclear power, say pesticides, say cholesterol, etc.
      (You just have to repeat a lie often enough for people to believe it.)

    • Lars June 6, 2012 at 6:39 am #

      What an excellent anecdote. This removes all doubt. But wait, what about my anecdote?

      “Curse you and your squat article! Thanks to you I stopped squatting, and I blew out my back doing belt squats! Now I have to live the rest of my life as a cripple.”

      What an equally compelling and credible story.

    • David June 15, 2012 at 1:59 am #

      Gay + inaccurate.

    • Commenter September 17, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

      Here’s an anecdote: Rippetoe has trained at least one competitive sprint cyclist with squats and obtained good results.

  128. Geoffrey P. Ulam June 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    I look forward to more articles of this nature; telling people that loading heavy weights on any joint is a bad idea. Your shoulders can tear if you bench 300 lb, your quads can tear if you go too heavy on a leg extension, etc. I guess I don’t understand the point of the article. It seems superfluous to me. People, more often than not, will get hurt if they try to lift heavy things while pushing their physical limitations regardless of which part of the body is doing the work. The implications may be more serious if a moron fails and a bar drops on his back while squatting, but injury remains a very real risk for anyone involved in any sort of exercise. Freak accidents can happen anywhere, not only in a power rack.

  129. Alex June 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    You are a fair dinkum cock sucker :)
    have you even lifted a weight in your life ? cant tell..
    until you do, your opinions are useless. sow me a decent bodybuilder that doesnt squat.

  130. Ben Dover June 5, 2012 at 7:18 pm #









    • Steve June 15, 2012 at 2:02 am #

      Thanks Ben,

      Never squat again

      Harry Balzac

  131. Ze June 5, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Intervertebral disks can handle compressive forces much larger than the weights that 99% of squatters use. biomechanics FAIL

  132. Myles June 5, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    Everything you just told me seems to make perfect and logical sense in every way, IF YOUR A PUSSY.

  133. Tony June 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    This dude hates squats AND doesn’t believe in God. Coincidence? I think not.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 6, 2012 at 12:42 am #

      Epic comment…

      • Spitfire June 6, 2012 at 11:23 pm #

        Haha :) this comment just proves the core of Anthony’s point.

        Excellent blog post.

  134. JNW June 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    Injury is inevitable as part of living live in a gravity environment, silly… Squatting, running, yoga, sitting in a chair… all lead to injury 100% over time.

    So what?

    You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

    • Spitfire June 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      The point is to minimize the “risk” of injury and maximize the margin of mistakes you can make. The error margin in barbell squats is paper thin.

  135. Dimitri June 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    Dear Antony

    I can only judge from my experience as I am not an expert on the subject (I majored in psychology not sports science). I started bodybuilding 16 months ago with relatively light weight (60-70kg deadlifts, 60kg squat, 70kg bench press). My body weight was 79kg and 1,75cm height. I have reached a stage where I can squat around 140kg, deadlift about 140kg and bench around 130 (all of that during the so called ‘off season’ for 4-7 reps. I now weigh about 90kg with 11% body fat.

    So to conclude, all I can really say from my own experience is that although I have experienced minor injuries (e.g.on my shoulder from the pull-over exercise, a few lower back aches after heavy sessions, etc) I have gained a lot of muscle mass, I have lost a lot of body fat and am stronger and better looking than ever and I am certain that squats have played a major role in doing that (especially in building monsterous legs – you would honestly start making steroids acusations). I am openly therefore saying that I did not like your article (watched about 2′ of your vid before I turned it off) and apart from a ‘logical’ argument you have made (based purely on medical terminology and a few research methods lines) is going to need a lot more science and experimentation in order to prove your hypothesis (that is if you actually do). As you Americans say: “Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups”

    I am not going to try and convince you otherwise, all I am going to say is what Ronnie Coleman’s t-shirt reads (and I honestly do not mean to offend you):

    “Shut up and squat”

    Best wishes from London


  136. The_Great_Fapsby June 5, 2012 at 10:34 pm #

    Are you or a troll or just retarded. Where are the sources/studies that back up your claims. Ones opinion isn’t enough, there needs to be in depth research.

  137. Ass to Grass June 5, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Jesus fucking Christ that was the most rubbish shit ive heard in my life, no wonder you look don’t even lift, just put the fucking barbell on your back and squat you pussy !

  138. jude June 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    There is no unsafe exercise. just unsafe ways of performing them. they are a functional exercise performed every day back squats are an extension of this movement. just saying……….

    • Some Random Guy June 6, 2012 at 11:26 am #

      Here’s what I’ve taken from the article:

      1) You will eventually 100% have an injury–squats or no squats
      2) You will eventually 100% die–squats or no squats

      With those out of the way, is there any real substance to this article?

      Oh, and since the burden of proof is not on the persons presenting the negative view:

      Anthony Dream Johnson knows nothing about exercise, kenesiology, or nutrition.

      The burden of proof is now on you sir Johnson to prove otherwise. Be sure to present lots of evidence, studies, etc.

  139. Stuart June 6, 2012 at 3:59 am #

    Why criticise an exercise and method of training that you don’t understand. It’s one thing to promote your way/the congruent way – why not just do that?

    “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do”

    Of course it’s obvious – criticising the squat is controversial and will generate lots of hype (and sales).

    Also, basing exercise on “Biomechanics” whilst a great spin to put on it, is nothing new at all. All that’s new is this interpretation of biomechanics (and by people unqualified who are “self taught”, coming to conclusions that are even contrary to people who are qualified in this area).

    I think a discussion on the actual proposed method of training may actually be interesting and could even peak peoples interest enough to either buy or disregard the book. What puts me off the most is that the marketing strategy here seems to involve generating controversy by slating squats. Why not market this new method of training, supported by “biomechanics” instead?

    Tell us why it’s good to train this way, what we’ll get out of it, instead of telling us how insane we are for training the way we have up until now, and how stupid we clearly are for not realising how insane we are for doing squats.

    I can only assume you’re going down this root to promote it because there’s just not a lot of interesting things to say about this Congruent method. So, as someone else has already pointed out, you have created a problem (squats will ruin your back – which IS unsupported), and then proposed this product as a solution.

    By going down this road you leave yourself open to getting quite hostile criticism especially on the internet, which i’m sure you have predicted (and seem to enjoy).


  140. Ben Sabo June 6, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    So, let me get this straight: your legs will get stronger from squatting, but the structures in your torso will not adapt to the imposed load. Yeah, that sounds biologically plausible.

    Here’s another one: you got hurt squatting, so the squat must be an evil movement. There’s no possible way you might have done something wrong. Makes PERFECT sense.

    Since you’ve already decided that anyone who disagrees with you is obviously not as intelligent and clever as you are, I’ll share an article I wrote for the benefit of anyone unfortunate enough to stumble onto your blog. YOU should definitely not read it, as I cite a few studies where n > 1 and I also make an appeal to actual logic.

    Then, I’m gonna go squat, and follow that workout with a gluten-containing meal. Good luck with that whole prideful ignorance thing you got going on.

  141. Nick June 6, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    I am pretty dam disappointed that those of us who had something to say in a professional manner without bashing you as a person did not get the respect we deserved for a good debate and discussion. At no point did those with information to back up our statements, were given any time but you sure did give those who were making fun of you all the time for some bullshit bickering. Thanks for the uneducated discussion, hopefully now that you have put it out there with the crossfit post you are able to speak of these things in a professional manner.

    • Anthony Dream Johnson June 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      Actually I find it unfortunate that the good, respectful, intelligent comments and questions were drowned out by the idiot mob of fanatics.

      I was only, and intended only, to mock them, not people who treated my property — this blog — with respect.

      If I offended anyone in the comments via trolling that did not deserve it, I apologize.

      You are however, in a tiny minority, and I have little interest in continually digging through ~400 comments to find your comment(s).

      Please comment elsewhere on the blog (newer, less cluttered posts) for further discussion.


      • Stuart June 7, 2012 at 3:15 am #

        With all due respect (this being your blog), you insulted and mocked everyone who squats in the video you made. This makes it very difficult to want to see your point, even if you had one. It’s like me telling a new client, “OMG, you eat low fat? You’re so dumb!!! How stupid!!!”.

        Which is where my previous post came from, really. Either you were genuinely oblivious to the kind or responses you would get i.e. responses in a tone very similar to the one set in the video by you, or you have done it on purpose to create controversy/hype for marketing purposes, which is also off putting.

        It makes it difficult to take you seriously, and it just makes me think you’re just another guy who didn’t train properly, got hurt and blamed squats.

  142. Dreadlifts June 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Are you afraid to get out of bed in the morning due to fear of excessive loading on the spine and knee’s? Serious question.

    • MikeEnRegalia June 7, 2012 at 2:31 am #

      Perhaps he’s going to come up with motorized solutions for everyday tasks like getting out of bed which perfectly take into account the biomechanical needs of the human body. ;-)

  143. Damon June 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    I’ve never seen someone so completely and utterly owned on their own blog. Outstanding work by the people commenting. If by some miracle I ever come across any material by this joker I know both to run away and advise others to do the same.

    • Steve June 15, 2012 at 2:08 am #

      This is definitely being owned; in fact it is beyond being owned to the point of utter ownership.

      Responders: Owners of the Dream

      Dream: Prison bitch of repsonders

  144. adam June 7, 2012 at 4:30 am #

    this is a hideous blog. utter crap. people get injured when they train incorrectly or do not recover well enough. deadlifts and squats have rehabilitated my back from n numerous labouring work injuries. form is key. please do not pollute the masses with your ignorant one sided views. i have injured myself far more times running and playing sports. in a lifetime of strength training i have never damaged my back.

  145. adam June 7, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    and rippetoe is kind of right, you are probably a pussy.

  146. Jordan June 7, 2012 at 5:18 am #

    I find many flaws in this article but I am currently deployed to Afghanistan (where barbell squats are one of the few leg exercises I have available to me) so I only have time to address one thing. A big argument you state is its not natural to put a load on our upper shoulder area. I disagree with this 100%. When you go to lift a heavy object and move it (such as punching bag or big sand bag) what is the easiest on most instinctual place to put it to carry, OVER YOUR SHOULDER. You state the only way you could perform a leg exersice worse is to put a load on your head. Where do women in african tribes carry large heavy baskets of fruit ON THIER HEAD. Ruck sacks and hiking packs that are meant for a person to carry heavy weight are designed so the load is placed mostly on the upper shoulder allowing to walk large distance in relative comfort. All of these example point to putting loads on your shoulders or top of the spine as being very natural. what is unnatural is sitting and pressing heavy weight with your feet. Where in nature or the evolution of humans does this action ever take place? Please put more research and consideration into something before you publish it, you may cause people to not do a perfectly safe and very effective exersice without any scientific backing what so ever.

  147. Travis Janeway June 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    I love comedy. So, by this reasoning, humans would be better off without gravity. We are meant to be jellyfish or something…

  148. Bob June 7, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    I would just like to point out that people are getting all bent out of shape based upon an assertion by a random guy on the internet that squatting is unsafe. He has a blog, he wants to drive traffic – congratulations on granting his wish (I know…I did too). Seriously – read his bio and tell me why this deserves any debate.

    About Anthony Dream Johnson
    CEO, founder, and chief architect of The 21 Convention, Anthony ‘Dream’ Johnson is the leading force behind the world’s first and only “panorama event for life on earth”. He has been featured on WGN Chicago, and in the NY Times #1 best seller The Four Hour Work Week. His stated purpose for the work he does is “the actualization of the ideal man”, a purpose that has led him to found and host The 21 Convention across 2 continents and for 6 years in a row. Anthony blogs vigorously at and

    Happy Squatting (or not)!

  149. JT June 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    Dumbest mother fucker on the internet. Yes, of the entire internet this guy is the stupidest fucker I have seen. That is all

  150. Joe N June 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    When shown this article on Facebook (via Jeff Tucker), Rippetoe’s reply was:

    “Best to ignore things like this, since it does not merit a response. Not everyone is entitled to an opinion.”

    That basically sums up what needs to be said about this blog, and the person writing it.

    Intelligent people do their homework, stupid people spout stupid.

    • MikeEnRegalia June 8, 2012 at 4:31 am #

      “Best to ignore things like this, since it does not merit a response. Not everyone is entitled to an opinion.”

      I agree that the article doesn’t merit a serious response by Rippetoe or any other qualified persons – but it does merit ridicule, and it does present a certain entertainment value.

  151. Mr.J June 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm #