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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 4:26 pm 
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JasonJones wrote:
[You either provide evidence to back up those claims, or they get rightly dismissed.
I'm not sure where the burden of proof lies in this case. It's hard to judge which of the two claims "heavy squats will cause harm if done for many years" and "heavy squats will not cause harm even if done for many years" is the one that needs more experimental support. I agree that usually the burden of proof is on the existence claim, otherwise all kinds of wild speculations (like the famous one by Russel about a china teapot orbiting the sun between Earth and Mars) cannot easily be disposed of, but that's not necessarily true when the hypothesis and the antithesis have the same order of magnitude of a-priory probability of being correct. Being both a layman and a newbie to resistance training I guess it's a little presumptuous on my part, but actually Mr. DeSimone claim seems to be the more reasonable of the two to me, which suggests the opposite claim is the one that needs evidence, or at least the claim is worthy of consideration and discussion, taking into consideration the best evidence we do have. In this respect, Mr. DeSimone years of experience are not just "argument from authority" which is a known logical fallacy, but rather a claim about evidence, albeit not statistically verified. But of course, "it seems to me" is not a strong argument.

Anyway, since Mr. DeSimone is posting here maybe it's best I'll let him do the talking.


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 4:49 pm 
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This is off topic, I'm just using this opportunity to get Mr. Desimone attention. Moderators, please feel free to remove.

The question is this: I saw your video on chin-ups, and - like almost everyone else - you teach to do it starting with hands completely straight and finishing with the chin over the bar. This seems to be in disagreement with your general approach about full range of motion, doesn't it? The usual wisdom says the set is over when you can't get your chin high enough, but it seems to me you should support doing some more chinups with a shorter range around the strongest muscles point (more or less when the hands are bent at 90 degrees). Right?


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:21 pm 
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josh60 wrote:
I'm not sure where the burden of proof lies in this case. It's hard to judge which of the two claims "heavy squats will cause harm if done for many years" and "heavy squats will not cause harm even if done for many years"



I'm not too sure either side is transparent enough to narrow both points down this far, yet.

Earlier, I attempted to highlight the difference between "damage" and "pain". Or atleast, emphasise that there IS a difference between the two. Unless I missed it, that point has either been overlooked or, brushed off with, "you will realise i'm right when you're older".

I can't really define my own point without knowing what "harm" is actually defined as.

Lets say pain/injury are what "harm" is and get back to the squats. If you squat heavy for years you will cause harm and therefore injury if you keep doing it long enough. First of all that doesn't hold water with me since we know, with some statistal evidence, that 80% of the general population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. So, if I squat heavy I will get back pain. If I don't squat heavy, I will also get back pain. The claim may be that there is MORE risk of pain if you squat heavy. In my mind, this is quite a significant assertion with no evidence.

Who would you test and how would it be quantified? I have actually agreed that most untrained people shouldn't do heavy back squats, plus loads of trained people. Not for the same reason, though. I don't think most have the movement integrity to pull off a well executed back squat, and this must be developed first, if it can be developed at all, and even then, it still has to be justified within the goals of the client (as does the leg press, which i've still not heard a good reason to justify doing, other than hypertrophy). I think this is also a point refuted by the prediction of future realisation - i'll learn this when i'm older, too.

Also, surely, if this was the case, you wouldn't get lifters with back pain who then get rid of that and either resume, continue, or start back squatting. If back squats were the mechanism, then should this even be possible?

Really, if harm is being defined as injury or pain, then my response is -"It depends, and there is no real reason to think that", I've not seen one in this thread and didn't see it in the video, either. It seems more like a guess, based on analogy.

Now lets say harm is defined as "damage" (wear and tear). So, doing heavy back squats will accelerate damage to the spine. This is an interesting and surely immeasurable claim. Now, all other things that can cause damage/wear and tear to the spine held constant i.e. you have intendical twins who lead the exact same life, same activities, jobs, etc. One heavy back squats but the other doesn't. Then, yes, absoloutley, the one who squats will inflict more damage. This is basic maths, not even biomechanics or physics. One twin's spine does more stressful things than the other twins spine.

My response here, if this is the case - So? To expand, I need to go back to the point concerning the difference between damage and pain. It seems, and with some evidence to support, that damage does NOT = pain. I linked an example, too. They're not the same thing.

My diplomatic response is, "i think we're missing the forest for the trees". I'm saying that for someone with a good base of movement, with the right goals, a good training program, squatting with propper technique, has no reason to fear that this will lead to a back injury.

It gets even more confusing, since I still don't have a definition for, "what is heavy"? Are we talking about training for a powerlifitng comp, or just general strength? I did ask this before, but I did type A LOT. There is significant less risk when you are not squatting for competition.

Movement, as far as I can tell, isn't even being considered, yet when discussing pain or injury, particularly in the context of mechanisms for pain, surely it should be of great significance. For the layman, in this case, think of someone who butchers a body weight squat yet decides to load up heavy on back squats. Well of course he's more at risk - he's practically begging for pain. In my limited experience training people so far, most untrained people fall into this category. If you make these people back squat, then you will inevitably come to the conclusion that there's less risk involved in leg pressing and I can see where you're coming from.

I guess my argument is that it's a very vague and unsupported claim to make.

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:44 pm 
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BillDeSimone wrote:
KPj, at 27, you've been training yourself 7 years and other people 2? I'm in my mid-fifties, have been training myself about 40 years, and started as a trainer in 1983. The need for caution becomes more obvious the longer you do this, and the more people you train.


The main reason I have put as much time into this discussion is out of respect for the amount of experience you have, and that clearly you are passionate about what you do and helping others. I'm also a sucker for biomechanics, which is probably solely the reason I watched the whole video. I also felt I should "repent" the "nuts" comment I made at first, which was made before I looked in to your back ground more.

With that being said, I'll emphasise that i'm just disagreeing and definitely not disliking. I'm still defining myself as a trainer, still refining my philosophy on training and helping people, and I am enjoying the opportunity to question myself or have my views challenged.

I also make a point of following other trainers and "experts", and from various different fields with decades of experience, too.

BillDeSimone wrote:
The difference between us old experienced types, is we no longer play the "risk/reward" game. There are no magic rewards, so extra risk is just that.


I can't help but take from this statement that you may only hold yourself responsible for injuries clients suffer during actual training sessions with you? I say this because in my mind, as long as you are alive, there is a "risk". I agree first port of call is to minimise this risk but, ideally, I believe a good training program, by addressing movement quality whilst allowing current movement quality to dictate training options (to squat or not to squat?), will actually reduce a clients risk of injury. I believe, even in my short time doing this, that I have a achieved this with a lot of clients. These would include clients who ("even" older than you) have came to me with a history of decades of back pain and are now pain free. Not just pain free but strong. They can help clear out their elderly mothers house or play around with grand kids on a more active level. They can enjoy doing the garden without putting a back out..... I believe that "even" for the more wise, general population, there is a huge potential for "reward" outside of losing a little fat.

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 8:59 pm 
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JasonJones wrote:
BillDeSimone wrote:
Then that's just seeing what you want.


Hardly. It's the basis of the scientific method, the framework by which we are able to evaluate hypothesizes, assertions and professional practices, especially within the field of human health. It's also a necessary litmus test to separate snake-oil salesmen from individuals who have dedicated their professional lives and years of education to the pursuit of knowledge in human health, longevity and biological function. You don't get to short circuit those requirements based on "experience," "age," or testimony from apocryphal lifters who got hurt and "don't post on boards." You either provide evidence to back up those claims, or they get rightly dismissed.


Congratulations. You get an A in internet Arguing. I would take your criticism a bit more seriously if you had say, read the book or watched the videos. But since you are just dropping in the snark, I'm not interested in continuing this aspect of the conversation. You win.


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 9:06 pm 
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josh60 wrote:
This is off topic, I'm just using this opportunity to get Mr. Desimone attention. Moderators, please feel free to remove.

The question is this: I saw your video on chin-ups, and - like almost everyone else - you teach to do it starting with hands completely straight and finishing with the chin over the bar. This seems to be in disagreement with your general approach about full range of motion, doesn't it? The usual wisdom says the set is over when you can't get your chin high enough, but it seems to me you should support doing some more chinups with a shorter range around the strongest muscles point (more or less when the hands are bent at 90 degrees). Right?


Elbows straight, if I read you correctly. "shorter range around the strongest point..." would be when the shoulders are at 90 degrees, if we're chinning for the lats. I don't disagree with your suggestion about continuing as long as you can reach through the strong range, for someone so motivated.
As far as "full range", I'd consider an excessive range to be elbows straight, shoulders up by the ears, to trying to touch the chest to the bar. So the range in the video, with the shoulders depressed to just clearing the chin, is much less than that.
Personally, I'm not so motivated to train through that much burn, plus at that point, maintaining the shoulder posture becomes an issue. But to theoretically pursue the model, you're right.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 10:21 pm 
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BillDeSimone wrote:
JasonJones wrote:
BillDeSimone wrote:
Then that's just seeing what you want.


Hardly. It's the basis of the scientific method, the framework by which we are able to evaluate hypothesizes, assertions and professional practices, especially within the field of human health. It's also a necessary litmus test to separate snake-oil salesmen from individuals who have dedicated their professional lives and years of education to the pursuit of knowledge in human health, longevity and biological function. You don't get to short circuit those requirements based on "experience," "age," or testimony from apocryphal lifters who got hurt and "don't post on boards." You either provide evidence to back up those claims, or they get rightly dismissed.


Congratulations. You get an A in internet Arguing. I would take your criticism a bit more seriously if you had say, read the book or watched the videos. But since you are just dropping in the snark, I'm not interested in continuing this aspect of the conversation. You win.

Bill, JJ is being hard on you, but he's being fair. He's pressing for what I would wish to see--empiric evidence connecting a putative cause with a verifiable effect. This is indeed what the scientific method requires.

I'm also going to appeal to my experience, in a slightly different way. I'm older than you, but younger in terms of training. However, in the medical world I have lived through many surprises. What seemed logical didn't pan out in real experience, once people started empirically trying to verify outcomes. Often things don't turn out to be the way it looks like they should, based on the physiology involved.

KPj's disagreement with you is very much tempered with conditions, his emphasis on movement quality (which hasn't really been picked up in other people's comments), progression, justification in relation to goals, and over-all preparation.

I'm not going to dismiss your ideas at all. I want to know more about them. I'll get your book when I get the chance (it would be great to have it in an e-book version).

If you are aware of any studies of outcomes in squatting or deadlifting, please let us know.

KPj wrote:
...Now lets say harm is defined as "damage" (wear and tear). So, doing heavy back squats will accelerate damage to the spine. This is an interesting and surely immeasurable claim. Now, all other things that can cause damage/wear and tear to the spine held constant i.e. you have intendical twins who lead the exact same life, same activities, jobs, etc. One heavy back squats but the other doesn't. Then, yes, absoloutley, the one who squats will inflict more damage. This is basic maths, not even biomechanics or physics. One twin's spine does more stressful things than the other twins spine.


Actually, it wouldn't be impossible to measure, and it wouldn't require twin studies. The subjects of study and control groups are never identical--that's why you have to study groups and not just 2 individuals. The differences average out over the two groups, and the larger the groups are, the stronger is the study. You select groups of roughly similar ages and body types, some who squat under controlled conditions and some who do not. Both groups would contain a mix of occupations and life-styles. You could consider both the subjective experience of the members of the groups (i.e. pain) and do objective studies (i.e. MRI scans). Over time you would repeat the assessments to see if there is a different rate of change between the groups. Obviously, members of both groups would have some pain. Some in each group would have some bulging and herniation of discs. You'd look to see if there was a difference in the rate at which each group developed new pain and/or new MRI changes. In analyzing data like this, researchers calculate something called the "p" value. That is the statistical odds that differences between the groups being studied could occur by chance alone. Usually, if this is less than 1%, the difference is considered real. The reason that there may not be a study like this is funding. Does anyone who has the money to pay for the study care enough about it to pay?

So, Bill, are you aware of any studies about this, even small ones? That's what JJ is asking for, and what I'd be most interested in seeing.

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 10:44 pm 
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Sorry, Jungledoc, I'm a trainer, not a researcher. Moment Arm Exercise and Congruent Exercise, which the videos are based on, have bibliographies and references, but I'm sure the others on this board are far better qualified than me to assess studies. I've seen enough dueling studies and circular internet arguments to get drawn into that.

I'm curious, when you and others here started training, did you subject your training methodology to the same rigorous standards?


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 2:29 am 
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Well, none of us are researchers, for that matter. But a lot of us try to find out what we can about what is known empirically and try to sort the good studies out from the junk science that is out there. There are dueling studies in every field, but that doesn't mean that all of the studies are useless.

I can't speak for the others (though I know many of their training histories), but no, I didn't look for studies, I just tried stuff, read about stuff, tried things differently, read some more. At times I searched for research on some topics, and sometimes I just did what seemed to be prevailing wisdom. Often I just did what KPj, Peter, the Other Kenny, or a guy named TimD suggested. Most of the time it worked out. But when someone gives me unexpected ideas (as you have) that seem to be different from what I've been told before, and it doesn't seem completely unreasonable (again, your ideas) I want to know more. Obviously, if I were to go by a survey of internet gurus, you'd lose. If you could at least point me to 2 or 3 of the references from your books that you think might apply, I could probably access some of them. If I were to see a study, even a small one, that shows that squatting and deadlifting increases the rate of significant injury in the long run, it would push me closer to your way of thinking.

Again, thank you for being here, and having this discussion. I know it may feel like you are being ganged up on, but I'll bet you can handle it.

Tomorrow is my squat day, and I'm probably not going to make up my mind by then.

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 4:32 am 
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My disagreement is tempered with conditions - nice way of putting it. In some cases i'm going to agree with you and in other cases I'm not. I just have too many unanswered questions. That's just me, though. My view can be summarised with, "it depends".

BillDeSimone wrote:
I'm curious, when you and others here started training, did you subject your training methodology to the same rigorous standards?


No, not at all. And if someone else subjected my own training to the same standards that I do now, I wouldn't of listened anyway. Back then I knew "everything".

Now I feel like the more I learn the more I realise I don't know much at all. I can only keep trying and keep exprimenting, though.

I'm actually not as strict about sciencitifc evidence as others are here. If something "just makes sense" to me, that's enough to give it a shot. I always quote nick tumminello saying, "if it doesn't make scientific sense, and it doesn't make common sense, it's nonsense". I think this is a great way of putting it. If something makes sense but has no science, then it's possible science just hasn't figured out a way to measure it or, never had anyone interested enough to care (as Jungledoc pointed out to me in previous post). Likewise, if something has plenty of science behind it and I don't see the logic, I assume I just have a poor understanding of it and would either learn more or try it. To go a step further if someone I really respect with far more experience than me says something that has no science behind it and i can't see the logic then I also assume I don't know enough to understand and will either learn more or try it (or both).

I generally don't ask for or even cite sciencific studies, although I do try and get better at interpreting science in my free time. I try and avoid the "study wars" you often see on the net.

This is about as nasty as this forum gets. There are a few meatheads-in-disguise here (I am one of them, but I mostly hide that from clients) but for the most part, it's not your typical meat head haven that a lot of training forums are, which is one of a few reasons I have consistently posted here.

New clients often voice their frustration to me about all the conflicting advice they hear about training. I always reply with, "that's what makes it so interesting!". If we all agreed on everything, we would have some pretty boring conversations.

Anyway, thanks for letting me brainstorm with you - btw in one of your videos you have an arnie doll and do an impression of him at the end. That caught me off guard and I nearly spat out my coffee. I often coach my training partners in my somewhat feeble attempt at an arnie impression so we seem to be on the same page with humour, at least :salute: .

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 6:06 am 
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BillDeSimone wrote:
Congratulations. You get an A in internet Arguing. I would take your criticism a bit more seriously if you had say, read the book or watched the videos. But since you are just dropping in the snark, I'm not interested in continuing this aspect of the conversation. You win.


My criticism should be taken seriously because I am asking you hard -- but as JungleDoc mentioned, fair -- questions that can further the discussion in one of two directions. One, you could provide significant evidence for your claims and prove yourself correct (and me completely incorrect). Two, you could slightly temper your statements or add some caveats to them so that they can be supported by the available evidence.

I assure you I am not being snarky, and I'm the best critic you could possibly ask for, because all I'm really asking is for you to do is "prove it." As I stated before I am holding you only to the same standard I would hold myself -- the fact that I was unaware that you had written a book should in itself be proof of my impartiality.

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 6:22 am 
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"Obviously, if I were to go by a survey of internet gurus, you'd lose."
Absolutely correct. By a survey of personal trainers, magazine writers, bloggers, forum posters, bodybuilders, you name it.

Their approach goes like this: Everything is valid for someone somewhere. If you get hurt doing it, you are misguided for not properly preparing/screening, and there is something wrong with you physically for why it happened.

My approach goes: Some things, even though part of the conventional training wisdom, contradict basic biomechanics. If you don't get hurt doing them, you are exceptional, or it hasn't caught up to you yet, because it is cumulative. It's an easy enough fix, although it does challenge the status quo.

Few things are more obvious to me than the association of back pain with barbell squatting, deadlifting, rowing. If that's not part of your experience, then obviously my material wouldn't be helpful to you.

Studies? Every book on exercise, from textbooks to the most commercial TV reality pop trainers to the infomercials, buries you with studies. My main three references are Brunnstrom's Clinical Kinesiology, Vogel's Prime Mover: A Natural History of Muscle, and the Concise Book of Muscles, through which I ran the last 40 years of certifications, magazines, books, and weight room experience through.

I'm not trying to take over the exercise world. I'm writing to the one who is frustrated, and gets no help from all those sources putting out the conventional or overcomplicated material.

Part of what is frustrating about the forum interaction is everyone is a critic. Satisfy one, and another pops up. And so on. I've already put the work and the arguments out there. The first chapter of Congruent Exercise is titled Avoiding Barbell Catastrophe and discusses the spine and barbell squats. If it's too anecdotal, or vague, or rightly dismissed, it's not for you.

The conventional way to approach this material is to do your thing. Then, if/when the inevitable occurs (back pain, injury, etc.), then go back to the original sources, just to make sure you followed exactly what they said. Then blame yourself, get treatment, and either go back to what you did or drop it. I have plenty of associates who blew out discs O lifting or tore rotator cuffs, etc. and insisted on going back. It's their thing and they're OK with the consequences, apparently.

I myself ruptured my own biceps and triceps. Did all the above, but something didn't sit right. So I threw the exercise stuff out, went to anatomy and biomechanics, and started over. That's where my stuff is coming from.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 6:27 am 
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josh60 wrote:
"heavy squats will not cause harm even if done for many years"


Well the thing is, I wouldn't agree with that statement either. And I certainly wouldn't make it, or one like it. If someone were to ask me "Mr. Jones, what effect will years of heavy squats have on my spine?" I would have to say "I don't know," and probably turn my hands out with a little shrug. The only honest answer, in my estimation, is that we don't know yet, and that we probably never will. As such, there are certain assumed risks that we are taking when we choose to squat, or not to squat. To make a claim otherwise is, in my mind, in the interest of selling an ideology or a product (and no, I do not mean to single you out here, Mr. DeSimmone).

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm actually a proponent of the leg press and the squat (loaded and unloaded). Both play an essential role in my approach to training.

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 6:34 am 
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JasonJones wrote:
BillDeSimone wrote:
Congratulations. You get an A in internet Arguing. I would take your criticism a bit more seriously if you had say, read the book or watched the videos. But since you are just dropping in the snark, I'm not interested in continuing this aspect of the conversation. You win.


My criticism should be taken seriously because I am asking you hard -- but as JungleDoc mentioned, fair -- questions that can further the discussion in one of two directions. One, you could provide significant evidence for your claims and prove yourself correct (and me completely incorrect). Two, you could slightly temper your statements or add some caveats to them so that they can be supported by the available evidence.

I assure you I am not being snarky, and I'm the best critic you could possibly ask for, because all I'm really asking is for you to do is "prove it." As I stated before I am holding you only to the same standard I would hold myself -- the fact that I was unaware that you had written a book should in itself be proof of my impartiality.


thanks for the opportunity, but I have "proved it"; maybe not to your satisfaction. I've already put the work out there. the videos are based on the material in Moment Arm Exercise and Congruent Exercise, both of which have bibliographies and references and address your two directions.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 6:43 am 
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JasonJones wrote:
josh60 wrote:
"heavy squats will not cause harm even if done for many years"


Well the thing is, I wouldn't agree with that statement either. And I certainly wouldn't make it, or one like it. If someone were to ask me "Mr. Jones, what effect will years of heavy squats have on my spine?" I would have to say "I don't know," and probably turn my hands out with a little shrug. The only honest answer, in my estimation, is that we don't know yet, and that we probably never will. As such, there are certain assumed risks that we are taking when we choose to squat, or not to squat. To make a claim otherwise is, in my mind, in the interest of selling an ideology or a product (and no, I do not mean to single you out here, Mr. DeSimmone).

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm actually a proponent of the leg press and the squat (loaded and unloaded). Both play an essential role in my approach to training.


Mr. Jones...seriously? You don't know what effect years of heavy squats would have on your spine? And claiming otherwise has an ulterior motive?
"Lift with your legs, not your back"...not because it keeps your back safe, but because I'm trying to sell you something.
"We don't know yet and probably never will"...ah, ok. Now I'm really not looking for studies.


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