The Squat debate

There was an article I saw posted by a few trainers on social networking sites about hip mobility and the squat. It was actually a very good article and well written. The problem came when people completely missed the point of the article and took it as a reason not to squat. One trainer said and I loosely quote “squatting is too emotionally difficult for some people”

Comments like this lead to the author ‘Ryan Debell’ to post a video response. (I have posted the link below.) Telling people this is not what he meant. Despite the fact people’s hips can be completely different it is not a reason not to squat. The fact is most people simply just can’t use their hips to their full range of motion.

More recently there was another good one by the Poliquin group, that if you skim read you would come to the same conclusion as people did with the article by ‘Debell’ but with a bit understanding and the philosophy behind the thinking you would know not squatting is not the point.

The main issue we at Fitness Wild have with how people took this article is trainers using the difference in the hip anatomy as an excuse for their clients not to squat. Or perform a shocking form of a squat some sort of crazy knees bashing, good morning hybrid. The trainer reassuring the client “it is okay love it’s just your hips are different”
Fitness Wild is a big advocate of movement, and we know not everyone is going to move the same. Take the deadlift, a basic movement of picking a weight up from the floor. I could get a client to set up for a deadlift exactly like I deadlift. But this could be completely wrong for their body; the pull could be all out and they may lose all tension; because that person isn’t me.

They need to deadlift to best suit how their body moves and how they can best keep tension. This is a given right? But the deadlift is still a deadlift much like a squat is still a squat. Biomechanically we may all move differently but this isn’t to any huge degree of difference. You can see in the above link, the difference in the hip can be pretty dramatic, but we all still walk with one leg in front of the other. A walk may vary but a walk is a walk… Like a squat is a squat and a deadlift is a deadlift… you get the idea.

Every able body child will do the perfect squat to pick his or her toys; a 90 year old man in India will sit in a full range ‘arse to grass’ squat for long periods of time. We are all able to perform this basic and most natural movement.

I think we need to be concerned that trainers can look at such articles without fully understanding them and then using them as an excuse for their own lack of ability or laziness. If a client can’t use their hips to their full range we should be looking at why. Why can’t they? Is it lifestyle? Where do they lose tension? What are their ankles and feet doing? It may not be an overnight change but if you take the time and put the effort in to developing your clients, everyone can achieve their own perfect squat.

I will end with a word of warning, if you go to a trainer and they write you off as unable to squat, ask them why. Id place my money on the fact there the same sort of trainer who would spend the majority of time sipping a coffee, and looking at them self’ s in the mirror whilst chatting about their day, not on what your body is doing.