Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Squats and Deadlifts are DANGEROUS!

If you asked most physical therapists, they'd probably tell you that heavy back squats and deadlifts are inherently bad for the body. Biomechanically, these exercises create immense shear and compressive forces that can lead to soft tissues injuries, ruptured discs, joint pain, and all sorts of other awful pathologies. WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD BACK SQUAT AND DEADLIFT!

DANGER: May cause a backside to die for & an uncanny increase in strength and confidence

The danger is not in the exercise, but the individual. Would anybody say that "sex is inherently dangerous?" No, of course not, but if the individual was engaging in multiple, unprotected rendezvous with some seedy partners then we might consider otherwise. Did you know you already squat and deadlift, multiple times a day? How many times do you squat on the toliet? Squat down to a chair or bench? How many times a day do you pick stuff up off the ground?!

As a therapist, I've seen some pretty amazing feats of recovery. The human body is a highly adaptive mechanism that can overcome what we logically assume impossible. Actually, we're genetically DESIGNED to adapt to these progressive stressors (like heavy lifting), otherwise we'd be a generation of weak, flabby individuals with rapidly detoriating bone mass and no idea how to properly lift heavy things off the ground (oh, wait...) This is an unfortunate phenomena because by forgoing proper instruction on the squat and deadlift with this undeniable idea that they are "inherently dangerous" is actually putting people at a higher risk for injury. Again, we squat and deadlift many, many times a day. But even though these are very natural movements, our very unnatural world of chairs, desks, cars, couches, and other convenience inventions have compromised our mobility and our ability to properly perform these movements. So, because the squat and deadlift have been deemed "inherently dangerous" then people are not only limiting their strength potential, but they're also limiting their ability to simply learn these functional movements. If we never train anymore in these functional movement patterns like the squat and deadlift, we're probably compromising our safety with these inevitable movements in daily life. I'm assuming you're not squatting 1.5 times your bodyweight when you sit down for a crap in the morning, but recall that you do squat multiple times a day -- and this repetitive motion, without weight on your back or not, may still lead to injury if the pattern has not been properly trained.

If this is you all day, please don't tell me about compressive forces on your spine when deadlifting

I think everybody should squat and deadlift. But again, it all comes down to the individual. Some people will fare better with single-leg deadlifts, others with front squats, others with trap bar deadlifts, or maybe some with goblet squats. Most people can handle a wide variety of these exercises, and feel more strong, pain-free, and mobile after safely and gradually implementing them. Remember, don't be the floozy sleeping around with all their mystery lovers, be responsible and practice makes perfect! ;-)

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