Squats Designed Specifically for Men
When I hear the word squat, I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger with all his muscles and I think of the power squat - the squat with the heavy weights. For many of us, especially the American babyboomers, this is a common vision. Yet squats come in a variety of different types and can be readily scaled for any physical level. But what about those manly squats the power squats made famous by the body builders? Are these squats appropriate for everyone - men and women? What are the guidelines, who are power squats appropriate for? What are the risks? And what are the alternatives? Are squats simply the end all of all exercises - is this truth or fiction? And lastly and perhaps the main question men are really wanting to know, will squat affect my testosterone levels?
The first rule of squats for both men and women, is the exercise must be performed correctly.
Safety first is always my unisex rule but for men who are overly ambitious this rule must be highlighted.
While many of us may never advance to power squats, I believe understanding this compound exercise favored by most bodybuilders from around the world will help us who may forever choose simply a wall squat or a non-weighted plié squat.
So females, listen up, I do promise not to bore you and that you will learn something about this favored compound exercise that will help motivate you to design the best fitness program for you. And men, I promise to provide the answers to all these questions and more by some of the most renown fitness experts in the world.
The Myth - Squats Hurt Knee Ligaments
Science is amazing, we have so many myths and then debunking those myths take years. Will we ever advance beyond the myths?
Yes, if we listen, read and learn. This is the critical reason why we need education. Education in our public institutions and on the internet.
Squats can be executed safely and squats if performed correctly with the proper posture and the appropriate weight and speed can serve to stabilize the knee joint.
Squats like all exercises, if they are performed with improper posture or inappropriate weight, can be an end to your good health. When in doubt do cardio - run, do basketball, do leg presses, do not attempt an exercise you have have not been trained to perform.
Elements in the Design of the Appropriate Exercise
Exercise Intensity Definition
Bret Contretras, sometimes referred to as "The Glute Guy", provides an exceptional definition and full explanation of the exercise intensity and why it is so important to craft the right exercise for the right person.
Bret sounds the charge for the "intelligent coach" and has over 10 years of practical experience in athletic training to back it up. Besides strength training and setting the right example, Bret hold's his master's degree from Arizona State University and graduated suma cum laude (simply stated straight A's). So let us take the facts from a practical and intelligent coach:
"The weight (load) placed upon a bar, the velocity of the bar, run, or throw (i.e. maximal effort vs. tempo), as well as the height and/or distance of a jump (i.e. plyometrics), to name a few. Appropriate exercise intensity is not only important to ensure “adaptation”, but is also essential to minimize the occurrence of a possible training injury. For example, as an athlete performs the squat exercise with an inappropriately programmed (excessively high) specific intensity (weight), to compensate for this excessive load, an unwarranted flexion (posture) of the lumbar spine may occur in an attempt to achieve a successful exercise performance."
Scooby Werkstatt on Squats
Scooby Werkstatt to me is the modern day, Jack LaLanne. He combines practical body building knowledge with real research and figures. He is best known for advocating back-to-basics but he is one of the best motivators in the industry. He is a direct parallel to Jack because he does not just stick to the exercises, he will branch into nutrition and Scoody will take a stand on over drinking. He realizes he has an impressionable audience and he targets his presentation to the youth that he is guiding. Scooby always delivers with his shirt off to showcase that he walks the talk.
Advantages of Squats
Squats and the Myth Associated with Squats
Did you believe the myth about squats and the magical properties for testosterone?
Did you realize that there are great substitutes for squats?
Squats are the favorite exercise of bodybuilders.
Did you realize that squats are not always appropriate for everyone?
Squats Are Not for Everyone
"10.2 percent of the populace has chronic and rehabilitating back problems."
Scooby Video About Squats - Are Squats Overrated?
In this video, Scooby covers allot of valuable ground. He debunks the common myth of squats and their "magical properties". He analyzes squats verses leg presses and he provides specific guidance of the attributes of the appropriate client - who should really be including squats in their exercise program.
First, let's address the myth that squats are magical to men. Do squats have magical testosterone and growth hormone properties? High intensity resistances training temporarily increase testosterone and growth hormones but that goes for all exercises not just squats.
Squats are a great compound exercise that work your glutes your leg muscles.
Squats are an easy exercise to do - just need: 1.) the olympic bar and 2.) a squat cage - available at most any gym.
Squats should only be performed if you have a strong core and a good squatting technique.
Squats at least not the body building squats that Scooby is referring to and what most men consider the "squat exercise". Essentially, our spines are not designed for squats. Scooby goes on to details:
"10.2 percent of the populace has chronic and rehabilitating back problems."
Substitutes for Squats:
My number one rule to my fitness clients, was if you feel pain, stop immediately. Squats like all exercises must be designed specifically for your performance level. If you don't have a strong core, if you have had back pain, the wall squat with no weight is the place to begin. But no fear, there is a great substitute that Scooby provides seeking the same intense muscle contraction that squats provides to our leg muscles.
A safe and effective substitute for squats given by Scooby is a leg press machine or leg curl machine and a game of Basketball.
Advantages and Risks of Squats
Squats work the stabilizing muscles and are a great compound exercise.
Power lifters and body builders will always shouts the praises of squats.
Why the basketball game? The game of basketball will work all your stabilizer muscles.
"Squats can be a 911 call waiting to happen" and should be designed specifically for your performance level.
Why the 911 concern? Potential injuries of course are the knees but the back also is severely at risk.
For you see, in the world of fitness, the prescription or the fitness routine designed for you must be specific to your needs. And each of us has different needs. Also, each of us will experience different chapters and different performance levels.
Reminder - Body Builder Squats Offer An Immense Compressive Load to Your Spine
For this reason, Scooby walks us through an advance comparison of the leg press machine and squats. Can you advance to squats after using the leg press machine? That depends upon your dedication and the response by your body. Each individual is different, so take the time to determine what leg exercise is right for you.
Comparison of the Leg Press Machine and Squats
This video details the compressive loads on the spine of the leg press and the squat. In short, squats demand a strong spine. For squats, the compressive load is vertical.
In summary, Scooby recommends power squats if you are able to meet this 4 point criteria:
1. You are between the ages of 18 and 40
2. You have a professional body building coach to guide you
3. Your family has no history of spine injury
4. You use a squat cage for your safety
If you are not able to meet these four criteria - no worries. The substitutes are simple - leg presses, leg curls and the game of basketball.
Back Squat Motivational Poster
Benefits of Squats - 7 Different Reasons by Jeremey DuVall
- Increased hormone release
- Stronger lower body
- Less risk of injury
- Increased vertical jump
- Increased flexibility
- Stronger core
- Improved workout efficiency
source: Jeremey DuVall, M.S., CPT
Female - Male Perspective
Perhaps you are reading this article and are skeptical because I am female. That is fair. I completely understand and you are correct - my female perspective is to be challenged. To this end, I will reply ask Scooby Werkstatt or ask Jeremy DuVall - both renown fitness experts.
I don't give compliments readily and especially in fitness and especially about fitness articles but Jeremy DuVall has written an exceptional article that is a must read. In this article, he accurately details the many benefits of squats. If you read one other article about the many benefits of squats, this is article you must read.
- Get Stronger: The Benefits of Squat Exercises
7 reasons that squats should be in your daily exercise routine. Build more muscle and become a better athlete with one of the best moves in fitness.
Design A Squat Program That is Right for You
If you understand squats and the protection it gives to the knee joint and the benefit to your health, you need to understand the different levels of squats. There are dozens of types of squats but the category of the squat and the type that you and your trainer choose must be right for your fitness level and your family history.
If you have a history of bad backs, stay away from the advanced squats for your personal safety. If you have the core strength and medical clearance no history of family members with bad backs, do add a new personal goal to work your way up to the power squat.
Types of Squats
With Added Weight
Body Weight Only
Wall Squats with Weight
Add in a Bar Bell or Medicine Ball
Wall Squats with Adduction
Addin a Soft Ball Between the Knees
A Wide Squat Targeting the Inner Thigh Muscles
Plie Squat with Weights
With Added Weight
Bulgarian or Russian Squat
One Leg with Weights
Squat with a Jump
Motivational Poster - "Do Squats"
Do Squats - Seven Simple Mantras
- Aim for squats daily.
- Men if you start squats young, you may be able to power squat when you are over 40.
- Not squatting is bad for the knees.
- Perfect form prevents injuries.
- Squats are available for all levels of fitness.
- Choose a type of squat that is right for your fitness level.
- A squat is the foundation of all fitness programs.
Breath deeply into your belly, do not take shallow breaths only chest level - get that oxygen flowing.
Remember This Basics of Squats
"Don't skip squats - they burn more calories than most any other move."
"Don't skip squats - they protect the knees."
Squats belong in all exercise programs but power squats with added weight belong under the guidance of a well trained coach.
Learn the best level of squats for your body.
Do squats daily.
Power Squats Have Special Considerations for Both Men and Women
Squats for men have special considerations because often we are only considering power squats - squats with weights. In reality, power squats have special consideration for both men and women.
Whether male or female, we have learned from the best of the best in the field of fitness that there are special considerations for power squats.
Ladies and gentlemen, when deciding what squat is right for you, do listen to the three experts that we consulted here. Take their advise and together with your personal trainer or body building coach, design a fitness program that is precisely right for you. Recognize the importance of the squat and recognize the hazards that power squats may impose upon your health.
Just as in swimming, you wouldn't jump into the deep end first, so too, with squats. Start with a squat where you can master and achieve the perfect form and then move up to the intermediate and then the advanced squats.
There are no wimpy squats. While some may say that shallow squats, wall squats, plié squats are wimpy - remember, we all must start somewhere. All squats are all good.
Also, remember, not doing squats can hurt our knees.
Jumping into the deep end with squats can do allot of harm not just to your knees but also to your back. Build your core, work with your trainer and over time, you will be able to advance to another level of squats.