I’ve been really busy lately with T21C stuff and as a result feel that I have neglected this blog. That will change soon, and in the meantime, here’s a roundup of squat related posts as well as some current thoughts.
If popularity is factored into the “worst” equation, I am more convinced than ever that the barbell back squat is indeed the worst currently in practice. Nothing comes close to the wishful thinking, magical claims, and doctorate level/slightly homosexual broscience surrounding this exercise.
The First Responders
- Bill DeSimone’s Congruent Exercise (video – blog – book)
- Exercise Injury Risk
- I No Longer Give a Squat about the Squat
- My Squat Article is a “Scare Piece”
- Lower Risk Alternatives to the Barbell Back Squat
- Squats : Awesome or Awful & Overrated?
Demo Vids and Misc.
- Hip Belt Squat Demonstration by Bill DeSimone
- Static Hip Belt Squat Demo /w visual feedback
- DIY Timed Static Contraction Hip Belt Squats
- Motorized Hip Belt Squat /w visual feedback (go to 5:10)
Some Current Thoughts
I chose the picture at the beginning of this post for a specific reason : it is a simple depiction of a body weight squat. But body weight squat is a redundancy in terms. The squat pictured is in a sense, the only squat that exists. It precedes all others.
All other “squats”, are just that : variations on, and deviations from the original, primary movement; for better and for worse. This is an important distinction to make, so I appreciate the clarity in posts like this from MAS. As for the rest of humanity, they are busy blurring the lines between “squat” and “[freestanding] barbell [back] squat”. Notice the lines are so fucking blurred I can’t even say “barbell squat” and be 100% accurate.
Because when barbell squat is used it is automatically implied that the barbell is loaded on the upper back in some manner, over the majority of the spine, and said barbell is not on a track system of any kind (such as a smith machine).
This is how utterly fucking sloppy the herd-thinking zombie mass of broscience has gotten in this context. It’s disgusting, disgraceful, misleading, and ultimately dishonest.
In Defense of the Squat
I’ve come to the conclusion that if one really values strength training, and the squat in particular, you have to necessarily be against the free standing barbell back squat, to at least some minimal degree. As Greg Swann has put it in other contexts, this does not mean you have to run around pulling intellectual weeds 24 hours a day — a waste of time.
But when you see fraud, you need to call fraud, even if you just leave it at that. And the “barbell squat” is a fraudulent exercise proclaimed as a gift from god upon the gym rats, when it is nothing more than the single worse variation on “a squat” ever practiced.
There are only two ways I know of to top the “barbell squat” in terms of stupidity and risk of injury :
- Unevenly load the barbell
- Weld the barbell to a metal hard hat before usage
Well I suppose you could invent more, but those are the first two that come to mind — loading methods that some people might actually be dumb enough to try in a vague attempt at “working more stabilizer muscles”.
I mean come on, what better way to work the neck than to stick a loaded barbell on top of the head as big as a man.
In the end and all jokes aside, I am a big proponent of strength training and of the squat. That’s why I’m so passionate about calling out bullshit in this area when I see it, and this holy grail of an exercise is a huge offense to intelligent strength training in general, and intelligent squatting in particular. It’s complete nonsense and there is no excuse for it.
It should not be misinterpreted that anyone and everyone who has ever done or advocated a free standing barbell back squat “is stupid”. I did them myself throughout high school. In fact, they were the only leg exercise I liked out of what was available to me, especially after multiple knee dislocation events. I even did a few bbb squats in college.
I am not stupid, but, the exercise itself is about as “stupid” as a concept can be, and I was completely wrong to do them at any point in my life. Anyone who advocates them today, well, that action is their responsibility, not mine. The exercise remains stupid regardless of how great or how poor the advice in general is from such advocates otherwise.
The exercise does not get a free pas when otherwise very intelligent people recommend them.