25 Jun The G-Force Source: squat myths
“There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that provides the level of central nervous activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.” — Mark Rippetoe
Myths and facts of CrossFit and training movements circulate like a horrible round of Chinese whispers. They might start off as facts but by the time they make the rounds, they’ve been blended and jumbled into a faecal sandwich of incorrect information. It is up to the coaches from CrossFit boxes around the world to be accountable for spreading the right information and putting an end to the myths of training.
The air squat is one of the fundamental movements of CrossFit and therefore, its heavier variants being the back and front squat are just about as fundamental in training. Ain’t nobody got time for chicken legs because a strong squat means a strong body which transfers across to a multitude of other movements. In this edition of our blog–The G-Force Source–we are going to beat down some of the most common myths about squatting. We want to eliminate any fear people may have of this movement because as Mark Rippetoe states, the full squat is the best movement to build overall physiological toughness.
MYTH: Deep squatting is bad for my knees.
FACT: Deep squatting is great for my knees!
Deep squatting is scientifically proven to be better for building joint strength and stability than your standard Globo Gym one-quarter squat. Without going into the mind-boggling details with the science, deep squats improve knee stability, a deeper squat is safer on your knee ligaments and most importantly, a deep squat engages more muscle groups for an overall more efficient squat and body strengthening exercise. In a deep squat, you will use not only your quads, but you will also engage your posterior chain which includes the hamstrings, glutes (AKA your ghetto booty) and your lower back. Combine the use of all these muscles together and you’re getting a better overall squatting experience.
MYTH: It is bad when my knees click whilst squatting.
FACT: Clicking of the knees is quite normal.
When people hear their bodies make noises, they immediately think it’s the physiological apocalypse. Just like flatulence, clicking of the knees is just about as normal. The clicking of the knee is air pockets which have filled up in the joints. This is the same for other parts of your body too. Cracking knuckles, shoulders and the like are associated with fluids and gases in the joints. However, if the cracking of your knees are accompanied by pain, it’s time to stop and get it checked out.
MYTH: I must squat with wide feet.
FACT: You squat where it is comfortable.
Nobody has the same physical structure including bone structure and muscle structure. If all our bones were built exactly the same way with the exact same length, then we’d all probably squat the same. But we know that’s not true. Everyone’s hips and joints are unique, but some may have some similarities. The stance of your squat will vary depending on a number of factors but are mainly influenced by the hips, pelvis, and the length of your legs. What you need to discover is what works for you. Some of you may be more comfortable squatting with your feet outside the vertical plane of the shoulders whilst others may be comfortable with feet directly underneath the hips. Speak to your coaches for advice but if you want a more in-depth answer, speak to a medical professional like a chiropractor who will be able to tell you all about your bones and what may work for you.
MYTH: It is bad when my knees move past my toes in a squat.
FACT: It is natural for your knees to move past your toes in a good squat position.
This is one of the greater myths of the squat and one that we want to tackle. We’re taught that the knees should track over the toes during a squat. That remains a fact. If you’re then told that your knees shouldn’t pass beyond your toes, then you’re being fed wrong information. Emphasis is placed on this: “We should be concerned on when the knees more forward past the toes, not if,” [Squat University]. Deep squats, cleans and snatches require an upright torso and therefore, to achieve the full squat, the knees will naturally pass over the toes. It is important to perform a squat by first moving back with the hips rather than first lowering down with the knees moving forward. This then goes back to the when and not the if. Hips back first. That’s the key!
For further clarification on any of these myths and facts, seek your coaches at G-Force.