Other/Mixed Squat (atg vs. parallel), article, knee pain

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)
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John Kowalski

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Everything you and @North Coast Miller say seems legit, but... it's been only a few days since I started experimenting with parallel form and really everything that the author of the article mentions makes sense. My knees feel better than ever, I feel my muscles more during a squat, walking is easier - he mentions that deep squats are altering the gait and I think I feel what he meant now. And you also have to take into consideration that I have what Stuart McGill calls "ukrainian hips", going deep into a squat was always natural for me, I didn't have to force anything.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Everything you and @North Coast Miller say seems legit, but... it's been only a few days since I started experimenting with parallel form and really everything that the author of the article mentions makes sense. My knees feel better than ever, I feel my muscles more during a squat, walking is easier - he mentions that deep squats are altering the gait and I think I feel what he meant now. And you also have to take into consideration that I have what Stuart McGill calls "ukrainian hips", going deep into a squat was always natural for me, I didn't have to force anything.


This is good news no matter. Within a range it all works, so the important thing is you can do it within that range.

As I've mentioned it isn't an option for me to not go deep, so likewise I'm just glad I can do them at all.
 

rickyw

Level 7 Valued Member
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Steve Freides

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@rickyw, I just read the first of the two links you provided. What I noticed missing, unless I overlooked it, was mention of whether or not the author's back problems got better as a result of one-legged squatting. My guess is that they did, and not only because he stopped heavy back squats, but because the asymmetric loading made him a more resilient athlete. That's my theory, anyway.

-S-
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
I am still a bit amazed at how controversial squats are/have become. In my experience they are one of the safest and most effective exercises out there if performed correctly and with a reasonable load. I have never seen nor experienced any altered gait, or chronic injury, CNS burnout or any of the cited issues as long as the movement was performed with an aim toward quality.

Substituting with a split squat might be good for the legs, but the criticism of squats - that the back is the limiting factor - is to me only pointing out why they are so important. When we lift from the floor, we have to tie in our legs to the upper body for max functionality. Strong legs and a back/core not developed to make use of them would seem a waste for many movements.

I have seen people attempt far more weight than they should, and people execute with poor form, but that is common to many lifts, the powerlifting three in particular with Olympic lifts right behind.

1 in 5 athletes with back pain from squatting is a crazy percentage - I'd be looking to do things different as well. I have nowhere near the exposure these authors have, but with rates that high I'd be looking at other environmental factors - occupational posture, too much desk slumping, etc.
 

John Kowalski

Level 2 Valued Member
This article about squats could be flawed probably, I would trust Dr. Stuart McGill - that everyone will squat with a different technique which is caused by different hip mechanics.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
FWIW, I checked depth today and my tailbone is 8" off the deck. Any further and I lose alignment as well as some lumbar discomfort where I have fascia arthritis. Maybe not AtG but...

Hips are easily much lower than knees.
 

rickyw

Level 7 Valued Member
As a friendly counterpoint:

1 in 5 athletes with back pain from squatting is a crazy percentage - I'd be looking to do things different as well. I have nowhere near the exposure these authors have, but with rates that high I'd be looking at other environmental factors - occupational posture, too much desk slumping, etc.

If I remember, Mike Boyle trains a lot of hockey players, most of whom are generally taller and probably have longer legs. I could see single leg work being so much easier to implement and teach and generally less risky then a backsquat for these athletes, and many athletes. Part of me wonders if the back pain % was so high because of the build of the athletes along with their primary focus being their sport and not their squat form. Also, single leg work really increases the proprioceptive demand to the feet and ankles, and the whole lower extremity really. Hockey players (and many of us who don't play football or compete in squatting) really could use that moreso than squatting down with heavy weight-IMO. I know when I focus on single leg work, my legs and feet just feel more nimble.

Substituting with a split squat might be good for the legs, but the criticism of squats - that the back is the limiting factor - is to me only pointing out why they are so important.

Deadlift? Once again, easier to learn, easier to dump the lift, strengthens the back.
I don't know about the rest of you dads, but watching my toddler has been a fascinating experience for me. When he wants to get down low to play with a toy or something, he squats. When he wants to pick something up off the floor, he hip hinges into a deadlift maneuver. I didn't teach him that. I rarely if ever have seen him squat to pick up something "heavy".

I don't think there really is any right or wrong answer. If you love to squat and can squat well with no adverse effects, why not? If your body is not as well made for squatting and you don't want to squat and just want to get stronger for your sport, there are other exercises that work great too that are not as technically challenging. I think the general public and many athletes would benefit from learning how to "own a good deep knee bend" but keep the conditioning of the hips and legs to the deadlift and single leg work-less risk. Most sports require you to be on one leg at a time anyway.
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
Ahh, there are many ways to skin this cat.

All depends on the goal, back squats are great for helping put on mass and I cannot imagine not doing them right alongside deadlifts, bench, power cleans, Cossack squats, Hack squats, some club work. Keeping them OK for time on the ice is job 1, so my theoretical program starts with the most common injuries and works up from there.

I am still amazed at the 20% squat caused/aggravated number. Makes it sound like he's more of a physical therapist than a S&C trainer. With the prevalence of lower back pain on the rise, I have to wonder if Boyle isn't just coming up with solutions to treat these cases as they come to him while still getting a performance boost. At my certification Steve Maxwell described back problems caused by excessive chair time as a health crisis, the "cigarette of our current times" and I believe he's spot on.

My kids are older now, but as I recall they mostly did what looked like round back atlas ball type lifting.
 

rickyw

Level 7 Valued Member
I am still amazed at the 20% squat caused/aggravated number. Makes it sound like he's more of a physical therapist than a S&C trainer. With the prevalence of lower back pain on the rise, I have to wonder if Boyle isn't just coming up with solutions to treat these cases as they come to him while still getting a performance boost.

20% does seem high. My personal guess is sitting leads to Janda's famous lower crossed syndrome, which makes squatting correctly difficult. Athletes, though good at what they do, tend to have some incredible movement dysfunction. I remember when I worked NCAA football as an ATC, I couldn't believe some of the movement dysfunction I would see in the athletes. In my mind, the way Boyle discusses it, the squat is aggravating his athletes, so he throws it out and they improve.

At my certification Steve Maxwell described back problems caused by excessive chair time as a health crisis, the "cigarette of our current times" and I believe he's spot on.

I have heard this as well, but moreso in relation to the health of the cardiovascular system. But it makes sense for the spine. Motion is lotion and it is how joints receive their nutrition.

My kids are older now, but as I recall they mostly did what looked like round back atlas ball type lifting.

It would be interesting to get a bunch of toddlers together, take their measurements and then go have them pick things up off the floor to see if instinctively they lift differently based on their body proportions.
 

JonS

Level 7 Valued Member
@John Kowalski , you ever looked up Mike Boyle's take on squatting? Some interesting arguments that I tend to lean towards...here's two articles

http://benbruno.com/2010/08/my-single-leg-squat-experiment/
Why We Don’t Squat?

Again, like Al once told me, "Just own a good deep knee bend (aka a squat minimally weighted/unweighted)". Strengthening one leg at a time is great. But that's just my preference...

@rickyw thanks for the interesting articles. I tried out the RFESS yesterday and I believe that it has a place in one's movement repertoire. It felt like a weighted airborne lunge, which was great. Could be a nice compliment to the weighted pistol. Didn't intend to derail the thread, but felt obliged to comment given the referenced article.
 
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