A Young Trainer’s take: Mike Boyle’s Squat video & the debate it has stirred up

October 30, 2009

Within the last couple weeks, Mike Boyle had a short video put on the interwebz to promote his upcoming product. If you have any interest in fitness, you have most likely seen it already — specifically the one about not using conventional squats anymore.

Since I’m an opinionated young man of 23 years, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the stance taken in the video instead of just embedding the video on my own blog as a means to generate traffic. (the link is above though)

If you’ve been following my blog since before my recent summer blogging hiatus, you might remember some of my posts where I’d discuss my history of back pain and squatting, so I will get it out of the way now and say that because of my personal training experiences I’ve agreed with much of Mike’s stance on conventional squatting more than many people I’ve talked to about the issue.

That said, I’m also currently squatting and will keep them in the next phase of my training which begins next week. Herein lies one big point I see with this squat/don’t squat debate. I’m not my athletes/general pop clients. I don’t mean it to sound as though I’ve got some special body genetics or three nipples, but to illustrate that different people have different goals and this affects exercise selection. For instance, I am willing to take more risk with my own body than an athlete trying to get an athletic scholarship because if I get hurt in training, my dreams aren’t potentially unattainable.

The thing I keep coming back to with exercise selection is does it work – if so, is there something that works even better? When dealing with clients this means I’m not just looking at whether an exercise will get results, but also the amount of risk associated with the exercise (which as you might guess can vary). Some ways this can vary is how comfortable I am with someone’s technique or has their core strength improved to a level I am comfortable with.

In another conversation I had, it was mentioned that not squatting is arguably as blasphemous an idea in my profession as one can get. Yes tradition can teach us a lot, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean that the best ways to do soemthing have already been thought of. Its possible that the best way has already been figured out, but its also possible that it hasn’t, which isn’t something we will know as a fact until the profession is dead or humans no longer exist.  A third option is that maybe its just a semi-conscious desire of mine to come up with an original idea to contribute to the field of strength & conditioning, but it is because I am always looking to find how I can provide a better service and results to my clients.

I will close this by saying that I don’t know who is right — the squat camp or the don’t squat camp, and frankly it doesn’t much matter to me. This reminds me of an article I read about a month ago ranting about how those who subscribe to the functional training camp aren’t training athletes right (this coming from a trainer of the muscle training camp). All I could think about after I read the article was why I wasted my time reading it! Trainers in both camps get great results in the athletes they train, so does someone really need to be right and another wrong? I would worry more about the trainer who can’t justify their programming decisions.

But like I said, I am relatively new to these political matters, so all I’m hoping to offer is a fresh and probably somewhat naive look at this issue which has been getting a lot of airtime among trainers and fitness professionals.



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