Once upon a time, I was an innocent naive weight lifter. I remember walking into my college’s gym and seeing the football players lifting weights on a cage looking thingy.
“I’m not an athlete, so I should avoid doing that!”
A few months later I read articles about what those guys were doing. It was something called a Squat.
Every bodybuilding magazine and website said I should be doing it.
I researched for weeks before finally getting the courage to approach the squat rack. Given how much weight those athletes were using; I knew I could easily slide on some 45s and get started.
Boy was I an idiot.
I probably moved the bar less than 2 inches before realizing that I was not strong enough for that weight.
Instead of facing my reality on needing to get better while doing a lower amount of weight, I decided that this workout was beneath me. I glanced over and saw this thing called a Smith machine.
“Yeah, that’s what I’ll do my squats on.”
Despite my bad form I proceeded to do my lifting on that smith machine. In less than a month, I realized that the machine was doing all the work. It was harming me more than it was helping.
It was time to put my ego to the side and finally learn how to do barbell squats.
Why Squats Are Important
The basic fundamental movement of life is squatting. No matter how rich or poor you are, we all do one form of squatting every day.
Whether that’s in your car, at your job, watching TV or handling your “business”, you squat every single day.
Besides just our legs, squats are a total body movement. That’s why squats should be the stable of everyone’s workout routine. When gaining muscle or losing weight, performing squats is the magic cure for both!
But only when used properly!
The Case Of Johnny and His Ego When Squatting
Warning: The following is a quick story about an incident that typically happens at gyms nationwide every day. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing. That is ok.
Johnny is your typical guy at the gym. He works out at least four days a week. On one of those days, he focuses on exercising his legs. Today is his leg day.
He does a quick stretch and proceeds over to the squat rack.
Without hesitation, Johnny proceeds to put four 45 pound plates on the barbell.
“Naww, let me go higher! That’s too easy”.
Johnny then places two more 45 pound plates on the barbell.
“Nawww, that’s still too easy! Let’s go higher!”
Johnny then places four more 45 pound plates on the barbell. Johnny knows that he has 495 pounds on that barbell.
“Yeahhh…that looks about right”
Other guys look over and think to themselves:
“Oh man, that guy must be a beast! He is about to do some heavy lifting today! I got to see this!”
Johnny feels their eyes looking. He looks in the mirror and gives a slight smile.
He knows he’s the man!
He proceeds to have a determined look on his face. He’s completely focused on lifting that weight.
You can see him preparing for the awesomeness display of power that’s about to come!
He proceeds to get into position. The barbell is positioned perfectly on his upper back. He takes a deep breath and lifts the bar from the rack.
The entire gym looks on with curiosity
“Yup here it comes! This should be exciting!”
Johnny then proceeds to do the following:
As he places the barbell down he goes over to the guys
“Did you see that!! I just squatted 495 pounds! I’m a beast!”
Enter The Machine Abuse Unit
All of a sudden there’s flashes of light and loud sirens heard throughout the facility.
The M.A.U (Machine Abuse Unit) has pulled up to the scene.
Officer: “Sir you’re in violation of code 234”
Johnny: “What’s code 234?”
Officer: “Code 234 is bragging about doing a false amount of squats when in reality you only did a quarter of a squat. You wasted people’s lives by looking like a dummy due to failing to do an ACTUAL squat. That’s a $200 fine, plus the right of the M.A.U. to post this video on YouTube and have everyone laugh at you!”
Don’t Do Squats Like Johnny!
Now I don’t mean to get the M.A.U involved but whenever I see the following scenario at a gym, it drives people like myself CRAZY.
If the above story sounds like you at the gym, please stop squatting immediately!
Because you are NOT doing a squat!
I repeat ………That is NOT a Squat!
If you find yourself at the gym doing those and bragging about your squat numbers……..You will only make Officer MicVinny angry!
I will gladly send the rest of the M.A.U. to your gym and have you locked away!
There’s nothing worse than seeing a perfectly healthy individual do partial squats. By doing quarter squats, YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING!
It’s a waste of a movement!
You’re taking an awesome total body movement and just rendering it useless.
It’s the equivalent of buying a beautiful $300,000 Lamborghini and driving 5 mph because you don’t know how to shift out of 1st gear.
Just a waste of money!
Sure you can brag to all your friends about the way the car looks, but the reality is you’re not doing anything with that car!
That’s the same with squatting.
Are You Doing Real Squats?
There are so many muscles involved while doing a squat. By only doing a quarter squat you’re barely tapping into anything significant.
There are some people who have legit reasons for not being able to do a full squat. That is totally understandable.
Back pain, knee pain, etc. If you are rehabbing an injury and trying to get back into squat shape, I get partial squats.
The sad reality is that 99% of the people that do half squats or quarter squats are not aware they are doing them! They are stuck in a fantasy like Johnny.
People like Johnny have let their egos prevent themselves from actually learning how to do a real squat. They are too focused on the number of weight plates instead of the exercise.
If you are unable to do a full squat with that amount of weight, you should not be squatting that weight!
Just because you can complete the movement does not make you better than the person doing a full squat using only the bar.
As a matter of fact, the person using only the bar to do a full squat is using more muscles and burning more calories than Johnny was with his quarter squats!
Even those who can only do bodyweight squats are getting more than Johnny with his partial squats.
Do yourself a favor and do a full squat! Whether it’s bodyweight only or using weights.
What’s the worse squat technique you’ve ever seen at the gym? Share the story below!