Why Squats Are Not Your Friend | Working Out

I am worried about what my ass looks like just as much as the next woman. So I work out. However, I do not buy into the fact that squats are the way to achieve a perfectly sculpted lower body.

Whoa, don't turn on me. Hear me out.

There are many exercise enthusiasts out there who love squats. Will sing their praises for days, saying if performed correctly, squats are safe, effective and useful.

I say, ok, but for the pure fact that many people do squats wrong, and when performed wrong, possibly using high weights, the severity of injuring your lower back and knees are not worth the risk when there's other machines out there to get you where you want to be. If exercise is your vocation, then you will do whatever you think is best.

But if you are an average man or woman like me, who just wants to be healthy and in shape without injuring yourself...

1. Squats Are Bad For Your Lower Back: When a squat is performed, the power needed to lift you from a squatting, near floor position requires many muscles to work in tandem. We're talking your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and your core stabilizing muscles. Specifically your erector spinae.

Look at her positioning and posture and tell me that doesn't look dangerous

Even with perfect form, studies suggest the risk for stress fractures of the lumbar spine are great. Also, muscle tissue, ligaments and tendons are susceptible to injury. You never realize how important keeping your back healthy is until you injure it. Every breathe you take, move you make (yes, I know I'm quoting the Police) can cause intense pain.

I'm sorry. They just aren't worth it.

2. Squats Are Bad For Your Shoulders and Nerves In Your Neck: If you complete a squat, with or without an assistant machine (meaning you use barbells), whatever weight you think you are lifting with your legs you are directly applying to your shoulders. And your neck and trapezius (upper back) muscles assist. As a woman, I squat close to 80% of my body weight. While yes, my lower body is pretty muscular and developed... I cannot say the same for my upper body. And these are the muscles that are directly coming into contact with a barbell, which they struggle to support.

From the male perspective, my fiance squats over 150% of his total body weight. And most times he will feel numbness and lightheadedness during squats. Once to the point where his vision got blurry and saw spots. Supporting that much weight, proper form or not, is not a time you want to pass out. I feel like people don't talk about how taxing this exercise can be on the upper body.

Once again, I don't think the risk is worth the reward.

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3. Squats Are Hard to Perform "Correctly": I've heard the argument that squats are perfectly safe if performed correctly. Yet, when you work out with a trainer or enthusiastic friend, it seems like they had many cues or corrections to give you regarding your squatting position.

Really? Stripper heels and no added weight on the bar? Why bother.

You know what? If any exercise takes your 3x as long to do, because you are constantly readjusting yourself, I call bullshit. There's got to be another way.

4. Squats Are Bad For Your Knees: More over from the last few points, squats can be bad for your knees. You are supposed to bend over, keeping perfect form, holding a large weight on your shoulders, and remember not to have your knees bend over your feet. Because if you do, the risk for injury and tearing increase. The risk of tearing your ACL sounds very scary, and not worth an exercise that activates many large muscle groups at once, therefore not isolating your glutes.

Knees look like they are moving farther than her feet. Recipe for injury.

5. Squats Require Space: This point may not be as strong as the previous ones, but to perform squats you need space and the equipment. Why I say this is for the fact that you need to have the barbells at home if you work out there, or you need the personal space at the gym to achieve your workout, both of these can be hard to come by. I belong to a gym that is constantly busy. You can find space to stretch or mat exercises, but enough room to perform squats is harder to come by. I've seen it lead to arguments of the "Come at me, bro!" persuasion.

And to do squats at home, given your fitness level and weight can be difficult, as you would have to own enough barbells to do so. And find the space for that too.

Ok, now onto the positive. What do I suggest?


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