All right! Now we get to the fun part! Time to learn the Queen of Exercises, the squat (although maybe the Olympic lifts should be the Queen of Exercises, and the squat should be the Princess of Exercises, but not like a Lady Di sort of princess with all the bulimia and stuff; perhaps republicans would prefer the Prime Minister of Exercises or at the very least Minister of Finance since everyone knows the bean counters run the show anyway, but I digress).
In Part 1, I discussed the myth that people shouldn’t learn to squat because they don’t need to, or that machine leg exercises are a good enough substitute. Sure, machines can come in handy and they have their place, especially in rehab. But the skills gained from squatting cannot be matched by a machine. In this section, I’m going to discuss what the squat actually does for you.
The squat is, perhaps, the single best exercise for leg strength and development.
Problem is, the squat is often taught incorrectly, and it’s stigmatized as difficult and dangerous. People warn that it is bad for your knees and back, inappropriate for beginners (or anyone not a male collegiate athlete), too hard to learn, blah blah the sky is falling, etc. So, let’s go through all the scary things we’ve heard about squatting, to debunk them one by one.
A strong midsection is essential to your game. A marvel of engineering, the torso manages to twist, lean, give power to a punch, stay upright, even support an opponent’s weight, and keep you breathing throughout, all with only one supporting “tent pole”: the spine. Much of the torso isn’t bone; it’s gooshy stuff and 26 feet’s worth of last night’s dinner. So where’s the magic? It’s in the coordinated effort of the midsection muscles: abs, obliques, low back, deep torso muscles along with the diaphragm and pelvic floor muscles.
By guest author Ron Dykstra
After reading many, many years worth of borderline worthless magazine information, much of it written by ghostwriters and not athletes, I was burned out on this style of “training”. High volume moderate weight training using multiple techniques to extend sets performed twice a day just did not work for me. I guess I wasn’t taking enough “Get Swole” or whatever magic bullet the magazines were shilling for. My training goals were not realized, but I stubbornly continued to lift, and one day I met a tribe of lifters that were not pumpers, posers, or complete narcissists: Enter the weightlifter.