Analyzing the Squat Analyzing the Squat

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Thread: Analyzing the Squat

  1. #1
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    Default Analyzing the Squat

    by Nicholas Soleyn

    “There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.” –Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training (3rd Ed.)”

    Article

  2. #2
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    This is a great article. Thanks for posting it.

  3. #3
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    Hardly news to anyone who's done a modicum of research into the low-bar squat but a good article to share with others anyway.

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    And just when I thought I had a basic understanding of why we squat the way we do...

    Lots of little epiphanies for me reading that piece. Thanks!

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    Default There is no such thing as a standardized model.....

    applicable to all anthropometries....so this article starts with an incorrect premise and like any argument that starts with an incorrect premise...it will reach faulty conclusions.

    There is actually no such thing as a "squat"...it doesnt exist , except as a philosophical and semantic archetype...a squat is always performed by someone ....and therein lies the rub...there is a "John performing the squat" and a "mary performing the squat", etc...this idea that there is some standardized functional movement applicable to all humans is false....you might as well try and get rhinoceruses to swim and alligators to fly....

    These human anthropometries will and do create totally different functional and actual movements...even when two people look like they are doing the same thing...they are not...this idea that the guy who squats 200 lbs. is stronger than the guy who squats 100 lbs..is likewise false....maybe, maybe not...a guy with a 20 inch femur and a 17 inch tibia...a 50 cc pelvic girdle, etc and every muscle and attachment a different size, strength, and thickness...not to mention specific injuries or dysfunctions in all the structures and the synergistic sum of all the above as it applies to leverage, torgue, power, force, moment, balance, etc...is vast...vast, I tell you....this trying to fit all people into a cookie cutter will destroy them...

    There is only one person who really can teach you how to squat..or bench..or whatever...you..through trial and error...only your body will make all the instinctive adjustments that takes into account all the anthropometrical nuances...if you are doing something wrong...you will learn...the hard way through pain...a good listening to your body which teach you everything you need to know...and that is why everybodys squat will look a little different....and why platz, and arnold amd dorian yates, and the russians, or whoever...will have built the greatest legs in the world..and all you ripheads will scream..." but thats not a squat!!!!!"

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    An important contribution to the thread. Thanks oh so much.

  7. #7
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    There is no such thing as a squat, because everyone squats a little bit differently?
    . . . deep. . . very deep . . .

    However, you are a little too concerned with comparing John to Mary, instead of John to John or Mary to Mary. Because John and Mary don't care how the squat affects one another, they just want to get strong. Fortunately for them, someone at some time overcame your philosophical conundrum and realized that all "normal" human beings have certain uniform characteristics, namely a musculoskeletal system with a pretty standard layout, and environment (so far pretty much everyone is lifting on Earth).

    From there we can divine that if John places the bar relatively lower on his back and squats down his body will react to the load, and adapt to it, differently than if he carries the bar higher (up on his traps) or in front of him. Similar differences will occur with Mary, if she chooses to low-bar, high-bar, or front squat as well. And, if they each carry the bar on the same place on their bodies, keep it over their midfoot, and squat down to just below parallel, there will be certain anatomical characteristics that are the same for each of them, even though they may look a little different. Because of these similarities, we can indeed come up with a generalized model and call it a squat. It's really not much of a stretch.

    There is only one person who really can teach you how to squat..or bench..or whatever...you..through trial and error...
    Coached lifters will have much less trial and error. The lone lifter has to take whatever information he or she knows about squatting (usually visual input from text, pictures, and video), interpret that according to the proprioceptive input one deals with under the bar, and develop a kinesthetic sense of the movement. A coach who understands the model for the exercise and how it applies to the individual lifter adds another perspective to the lifter's efforts through which to analyze visually and adjust the lifer's movements. This allows the lifter to make bodily adjustments under the bar, with feedback, learning what correct (or incorrect) feels like.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainstream View Post
    There is no such thing as a standardized model applicable to all anthropometries....so this article starts with an incorrect premise and like any argument that starts with an incorrect premise...it will reach faulty conclusions.

    There is actually no such thing as a "squat"...it doesnt exist , except as a philosophical and semantic archetype.
    Maybe I can take a shot at this one. Perhaps you're right about the existence of a "squat" not existing independently of a person performing it. Luckily, while human anthropometries vary to a certain degree, in nearly all relevant cases, the people performing these squats will have knees, pelvises, femurs, ankles, backs, all in generally the right place. I don't need to address your strawman argument that defining a standard set of rules for people to follow would be like teaching alligators to fly, because the argument present here applies to the 99% non-genetic-outliers who can obey the important defining criteria for a "correctly performed full squat." (i.e. you need to be able to sit down on the john)

    Yes, there will be differences in back angle relative to femur length, for example, but these observations do not alter the mechanics of the moment arms acting on the hips, knees, and ankles. Perhaps individual differences may mean different relative contributions from specific muscles used in hip extension, but this is irrelevant to the argument in the article. Through, analysis, we can know, for example, that your lats do not contribute to hip extension, by virtue of human anthropometry. By defining the rules for where the knees and hips must travel in the descent, and observing the necessary effects of gravity and how balance works, we can thus make informed analyses about the mechanics of loaded human movement in the now well-defined squat.

    I disagree with your conclusion that trying to fit different sized people into a cookie cutter will destroy them. On the contrary, defining the standard set of rules for a full squat with respect to physics and human anatomy increases efficiency, and thus safety and productivity in the weight room.

    You also make an interesting observation about learning through pain, though I have a different opinion. Doing heavy squats following the model, with their large area of contributing muscle mass, is very effective at targeting individual weaknesses and demanding that the individual body adapts to these weaknesses. I don't think it means you were necessarily doing something wrong in the squat, but your body needs to shore up a latent weakness. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

    Your comment about Arnold, Yates, and Platz building some of the "greatest" legs in the world with squats not obeying the model...are we using muscle tone and banana boat tanning oil as evaluative criteria for the efficacy of our squats? Again, if our concern is about efficiency, and if one can develop strength in a greater area of muscle mass over a longer range of motion using a different model, I will select that model which better matches my needs.

  9. #9
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    Listen..a chimpanzee..a dog ..a badger...hell even a mole has a femur , a tibia, a hip socket and any other skeletal bone that a human does...the basic mammallian skeletal structure...are you telling me that therefore they will squat the same way as kareem abdul jabbar....thats absurd....different anthropometries create different FUNCTIONAL movement patterns...the range will be smaller in the same specie of course but the differences will still be, well, different...one size does not fit all...every different bone size will mean a whole different size and strength for all the muscles attaching to that bone....yes, there are similiarities between humans ...most of us are capable of doing some type of squat...or press or whatever...but the EXACT form of that exercise will be diffrent for each person as it should be....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainstream View Post
    yes, there are similiarities between humans ...most of us are capable of doing some type of squat...or press or whatever...but the EXACT form of that exercise will be diffrent for each person as it should be....
    Another...insightful...contribution...to...the...d iscussion.

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