Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When is a squat no longer functional?

The heavy load, combined with the long lever arm created by the olympic bar forces the athlete to place the feet outside of hip width and externally rotate the legs for more stability.  Does it have a carryover to jumping, landing, running, & ACL prevention anymore?


JH said...

First I guess we need to define "heavy load". IN many squatting scenarios the feet do not need to be outside of the hips or feet turned out. But again what is a "heavy load". Is it applicable to jumping, etc? Yes. BBall player boxing out straight into a jump, VB defensive position, certain wrestling positions are some of the actions I beleive squats to be effective.

Pat said...


Great topic as always. Sorry I've been a little mia lately. Long story we will have to catch up on soon. Anyway back to the squatting topic it I find it more functional and realworld to use a lighter load usually dumbbells, incorporating different arm drivers and different foot positions. I think this way we can get the benefits of the squatting movements while not tearing up the lumbar spun with a heavy load and not beating up the patella femoral joint with repetitive motions. Just my two cents.

You continue to do a great job. Need to talk soon

Keep it up.

Pat Donovan

Joe Przytula said...

JH- If I understand you correctly, we seem to be in agreement here, it comes down to the context in which you are using the tool.

Pat- Great to have you back-
and you bring up another issue...the need to get that time under tension to get the tissue remodeling response you need, yet protect articular cartilage by the adjustments/modifications you speak of.

JH said...


Yes, We are in agreement. :)


sal m said...

I think "heavy" squats are one of the biggest problems we have. I would define heavy as a load where max effort is required to complete approximately six or fewer reps. As someone who has been there and done that with regard to heavy squats - and other lifts as well - and has read research and talked to experts like Frans Bosch about it, I don't see the need for anyone to perform heavy squats.

Once proficiency in the lift has been achieved the variations to introduce should not emphasize increasing the load.

Joe Przytula said...

Of course, "heavy" is a relative term Sal, but say if I was working with an American football lineman or some of the field events in Track, I think "heavy" at the right time in the PPT model may be purposeful. Need the Maven to weigh in on this one.

sal m said...

I disagree to a point. Once a guy in your scenario reaches a certain point of progress what's the reason? A 300-pound guy who squats properly, runs well, has a good vertical jump, what is squatting heavy going to add except strain.

jonnyb said...

What a great and relevant topic! I am a high school track and field coach and I would love to reduce/eliminate heavy squatting in my program. But before I do that, I want to make sure I have a suitable substitute. Would you guys provide some insight?
Thanks in advance!!

Joe Przytula said...

Start with Vern's leg circuit progression:


Kevin Moody said...

I'd like to hear more from Pat and anyone else how they are incorporating different arm drivers in the squat.


Kevin Moody

Joe Przytula said...

Kevin- push, pull, squat, rotate...the formula doesn't change. What arm you push with, in what direction you pull the other, and which leg is squatting, in what vector the other leg is rotating is where sports specificity comes into play.