As the saying goes, there are no bad exercises, just bad exercise selections. We are often asked why we don’t do more back squatting at our facility. It’s not that we don’t see value in back squatting, we have some clients that get great results back squatting, but when it comes to my risk/reward relationship there are several factors that must be taken into consideration. In today’s example we highlight an athlete locked into a hard lumbar extension pattern in their resting posture. You can easily see how back squat simply perpetuates the already dysfunctional pattern.
Now I know plenty of strength coaches that will argue that all their athletes back squat and nobody is hurting their low back. That may be true, but that is also assuming that the only risk that needs to be considered is hurting their low back while squatting. It ignores the side effects that come with that locked in position; from breathing to pelvic stabilization and its role in hip mobility and the tension relationships throughout the entire lower body to poor scapulo-thoracic rhythm and its effects on shoulder health. In other words poor posture leads to poor breathing which effects everything from the foot to tight hamstrings and hip flexors to shoulder health. Failure to see the system as a whole translates to a failure to maximize the results of my client.
Given the fact that this athlete will be playing on Saturdays next year, am I saying that he should never back squat? ABSOLUTELY NOT. What I am saying is that before I can responsibly program back squats into his routine I need to rework his breathing patterns, realign his cylinders, and have his body ready for a positive response to that stimuli. During that process he will continue to get stronger using appropriate squatting variations.
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