Squats as Driving Force for Program Squats as Driving Force for Program

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Thread: Squats as Driving Force for Program

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Default Squats as Driving Force for Program

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    Got a question regarding squat form. I've been training for about a year now, but I must admit, I didn't get the form down until recently (thanks to buying Starting Strength, which I highly recommend to anyone).

    I kept stalling on the squats before because I was pausing too long at the bottom, using bad leverage, and all sorts of other things, I realize now. My squat is now going up.

    I was stalling on some other exercises like bench and standing press, but now seem to be doing better. I think my form was relatively good on these, though.

    The consensus seems to be that squats contribute the most to overall strength. But has anyone ever quantified this? If someone doesn't do squats or does them badly and suddenly puts them in, is it common for all the lifts to shoot up over the next while?

    Or to pose the question another way, if someone who didn't squat (leg press only, let's say) was stuck on bench, would starting to squat (properly) break them out of the plateau?

    I know everyone is different, but I've heard that squats are what drive the overall gains from many, many people. I've just never seen it quantified in some way.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    North Texas


    Good question. The answer is no, it's never been quantified, and likely won't be anytime soon due to the profound lack of rigour in the exercise sciences. The people doing the studies do not understand the necessity of quantifying the technique they are using for the study.

    Here, from the new book Strong Enough? due out next month:

    "Which brings up another good point: the academic exercise community cannot seem to understand that poorly designed studies, such as the one above, are not helpful, and in fact add to the general level of SB that gets accepted as Truth. They cannot even see that the studies are poorly designed. The study cited above, for example, was supposed to measure the effects of ?squats? on vertical jump performance when done in immediate proximity to the test. The squats they tested were ?half squats? and ?quarter squats.? First, I have no problem with using partial squats in a testing protocol if that?s what these guys want to do, but they don?t even quantify the movements; they just say that they are ?demonstrated in Figures 1 and 2, respectively.? Figure 1 shows a kid with his knees and hips at somewhere between 95 and 105 degrees, and Figure 2 shows the kid with his knees and hips just barely unlocked; no depth markers, no angles measured, no anything measured, just pictures. This, my friends, is not science. It is guesswork. It might be useful for other scientists to able to reproduce this experiment in case the findings turned out to be unusual, controversial, or otherwise important (they didn?t), but without actual standards for the tests used, this would be impossible (even if they did). And secondly and most incredibly, they actually tested a half squat and quarter squat one-rep max! I am overwhelmed by the silliness of such a thing. Anybody who has ever trained with weights, who has ever done squats, and who has ever had any personal experience with heavy weights on their back whatsoever knows that you can quarter-squat just about whatever you can load on the bar, because a quarter squat is whatever you want it to be. Five degrees of angle might be worth another 50 pounds, so it matters how deep your quarter squats and half squats are done. It therefore really doesn?t matter what the conclusion of the study was; it is SB by definition."

    If we can't get them to use correct technique in a squat study, or even understand that it's important to tell us what technique they did use, or that one technique is correct and another is not, then we're a long way from the kind of study you want to see.


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