Thursday, November 14, 2013

What's so special about heavy squats ?

It seems that these days everybody is into training and bodybuilding. You are almost considered an idiot and “beta loser” if you don't workout. However even if you do workout your tough guy image would not be complete without being able to squat heavy weights. 

Why ? What is so special about squats ?

Squats are tough there is no doubt about it. Squats will make you suffer. Squats will make you feel like shit. Squats will make you look tough...Is that it ?

Mark Rippetoe the famous but still quite mediocre “coach” made squats quite popular with his best seller Starting Strength. He presented the exercise as the holy grail of life. Yet when you look at the guy he looks like an average 50-60 year old guy with a beer gut. In other words squats did not turn him into the mean machine he presents himself to be. The same goes for the fanatic followers on his forum who finish his program. The explanation is quite simple: those guys have become squat slaves. In other words everything they do is designed to make their squat go up and that includes getting fat...etc. What is the reward ? Being able to say: “I squat heavy ass weights. I am a man now.”  Is that it ? You tell me.

The squat is nothing more than an exercise designed to make your body stronger and the developed strength should translate to either your sport of choice or real life. Of course you can also argue that you squat for fun but the truth is that about 99.9% of people who squat do it for aesthetic purposes or to feed their ego. Nobody would ever consider squatting otherwise. Squatting is not dancing if you know what I mean. “ How much do you squat ? “ has become the new “How much do you bench press ?”. You can change bench pressing with squats but it's still a stupid ego driven question.

Truth be told most people benefit only from squatting moderate weighst. For example 315 lbs for men and 225 lbs for women is heavy enough for the purposes of most people. You don't need to squat more than that in order to develop big legs or explosiveness. Of course many people will now say Ben Johnson used to squat 600lbs but you are all ignoring that similar weights are unachievable for drug free non-professional athletes. It's impossible to squat 500-600lbs naturally without being either fat or on steroids. Like I said after 315lbs you are getting diminishing returns. In other words you are driving a Ferrari on a street where the speed limit is 30 mph. 

Most people would benefit greatly if they stop being squat-slaves because there is more to life than barbells on the traps. And yes you are still a man even if you are not able to squat 135 lbs. 

How much did Robin Hood squat ? How much did Muhammad Ali quat ? What's the best squat of Rocky Marciano ? Hey, what's the squat of Michael Schumacher ? Hey, how much does Eminem squat ? What about Rihanna ?...Kim Kardashian (no pun intended) ?

Please do tell Mark Rippetoe how wrong I am.