The "Right" Squat May Not Be Right For You
We sometimes put artificial limits on ourselves because we're following artificial rules. Here's how it happens:
- You read an article or book by a respected coach about the best way to squat, and it's very compelling and science-based.
- You try to do that squat and it feels terrible, even after you spend months working on it, maybe even getting coached.
- You think, "Well, I guess I just can't squat."
- The artificial rule is: "There's a best way to squat."
- The artificial limit is: "Since I can't squat the best way, then I can't squat."
But maybe that coach's "best way" is really just the best way to squat for 70% of people who have the same goal. You may not be in that 70%, or maybe that's not even your primary goal.
The experts like to use the word anthropometry. That basically refers to things like height, arm length, leg length, torso length, hip width, and all the mathematical ratios between body parts. Humans come in all shapes and sizes, even athletic humans. And one person's "best way to squat" may not be another's.
You should definitely read all those great coaches' books and articles. You should definitely attend their seminars. You should definitely test out their advice. Maybe it's perfect you, but maybe not. It doesn't mean that coach sucks, and it doesn't mean you suck. It just means you haven't found YOUR best squat yet.
And you're free to shop around at Squat-Mart where you'll find everyday low prices on goblet squats, dumbbell squats, safety-bar squats, Smith machine squats, squat machines, front squats, bottoms-up squats, trap-bar squats... and the list is endless.
Yes, the squat is a foundational movement pattern. Your body was made to do it. But there are a whole lot of ways to do it.
There are also a lot of folks who mainly just want to build their legs. But they follow the "rules" of coaches who are focused on 1-rep maxes or athletic performance... none of which overlap much with the "I want big legs and defined quads" goal.
So make sure your squat guru has the same goal as you.