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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 08-24-2008, 11:42 AM   #11
Robert Callahan
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

The reason that Squats are such a crucial strength training tool is not because they are completely analogous to a real life activity we must do. Putting heavy things on our back and sitting up and down is not an every day activity. Squats are functional for 2 main reasons.

1) Sitting down and standing up are two very important movements that humans preform every day, and while we do not do it with extra weight, getting very strong in that range of motion helps develop muscle to support the joints for a very high number of repetitions throughout the day.

2) More importantly for training, Squats allow you to move more weight through a greater ROM than virtually any other exercise hitting many many muscle groups. This allows for a more favorable adaption in the CNS as well as hormonal response leading to increased performance in other lifts as well. The strength developed in squats is easily transferable to other activities that may not seem very analogous such as: running (stairs, cutting and weaving, change of direction), mid line stabilization, even jumping, kicking and punching can be benefited.

We do not do squats so that we can put heavy things on our shoulders and sit down and stand up, we do them as a stress we can apply to basically our entire body which leads to entire body strength. I mean how often do you find yourself doing pull-ups in every day activity? and yet we call this a functional movement as well because how many times you do an exercise in real life is not the measure of functionality, it is how much an exercise benefits strength that can be used in real life.

Hope that wasn't too long and convoluted

-Robert
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:49 AM   #12
Warren C Ellison
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

Robert,
I've always enjoyed reading your post and comments. What you say makes sense, but is there a level of weight that can become counter productive to health or dangerous? If we are being realistic, there has to be a point that we top out at and anything over that becomes counter productive. We can't keep getting stronger for life. If so, there would be people squatting in the tons not lbs. That's an exageration but, I think you get my point.

For me, running anything over 17 miles becomes counter productive to my overall health. That's why I don't do it. 10-13 miles without stopping will do.
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Old 08-24-2008, 11:54 AM   #13
Brett Dartt
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

they make my *** look great. thats practical enough for me.
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:08 PM   #14
James Withington
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

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Originally Posted by Warren C Ellison View Post
Robert,
I've always enjoyed reading your post and comments. What you say makes sense, but is there a level of weight that can become counter productive to health or dangerous? If we are being realistic, there has to be a point that we top out at and anything over that becomes counter productive. We can't keep getting stronger for life. If so, there would be people squatting in the tons not lbs. That's an exageration but, I think you get my point.

For me, running anything over 17 miles becomes counter productive to my overall health. That's why I don't do it. 10-13 miles without stopping will do.
Obviously everyone has a limit to their athletic performance, their "maximum genetic potential" as it were. That's why people can't carry on improving til they're lifting tonnes.

With regard to lifting to a point where it becomes dangerous, you just have to be sensible about things. Obviously there will come points where your joints and soft tissue attachments will start to suffer, and you obviously want to stop before that point! Certainly in your case with your previous IV disc problems you'll need to be very careful. Being able to squat well is beneficial to your health. Being able to squat so much that you risk damaging your back or any other joints is obviously not.

Just be sensible about it. If you can't squat a weight without compromising your form/ROM, or without suffering from pain in your back or elsewhere, then don't do it. Back the weight off a little until you can do it with good form and without risking injury.

I think what I'm trying to say is get to know your own body and its limits. Everybody's limits are going to be different. Your body will tell you where those limits lie. Christ, I'm sounding like a spirtualist/reiki healer or something!
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:27 PM   #15
Derek Maffett
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

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Originally Posted by Warren C Ellison View Post
Ok...I just weighed (Took a good poo this morning) in at 176lbs today and I max at 265. Let's see:
176 x 1.5 =264lbs. So I actually can deadlift over that benchmark.
Okay, so my math isn't very good.

I don't think that squatting less than bodyweight is even remotely close to being more dangerous than helpful unless your limits are being heavily modified by your previous injuries.

Last edited by Derek Maffett : 08-24-2008 at 12:29 PM. Reason: 176-135 equals... carry the one, times seven, differentiate, cosine... stinking math.
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:36 PM   #16
Jake Di Vita
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

Sorry.

Are squats a practical strength movement? Absolutely.

Why? The squat is not necessarily meant to strengthen the legs (although it does this better than any other exercise). The squat is a practical strength movement because of the way it trains the core. A proper squat balances all the forces around your hips and knees in the exact same way your musculo-skeletal system was designed to be used.

In order for the legs and hips to drive the bar upward - the entire core, shoulders, and arms, are all in isometric contraction - which is what allows the transfer of power from the ground, up your legs, into the barbell. Can you think of any athletic (or everyday) movement that core strength is not critical? I can't either.
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:39 PM   #17
Robert Callahan
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

Thanks Warren!

I agree a lot with what James said. Obviously you cannot gain strength forever, we all have our genetic potential and pushing your training to the point of reaching that potential may have long term effects on your body. i.e. competitive power lifters will have worn down cartilage in their joints from deadlifting and squatting many times their own body weight.

What it all comes down to is your goals and how your body responds. In anything we must weigh (excuse the pun) the benefits and costs. Heavy lifting is no exception.

Benefits: simply put, Strength. This helps with every day tasks, support for joints, some would even argue improved immune system and hormonal balance leading to happier, longer life.

Costs: its hard, can cause unnecessary strain/injury if done with poor form or too much weight.

So when you lift heavy, or set goals weights you want to achieve in lifts you have to think, is the strength i will gain worth the risk of injury? At low weights that risk will be very low. But as the weight increases so does the risk and it is up to each of us as individuals to decide at what point the risk becomes too great.

-Robert
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Old 08-24-2008, 01:35 PM   #18
Steven Anderson
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

This turned into a really great thread. Everybody on here had something "above and beyond" positive to say. Good stuff!
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Old 08-24-2008, 02:46 PM   #19
Britt Buckingham
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

Squats can be a practical excercise, but its up to you to determine if its application in your program is appropriate. First of all do you enjoy them??? If not find another movement that you do enjoy. Life is too short to endure, and you will probably never get the full benifit of something you truly dont enjoy or in your case, it seems the lift is uncomfortable to you. If done incorrectly the risk of injury is high. If something hurts either get help with tech if that is the issue or abandon it and find another movement. The reason the back squat in particular is so widely recognized is the strength it builds not only in the legs, but the posterior chain from the support as well as lower back. It is an excercise that is hard to beat, but selection of movements such as Deadlift paired along with the leg press can accomplish much of the same. Now before everyone has a hemmorage that I said leg press, do some research. Although it may not fit the CF protocols, many powerlifters worn ragged from years of heavy squats adopt just what I have suggested here as an alternative to heavy squatting.
Also...and this is JMO from my personal experience, but I bet you can find other long time heavy squatters that will tell you the same...The advantages of Heavy squatting, and I stress heavy, will only go so far...eventually, it may be 5, 10, or even 15 or more years, but the discomfort from not only the movement itself, but the effects of prolonged heavy uses will catch up, (hips stay sore longer, lower back spasms) and recovery time between efforts takes longer and longer that proponents of Heavy squatting will be looking for other movements to substitute.
In your specific case of Adventure Racing...Heavy squatting can have a negative impact on your training due to the endurance intensive nature of your activity on the legs. If you have ever squatted heavy then gone out on a 5-10 mile run the next day you know what I mean. Particularily for you it would be benificial to work strength that has a better carryover to you athletic events. If you do choose to squat go lighter and squat for high reps or for time. Incidently former speed skater/cyclist Eric Heiden did just that. He typically did squat sets of up to 100 reps and Leg Press sets of up to 500 reps.
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Old 08-24-2008, 02:51 PM   #20
Jake Di Vita
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Re: Are squats a practical strength movement?

Quote:
If you do choose to squat go lighter and squat for high reps or for time. Incidently former speed skater/cyclist Eric Heiden did just that. He typically did squat sets of up to 100 reps and Leg Press sets of up to 500 reps.
I could not disagree more with that. The squat is not an endurance exercise. It's a strength exercise. And while the leg press may have it's benefits - a healthy human being that can squat, should squat. Liking it has nothing to do with it.
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