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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 11:30 am 
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KPj wrote:
... I see this on the leg press, too, but i'm assuming that doesn't count?...


This is a good point. I'm seen a lot of bad form on leg press and a lot of poorly designed machines. In his video Bill mentioned more than once the importance of a properly designed machine. It's also interesting that he recommended single leg presses. I hardly ever go heavy with two legged presses but when I want to really work my legs, it's the single legged press that I go to, simply because it creates less stress on my back.

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 12:21 pm 
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stuward wrote:
KPj wrote:
... I see this on the leg press, too, but i'm assuming that doesn't count?...


This is a good point. I'm seen a lot of bad form on leg press and a lot of poorly designed machines. In his video Bill mentioned more than once the importance of a properly designed machine. It's also interesting that he recommended single leg presses. I hardly ever go heavy with two legged presses but when I want to really work my legs, it's the single legged press that I go to, simply because it creates less stress on my back.


Stu, where did I say that? If I did, I have to correct that, or at least elaborate.
Single leg as in a split squat with both feet on the floor, but single leg on a leg press machine could be a mess if the unloaded leg is dangling. All the stabilization in the hip would be one sided, and it might shift the pelvis and in turn the spine in the wrong way.
When I tried single leg presses, I realized you have to use much less than half the weight, and figure some way of stabilizing both sides.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 12:24 pm 
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BillDeSimone wrote:
stuward wrote:
KPj wrote:
... I see this on the leg press, too, but i'm assuming that doesn't count?...


This is a good point. I'm seen a lot of bad form on leg press and a lot of poorly designed machines. In his video Bill mentioned more than once the importance of a properly designed machine. It's also interesting that he recommended single leg presses. I hardly ever go heavy with two legged presses but when I want to really work my legs, it's the single legged press that I go to, simply because it creates less stress on my back.


Stu, where did I say that? If I did, I have to correct that, or at least elaborate.
Single leg as in a split squat with both feet on the floor, but single leg on a leg press machine could be a mess if the unloaded leg is dangling. All the stabilization in the hip would be one sided, and it might shift the pelvis and in turn the spine in the wrong way.
When I tried single leg presses, I realized you have to use much less than half the weight, and figure some way of stabilizing both sides.


Sorry, I may have misheard it. I'll have to watch it again. At any rate, my non-working leg is always firmly planted.

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 12:50 pm 
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KPj wrote:
Khronos8 - it depends how you are training and why you are doing it.

I've gave my thoughts on "damage" vs "pain". It's not as clear cut as "i have a disc bulge, therefore I have back pain". Again, what puts us in pain? Is it structural damage, or is it something else? Crappy movement, perhaps? Movement dysfunction almost always precedes pain.

So, what are you training for, anyway?



And this is why I came here. I keep a journal here detailing how I train, I thought I pretty much answered why I train. I know I have a movement dysfunction (and afraid I may have more). I don't have pain, but recognize that this indicates nothing about damage.

I have a very simple reason for not abandoning the barbell, be it for deadlifts, squats, presses, what have you. And that is that I enjoy using it. I obtain enjoyment and satisfaction out of moving large amounts of weight with a barbell (and dumbells/kettlebells). I have kept with my training because I enjoy it and it has accomplished the goals I have for it (allow me to live life to the fullest). I know that if I went to machines exclusively I might last a couple of months... but without the physical, visceral pull of feeling like I'm moving something real... I know I'll wander off.

I hate running, if I wrote up a program with all kinds of running I know I couldn't stick with it. No matter how healthy it made me. But I love barbell complexes. So even if they aren't as good as some other modality, I'll use them, because I'll actually use them. The goal I'm chasing is: generate the most beneficial training regimen possible, that I will actually employ, minimizing long term health compromises. Bill's recommendations wont work for me (right now at least) because it's not something I could stick with long term. That may change as I accumulate enough injuries, damage, and dysfunction that force me into something like it. But I'll try to program and train to avoid that as much as possible.

I know you want quantitation, but I don't think you'll ever get it for something like this. The system is just too complex. History, genetics, diet, sleep patterns, hell, even childhood nutrition may all play a part in the magintude of effect you're talking about! When you're talking about effects accumulated over a lifetime, you have to take the entire lifetime into account. And I don't think that's possible.

I am a research scientist. I LOVE evidence. While I don't work in biological systems I have some feeling for the complexity of the experiments you'd have to do to get the answers you want. I don't think they can be done with current science. So we have to go with squishy, unsatisfying, fuzzy answers. Some things we know well: short term training response. Easy to take a "before" and "after" snapshot. Mid term (years) training response is a little fuzzier, and long term (decades) is even worse.

I happen to subscribe to your model: overall body integration. That's what's important to me. If I can leg press 1000lbs but can't pick up a 25lb cardboard box from the floor... what's the point? Everything has to move together.

I'm just appreciating the discussion of identifying risk. Even if we can't quantify it, bring it sharply into focus, if we can make it even a little less fuzzy (and this discussion has done that, at least for me) then all the better.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 7:20 am 
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Khronos8, sorry, don't get as much as a chance to look at the logs.

BTW, we are on exactly the same page in terms of "why" we train, why we do what we do and, by looks of it, we are on a very similar page in terms of "how", too.

I've been thinking a lot about this discussion. I feel i've either been perceived, or inadvertently gave the impression that i'm one of these, "squat or die", guys. I'm really not but, I feel like that's what i'm defending. I've actually seen other reasons not to Back Squat, and found the logic difficult to argue with and, in that case, my response is, "fair enough" (see Mike Boyle). I also only have a few clients that actually do back squats.

I think i've got so caught up, not so much at the "no back squats" point but, the "no/hardly any free weights, and no FULL ROM, or hardly any" point that you quickly discover when you look into Bills material more.

I use free weights/resistance training, with a "movement" based approach, on ALL clients. My number one priority is health and NOT trying to get someone to back squat just because I like to back squat myself. I am very strict about pain, clients absolutely do not do any movement OR exercise (there is a difference) where pain is present. Also, if I have a client who is currently in pain, I refer out to someone qualified to deal with this.

My physio allows me to work closely with him because i take a movement based approach to training clients, and as stated before, this actually ties in with the direction physio/physical therapy is going, too (other than practitioners who are still stuck in the 80's). You can look at all sorts of different experts from slightly different fields to find mounting "evidence" and overwhelming anecdotal support for this - and most of these guys have been around as long, if not longer than Bill, too. Examples include Gray Cook (PT, S & C coach), Dr Stuart McGill (professor in spine biomechanics - been studying the lumbar spine since before I was born), Shirley Sahrmann (Dr in physical Therapy, pioneer in "movement impairment syndrome"), then you have the coaches who's training approach also falls right in line with the practices of the clinicians just mentioned - Cressey, Robertson, Boyle, Weingroff (also a Dr in PT). These are just some examples respected names from different fields with lots of experience who take a movement based approach. In other words, a persons capacity to move dictates what they should or should not do, and they all have their own ways of measuring risk, which are all incredibly similar, too.

I mention this not to name drop but because i'm on the back foot here because i'm not over 50 (i've not been given any other reason). I work hard to be extremely cautious with clients. Nothing I do or say is even new. I didn't come up with any of this, people far more experienced, qualified, and successful than me did, and I work hard to learn as much as I can from them.

So when it's implied that my methods are risky, it gets my back up a little.

I think it's two completely different perspectives. I hold our "functional" movement up as a bench mark or baseline to direct future training potential and options. I always refer to movement. I look at everything through a "movement" lens. However, if I put movement aside and tried to figure out how to best train people with minimum risk of causing any pain, then I can see why Bills approach makes sense.

Comments like, "a magic movement", or the comment about movement displaying compensation as a negative aspect of it hit home a little as it shows a lack of understanding of what I mean by "movement". So my position isn't clear and as such, it never will be until I clarify.

I like Bills perspective on Biomechanics and I don't think it's unreasonable to come to the conclusions that he has based on some sound logic IF you look at it that way.

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 8:26 am 
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Well it looks like I should have kept up with this the past couple days....

Evidence, burden of proof etc:

I think I mostly agree with Josh on this. When two positive claims are being made there is an evidence requirement and burden of proof for both. Only negative such as skepticism of a positive claim doesn't carry burden of proof. However an absolute degree of certainty a claim is untrue is always fallacious, and lower degrees of certainty will be required for skepticism of claims that have partial evidence, or some reason to think they might be true.

Whether I agree with Bill's experience being an the argument from authority logical fallacy or not depends on what is stated regarding that experience. If it is stated as proper empirical evidence, then that applies. However if the statement is just that we have observations, where we can draw a hypothesis, as well as undocumented and anecdotal evidencing giving some epistemological basis that the claims MIGHT be true, then it wouldn't apply.

Actually it would be a fallacy to dismiss such claims out of hand, without giving them any consideration. Denialism is not valid skepticism.

So with two opposing claims, both with some preliminary evidence, but no real empirical data, one can only conclude that either of these claims may be true, we can't have a great degree of certainty, there may be some situational factors that make one or the other true in such circumstances, both are at least valid hypotheses which should be considered, and that only forthcoming empirical data can prove either in full or in part.



I would also argue that Bill could take empirical evidence of other related things, and then use logic and reason to construct an argument to prove parts of his claim that way, or at least increase the probability that it is true.


I agree with Jason on the scientific method. However I would just caution against falling into denialism, or requiring the amount of empirical data required for a theory, for a mere hypothesis, or just making something worthy of consideration. One should only dismiss claims with no epistemological basis whatsoever, as well as adjust ones certainty in accordance with any preliminary evidence provided.


I would also echo what KPJ said about defining terms. These must be properly defined in order to make a valid argument.


As to application of rigorous standards of evidence being applied to training, when it exists, yes. However there is frequently a lack of conclusive evidence, and one must then weigh the likelihood of something being true, as well as learn from personal experience, which may be valid to yourself, but with a sample size of 1 and no documentation, is of less value to others. So we usually have to make due with lower standards of evidence and some trial and error, giving more weight to things that have worked for at least a small group of people trained by someone in the industry who has gotten results. So while we are weighing objective facts, our lack of knowledge requires and assumption, which will be, at least in part, subjective in nature. So it's an opinion in that regard, at least partially.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 1:33 pm 
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Jungledoc wrote:
Actually, it wouldn't be impossible to measure...

True, not impossible, but quite difficult. If you select your groups quasi-randomly (as you described the process), you will have guys like Kenny, Khronos and yourself in the group that avoids squats, and guys like me in the group that squats, and you need to keep them doing it for years - that's assuming the effects will be statistically valid only after years of micro-damages to the spine. I would guess you'll have an enormous dropout rate (which is high anyway for newbies starting resistance training, even when allowed to do the exercises they prefer, and of course you need rookies to eliminate possible previous damage), which means that you'll have to start with huge numbers of trainees plus you're gonna have a nightmare of a time getting to those who dropped out and inquiring whether their retirement has to do with an injury. A large dropout is a serious problem for this kind of experiments not only because of the price and hustle in getting so many willing subjects to begin with, but because of the methodological problems it generates: assuming you start with, lets say, a hundred trainees in each group and end with ten after five years (and I think it's a very optimistic guess), you have to make sure there is nothing unique to those who persevered that might affect the general conclusions your trying to make. If you don't select randomly to the two groups you probably compromise your experiment right there, the critics would point out that a person likeness/avoidance of heavy squat has a lot to do with genetics, i.e. his lifelong experience with heavy weights... Good luck.
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Does anyone who has the money to pay for the study care enough about it to pay?
I guess a leg press machine producer might be interested if she really believes there is something to the theory.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 5:20 pm 
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I realise I'm a little late to this party... but

BillDeSimone wrote:
I see clients that are so locked up in certain joints, I could frustrate them by insisting we work on that, so we can do the magic exercise, or I can address it other ways.


this statement throws up a big red flag for me. If you are not addressing the dysfunction in a clients mobility, then what are you training them "for"? What I mean is, you say you work with older clients, so I understand the need to keep them exercise free, but if you are training for health, then is mobility not a large part of that? Khronos made a good point about being able to deadlift 600lbs now, but not pick up a 25lb box when he's older, and it seems to me that not addressing the movement sets your client up for exactly that situation. Sure they'll be strong on a leg press, but what use is that?

As for the not loading the spine thing, we all know that the spine can handle massive compressive forces. It's the shear forces that mess with it, so if you are squatting then do so with good technique. If you squat with proper posture the shear forces on your spine will be just fine. If you can't squat because of poor mobility, then I would think it is the job of the trainer to address those issues. I don't need a trainer to help me with my leg press...

anyway that's my take on it. Interesting discussion though. It's good to hear an author deal with critiques, I wish it happened more often on the forum.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 9:29 pm 
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"It's good to hear an author deal with critiques, I wish it happened more often on the forum."

A glance at the last six pages probably explains why it doesn't.

Yes, the point is mobility. Omitting the barbell dead lift and squat prevents them from doing further damage or risking further damage. Getting stronger on the leg press strengthens their glutes and quads without risking their back. With stronger glutes and quads, they get out of chairs, climb steps, etc. better.

"If you squat with proper posture..." Exactly.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 9:52 pm 
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"I think i've got so caught up, not so much at the "no back squats" point but, the "no/hardly any free weights, and no FULL ROM, or hardly any" point that you quickly discover when you look into Bills material more."

And this is why "authors" don't go on forums. "no/hardly any free weights, and no FULL ROM or hardly any", which I realize is short hand, barely describes the material I put out. Ah, screw it, here, from Chapter 1, Congruent Exercise:

The Squat, the Leg Press, and Your Spine

The absolute first priority for anyone training with weights should be to avoid a catastrophic injury. That should be obvious, but consider the following:

• In 2002, Flex magazine reported on a competitive bodybuilder, performing a barbell squat with 675 pounds for a photo shoot. As he bent his knees, he lost control of the descent, landing on his knees, then falling backwards with the weight. His quadriceps and patellar ligaments were torn, resulting in multiple surgeries, months of rehab, and putting his ability to walk at risk.
• In 2003, Club Industry magazine reported on a lawsuit brought by a man using a Smith machine for squats. He wasn’t able to control the descent of the bar, the machine did not have bottom stops, and so his spine was crushed between the bar and the floor, leaving him quadriplegic.

These and other weight training incidents, which involve a range of trainees from guys working out at home and in commercial gyms to high level athletes, are always reported as tragic, freak accidents. And it is tragic that these people suffered life-altering injuries doing something that was supposed to be life-enhancing, and that clearly they weren’t intending on getting injured, so in that sense, these are accidents.
But what is especially tragic is that even though these are standard exercises, the injuries they could cause are predictable and preventable. An analysis of even the most fundamental biomechanics suggests that the “freak” occurrence is when you push these exercises hard and don’t get hurt.
The Barbell Squat is widely considered the “King Of Exercises”, used by bodybuilders, powerlifters, athletes, and general gym tough guys. Most of whom regard the leg press as a poor substitute, reserved for beginners, rehabilitation, and your generally-less-than-serious trainee.
Using the current buzzword, the Squat is considered more “Functional” than the Leg Press. So, the Squat must load the human body in a way that best matches the structures of the body, and the Leg Press doesn’t, right?
Not so fast.

The bones and muscles below the waist
Take a look at the human skeleton, starting with the pelvis.
The pelvis itself is a pretty solid block of few bones. It sits on top of the femurs, thick solid beams of bone. Below the femurs are the tibia and fibula, not as thick as the femurs, but still solid shafts, both of which with the foot form a tripod to support the standing body.
As far as muscles, we see big, superficial muscles connecting the pelvis to the femur and lower leg. On the back side, the gluteus maximus connects the pelvis to the femur (one big muscle). The hamstrings (3 muscles) connect pelvis and femur to the lower leg. On the front side, the quadriceps (four heads of muscle, merging into one attachment)) connect the pelvis and femur to the lower leg.
Below the waist, in short, we have big muscles and bones, with few attachments, pulling in few directions.
While there are numerous deeper muscles around the joints, their function is to stabilize the joints, so the bigger muscles can drive the limbs with force and over a greater range around the joint.

The bones and muscles above the waist
Starting at the pelvis and looking towards the head, we see three sections of vertebrae: 5 lumbar, 12 thoracic, and 7 cervical. The size and shape of each is related to their function. The lumbar are the biggest and strongest of the column with interlocking processes, preventing rotation. This stability is to support the weight of the entire upper body.
Next up is the thoracic. The lower vertabrae are about the same size as the lumbar, but each next, higher vertebrae gets smaller, as each supports less weight. Each thoracic is not as locked in to the next, as the lumbar are, which allows for rotation. We need more general mobility in the thoracic, compared to the lumbar, because this is also where the ribs attach, which have to accommodate breathing.
The top section of the spine, the cervical, has the smallest vertebrae with the least amount of interlock. These only have to support the weight of the head, and require the most mobility (as a unit) of the three regions.
Generally, the overall organization of the bones of the spine is a pyramid: stronger and thicker at the bottom, supporting less weight towards the top. Let’s look next at the muscles around the spine, moving from deepest to most superficial.
The deepest layer are the rotatores, each of which connect each vertebrae to the next adjacent, running almost horizontally. Visually, these are stacked from top to bottom, and each individual muscle is very short. Next are the multifidis, which connect each vertebrae diagonally to the next; also stacked top to bottom, and individually not as short as the rotatores. Each individual muscle in these sets of muscles only connects one vertabra to the next. The shortness of these muscles suggests that their function is not so much to twist the spine, as it is to hold the spine steady and prevent twisting of the spine.
The most superficial layers, the semispinalis and the erector spinae, are individually longer, and connect over more than the next vertebrae. Part of the semispinalis connects the head to different points in the thoracic; part of it connects the neck to different parts of the thoracic; and part of it connects the upper portion of the thoracic to the lower portion. Parts of the erector spinae connect the pelvis and thoracic to higher points on the thoracic and cervical spine. These sets of muscles, which can contract over a greater distance, seem more suited to moving the spine (although the functions probably don’t break up that neatly).

Compare the structure above the pelvis with that below.
The system below the pelvis provides for speed and power: big, superficial muscles pull on few, solid beams of bone, moving through large ranges of motion, in few directions. Above the pelvis, there’s no muscle match for the glutes or quads; and even if there were, the spine isn’t a beam like the femur. With the spine, many muscles only have to hold or move slightly, the next vertebrae. This system provides stability, with mobility, for the overall spine.
What does this suggest about putting a barbell across your shoulders?
With bodyweight alone, the muscles and joints of the spine are fully capable of holding the torso and head steady, while the bigger muscles (glutes, quads, and hams) move the legs and propel the upper body. In this example, the spine does function as a “column”. Manual laborers have known this for years: “Lift with your legs, not your back”, means “hold your spine steady, while you bend at your hips and knees”.
Put a barbell across your shoulders, however, and the situation changes. Now, instead of a decreasing load from pelvis to head, we have dramatically reversed the load: even just a bar at shoulder level is significantly greater than the weight of the head. Neither the muscles nor the vertebrae are structured to support this: the closer the vertebrae are to the head, the smaller they are; and that there is no single mass of muscle connecting the lower vertebrae to the head and neck. The same weight that is appropriate to challenge the glutes and quads, working through the largest, strongest bones and muscles in the body, also has to be supported by the dozens of smaller muscles around each individual vertabrae.
Practically, if you squat with a barbell, your back muscles will get stronger, up to a point. But the spine also has discs and nerves that are being loaded with the bar on your back, which doesn’t apply to the femur. As the glutes and quads get stronger and need more weight to challenge them, your back is taking on more strain in a variety of ways. The fact that you got through today’s squat workout, or a year’s worth, or a career’s worth, is irrelevant; just because you avoided an immediate, acute injury, doesn’t mean the cumulative strain is erased. “I’ve done this exercise for years and never had a problem”…yet.

Tips for a safer barbell squat
If your tool of choice is the barbell, whether by necessity or preference, the first thing you have to do is avoid the immediate injury. You may still be subject to overuse over time, and you may still get hurt with the precautions in place, but probably not with permanent, life-altering injuries.
1. Center the bar, and always use collars. Deep muscles make small adjustments for centering and balance. Extending the weight laterally makes excessive demands on them, that will probably never come up in any other context, and is too risky.
2. Use structural barriers to avoid being pinned by the barbell. Horizontal rails should be sturdy enough and set high enough to keep the bar off you. If you use a smith machine, the bottom stops must be set no lower than the sticking point; don’t rely on the hooks.
3. Ideally use 3 human spotters who are paying attention. One at each end of the barbell, to catch and lift it off you, and a center one to steer, either the barbell or you out of the way.
4. Stay tight at the end of the set. Even with locked knees, you can still make the weight “heavier” by accidentally creating new moment arms by slouching, which would risk straining the deep muscles and worse. Maintain your posture until the bar is placed in the supports.

Of course, the most direct way to avoid injury with a barbell is:
5. Don’t put a barbell over your spine, face, jaw, and throat. If you’re open to the idea, that is.

Tips for a safer leg press
1. Don’t go so deep you round the back. The curves in your spine are there for a reason. With normal curves, even though the overall spine is curved, the discs between vertebrae are flat. Bend or flatten a curve, and the disks get pinched on one side and bulge on the other. Over time, this can lead to problems.
2. Use a structural stop at the bottom. Either set the seat on a machine or stops on a plate loader so you have enough room at the bottom.
3. Don’t buckle the knees under the weight. This potentially allows the quads to rest, which means the joint is supporting the weight, not the muscles.
4. “Teacup in a saucer, not a shot glass”. With machines, try to hear the slightest “ping”, not a crash, at the weight stack between reps.
5. Support the lumbar curve. Ideally, use a seat back with the lumbar curves built in (eg. Nautilus Nitro Leg Press). The Nitro doesn’t have a seat height adjustment, so either fit your back into the curves leaving a couple inches between you and the seat, or use pads to raise up. For other leg presses, a lumbar pillow could be used.

For many people, even if the barbell was capable of delivering unique, phenomenal benefits, the risk simply isn’t worth it. There are other, effective ways of working the same muscles, and safer, more appropriate ways of using the spine than with the barbell squat. The barbell is a perfectly adequate tool, especially compared to what was available before it, but it’s not magic or super-science.
Gym lore and muscle media have created an aura around certain exercises and approaches that isn’t necessarily supported by basic biomechanics. Spines don’t change (at least not in a good way) based on your goal; they are always going to be safer with lighter weight towards the top, and at holding posture and preventing changes to posture, compared to lifting and supporting top heavy loads. Whether you are a bodybuilder, mixed martial artist, competitive athlete, or just staying in shape, it won’t help if your exercises are “functional” and your back is not.

Ok? See? I didn't say "the spine is a pyramid, don't squat with a barbell". The pyramid explains why you can stand with little muscular effort, because the structure provides the stability. When you move, bend over, whatever, the pyramid fails and the muscles have to provide the stability and maintain the curves to protect the discs. If you bend with extra weight, and the small muscles fail, you risk "loading the spine in flexion" and damaging the discs.

If you're going to squat with a barbell, this is in play. If you're confident you can manage this, then squat. If not, there are other options, both for training the legs and the muscles around the spine.
I leave it for your discussion. Enjoy.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 9:59 pm 
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BillDeSimone wrote:
Yes, the point is mobility. Omitting the barbell dead lift and squat prevents them from doing further damage or risking further damage. Getting stronger on the leg press strengthens their glutes and quads without risking their back. With stronger glutes and quads, they get out of chairs, climb steps, etc. better.

"If you squat with proper posture..." Exactly.

You say, "the point is mobility", but you still don't say anything about how you deal with mobility issues. Do you do any kind of a movement screen with your clients? Do you give them exercises that specifically address the abnormal movement patterns that are revealed by the screen? Do you tailor the overall exercise routine to accommodate and/or address the movement issues? Or do you just try to make your entire exercise armamentarium safe for everyone, movement disordered or not?

No one here is saying "barbell squats are safe for everyone". They ARE saying that they are dangerous for people who have disordered movement patterns. In that regard, I'd think you'd express enthusiastic agreement!

What is your take on the work of Gray Cook or Stuart McGill?

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 6:23 am 
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Bill, thanks for posting that info.

I think there's a few key things that mean we'll never be on the same page. However, I think I now understand how you got on to the page you're on, and it makes sense.

The key points are, and i'll try my best to keep it brief,

-You are more likely to suffer a "catastrophic" injury during a BB squat. I can't disagree here. Whilst i'm sure many have happened via people being an idiot on the leg press, too, I've got to agree that it's more likely on the squat. It's a movement that, to do correctly, requires A LOT of skill. BTW I dislike the Smith machines squat even more so than the leg press - although I see the value in the leg press for quad hypertrophy.

-I would dispute the theory that getting stronger legs via the leg press will help with everyday tasks, but this is a whole other, lengthy posts. I'm not saying i'm right, it's just something I won't accept at face value for various reasons.

-As there always is, we have a different view on "function" or, "functional". Going by your last post you refer to function as structure, and I have no doubt our structure is very relevant to our function. I define function as the "movement" nature blessed us with. Our fundamental, primitive, movement patterns. I see this as not sport specific, or client specific, but human specific. Your post made me ponder about whether our structure was a side effect of your function, or vice versa. Regardless, both perspectives are an interesting clash.

Lastly, this hit home,

BillDeSimone wrote:
When you move, bend over, whatever, the pyramid fails and the muscles have to provide the stability and maintain the curves to protect the discs. If you bend with extra weight, and the small muscles fail, you risk "loading the spine in flexion" and damaging the discs.

If you're going to squat with a barbell, this is in play. If you're confident you can manage this, then squat. If not, there are other options, both for training the legs and the muscles around the spine.
I leave it for your discussion. Enjoy.


The part about the muscles having to provide the stability and maintain the curves - I see this is an advantage where as you see this as a disadvantage. I'm not sure we'll ever get a middle ground on that one. One of the first things I teach a client is how to find and brace a neutral spine. Future exercise progressions are really just exercises which are more difficult to keep that neutral spine. Back squats being one of the toughest, particularly with relatively high load. Some people will never get as far as back squats (for some it may not fit with their goals anyway) but, for others it will become an option when they are ready for it.

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 6:44 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
BillDeSimone wrote:
Yes, the point is mobility. Omitting the barbell dead lift and squat prevents them from doing further damage or risking further damage. Getting stronger on the leg press strengthens their glutes and quads without risking their back. With stronger glutes and quads, they get out of chairs, climb steps, etc. better.

"If you squat with proper posture..." Exactly.

You say, "the point is mobility", but you still don't say anything about how you deal with mobility issues. Do you do any kind of a movement screen with your clients? Do you give them exercises that specifically address the abnormal movement patterns that are revealed by the screen? Do you tailor the overall exercise routine to accommodate and/or address the movement issues? Or do you just try to make your entire exercise armamentarium safe for everyone, movement disordered or not?

No one here is saying "barbell squats are safe for everyone". They ARE saying that they are dangerous for people who have disordered movement patterns. In that regard, I'd think you'd express enthusiastic agreement!

What is your take on the work of Gray Cook or Stuart McGill?


"Or do you just try to make your entire exercise armamentarium safe for everyone, movement disordered or not?" Yes, this is where everyone starts, then the more capable would progress to more involved exercises. The one that don't do the more involved exercises end up functioning better than they start, even with the basic program. I'm sure someone will suggest they would do "even more betterer" with the advanced stuff, but I choose not to go that way.

I agree, about squats being dangerous for people with disordered movement patterns. Where I think we disagree is that they are ever "safe", because the spine issues are always closer with a barbell squat than with other options. I'll go with "less risky" based on the technique, safety measures, etc. like I wrote above.

McGill's basic level stuff, I think, works for every body.


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 6:52 am 
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KPj wrote:
Bill, thanks for posting that info.

I think there's a few key things that mean we'll never be on the same page. However, I think I now understand how you got on to the page you're on, and it makes sense.

The key points are, and i'll try my best to keep it brief,

-You are more likely to suffer a "catastrophic" injury during a BB squat. I can't disagree here. Whilst i'm sure many have happened via people being an idiot on the leg press, too, I've got to agree that it's more likely on the squat. It's a movement that, to do correctly, requires A LOT of skill. BTW I dislike the Smith machines squat even more so than the leg press - although I see the value in the leg press for quad hypertrophy.

-I would dispute the theory that getting stronger legs via the leg press will help with everyday tasks, but this is a whole other, lengthy posts. I'm not saying i'm right, it's just something I won't accept at face value for various reasons.

-As there always is, we have a different view on "function" or, "functional". Going by your last post you refer to function as structure, and I have no doubt our structure is very relevant to our function. I define function as the "movement" nature blessed us with. Our fundamental, primitive, movement patterns. I see this as not sport specific, or client specific, but human specific. Your post made me ponder about whether our structure was a side effect of your function, or vice versa. Regardless, both perspectives are an interesting clash.

Lastly, this hit home,

BillDeSimone wrote:
When you move, bend over, whatever, the pyramid fails and the muscles have to provide the stability and maintain the curves to protect the discs. If you bend with extra weight, and the small muscles fail, you risk "loading the spine in flexion" and damaging the discs.

If you're going to squat with a barbell, this is in play. If you're confident you can manage this, then squat. If not, there are other options, both for training the legs and the muscles around the spine.
I leave it for your discussion. Enjoy.


The part about the muscles having to provide the stability and maintain the curves - I see this is an advantage where as you see this as a disadvantage. I'm not sure we'll ever get a middle ground on that one. One of the first things I teach a client is how to find and brace a neutral spine. Future exercise progressions are really just exercises which are more difficult to keep that neutral spine. Back squats being one of the toughest, particularly with relatively high load. Some people will never get as far as back squats (for some it may not fit with their goals anyway) but, for others it will become an option when they are ready for it.

KPj


We simply disagree on your second and third points. We don't really disagree on the last, aside from I never see the need to go to the barbell squat, but I do agree with the overall approach. I don't see the spine issues as advantage/disadvantage, just something to be managed. If I can indulge in mind reading, I think you approach it from a "best case" scenario, and I approach it from "avoid the worst case". Which, not to go back to age and experience, is a result of my own injuries/conditions over time (age) and umpteen years dealing with clients' (experience).


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 Post subject: Re: squat question
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 10:25 am 
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Pretty much. I just don't see the worse case scenario as catastrophic injury - not under my watch, anyway. If people train themselves how I prepare them and teach them to train themselves, it won't happen. I guess I should say never say never, though.

I do respect your experience, and that's why i've given this thread the time that I have. However to take what you say based only on your experience would be to disregard the experience of others.

McGill is a good example, an actual professor in Biomechanics with decades of experiencing carrying out research on the lumbar spine. I have both his books. Lower Back disorders is a little beyond me just now, it's very clinical, and i need to get smarter before I am able to absorb more of it but I'll get there eventually. However Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance is one of my top books that I refer to in terms of how I train people, and I've came to very different conclusions than you have. I should state it doesn't say anywhere that consistent heavy back squats over a life time will not destroy your spine but, i'm not saying that either.

So, i'm not writing off your experience or trying to disrespect it in anyway. I make a real effort and spend a good bit of money learning from those far more experienced than me.

I actually like Mike Boyles reason for not doing squats. The logic that it's more of a lower back exercise makes sense, and should to anyone that's trained the lift and made decent progress on it. After your initial beginner gains and assuming you master good technique, it seems to be the lower back and not leg strength that holds it back. Therefore, it can, for a lot of people, be a poor choice as a leg exercise since the training effect is limited to what the lower back can safely transfer. However, his go to leg exercise is one you also seem to think is dangerous (bulgarian split squat), and he still does deadlifts (with a trap bar i believe), and recommends basic barbel training (i.e. Starting Strength) for beginners.

I'm not trying to put you up against other coaches, here. But the experience issue has been mentioned a few times, by a few people. I don't believe i'm some young guy with a bad attitude who's going to learn the hard way, who has an emotional attachment to any one exercise. I have you here with a fantastic amount of experience telling me one thing, and others with around the same amount of experience telling me another. So I need to dig around to find out more so I can make a judgement call.

KPJ

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