T Nation

Anybody NOT squatting?

I would rathar squat and deadlift, but my back has some imbalances in it that have caused me to get hurt in the past. For example, my right leg is shorter than the left, and I have an “S” shaped spine. When I do a full squat, what I feel happening is that the S starts to crunch a little bit.

I know in the past I had trouble gaining until I started squatting and deadliting.

For example in the recent article with Shamrock, he says he doesn’t do squats or deadlits because of the damage it puts on the body, and because he’s broken his back a couple of times. But look at the dude, his legs are ripped! I know he doesn’t get that kindof size just from power cleans alone.

I also remember from college that alot of the bodybuilders only did leg press and lunges, and they had pretty thick legs.

Any thoughts on anybody who has had to deal with this dilemma? I’d rathar squat and dead, because I know I’ve made alot of gains from those lifts, but if it risks putting me on the sidelines for months at a time, it’s not worth it to me.

Ok, remember, this guy is a fighter, not a lifter. Ever watch the forms these guys go through? Think of doing a bodyweight half-squat and hold it for 20 minutes. Legs shaking yet? He avoids these movements for two reasons – structural problems due to the spinal fractures, and that it’s detrimental to the techniques for his fighting (as in overtraining).

Squats and Deads are phenomenal exercises and should still be done. Maybe lighten the load and still perform those lifts, but start to add a greater variety of leg movements. Ian King’s limpins series has many to offer. Personally I love lunges and feel that they are just under squats and deads in terms of mass development.

Check out ironmind.com, they sell a hip harness that is used for squatting. It is a great product and is mostly likely the ideal thing for your porblem. It was also reviewed on this site.

I agree with brider. Shamrock receives ALOT of leg work due to his MMA training. My legs got VERY ripped due to Karate, also. BUT I was also performing squats in my leg training.

How come your problem sounds like "scoliosis"? Am I correct?

i quit backsquatting altogether recently but still do front squats…

Thanks for the advice everybody.

I’ll probably give the hip belt a try. I have a dipping belt so maybe I’ll start with that and some steel boxes from home depot.

Patricia,

The doctor said it wasn’t full fledged scoliosis, but it was “close.” I know I was checked alot as a kid for slouching.

I can do full squats and deads up to about 300 pounds, and that’s when I start to feel the crunch.

If you watch me squat, you’ll see that my left hip comes up before the right one. I can do 3/4 squats with no problem, it’s the bottom of the squat where I feel the most compression. Where you’ll see my left hip go down first. I think the only way I could fix that would be to take my spine out and hammer it straight and then put it back in!

Work on strengthening your abs, obliques,lower back muscles and glutes. There are ways to work around and improve imbalances. Nobody is perfect. But squats and deadlifts are two of the best exercise around. Louie Simmon’s has broken his back and he still squats tremendous amounts of weight.

Okay I’ve done some digging around and here’s what I’ve found so far:

  1. Smith machine not only sucks but can be worse on your back and knees than regular squats. This seems to back up my own experiences.

  2. Stuart McRobert over at HardGainer has the EXACT same problem that I do. He uses a machine called Tru-Squat. This looks like a pretty good piece of equipment.

www.southernxercise.com/trusquat.htm

  1. It looks like there is an even BETTER piece of equipment called Power Squat Pro from Pendulum.

www.pendulumfitness.com/Pages/squat.html

Both of these devices are nicer to your lower back and knees than regular bar squats. Though I have read some guys have had problems with knees using the Tru Squat.

I am going to do some digging and find out if any of the Los Angeles area gyms are carrying these pieces of equipment. I’ll let you guys know what I find. If anybody here works out in LA and uses one of these things, let me know.

You need to go to an podiatrist who can make you orthodics to even out your leg length discrepency. Combine this with a good chiropractor and you should be on your way. Also check out Paul Check’s site, he has a number of refrences to doctors and articles that can be of help-one exercise that he uses for this type of problem is a db shrug/high cable pushdown, both arms are down to your sides.

Okay one more!

I’ve read some good thing about the Med-X Leg Press. German built so you know it’s all good. This one works the glutes especially hard, it’s like a leg press/squat hybrid thing:

http://www.medxonline.com/page18.html

Anybody else find any other good squat machines let me know! I know Hammer makes some squat machines.

I love it when people say they avoid squats and deadlifts beacuse of the damage they can cause. Do them with PERFECT form and never more weight than you can handle and you’ll find your knees and lower back will feel fantastic. They work wonders for the joints and ligaments as they do for the muscles, avoid them and avoid a kick ass physique.

Kent,

Thanks for the advice, I’ll check that out that site. I do have an orthotic for my right leg, it has evened out the hip bone. It’s the spine which I don’t know can be fixed.

Oh and Jochen, your advice ist nicht sehr gut. The reason I am considering alternatives to these 2 excercises is not because it “might” cause damage, but because it HAS caused damage. I work on my form and havn’t pushed the limits, but when your body has an imbalance like that, it’s physically IMPOSSIBLE to somehow morph your body into having “good form.”

Another 2-cents, make sure that you stretch. I know that this is very basic, but I have found that the majority of people with a good deal of back pain have poor back flexability. Also, check the flexability of your hipflexors and hamstrings-or just stretch them, cause you should do that anyway. Next, make sure that your abb strength is up to par. Let me know if you have any other questions. kent_mc2

I have lower back pain too, so I stopped squatting and found a hack squat machine in or gym. It isn’t as effective as a squat, but it is effective enough for me. You can always combine that with leg presses, and lunges.

Scoliosis won’t get worse by squating. Doctors recomend weight lifting to people with mild scoliosis, and to people with severe scoliosis after it is mostly fixed with those orthopedic shirts.

In fact, a weight lifting world champion had scoliosis. Sorry, but I can't remember his name.

Ramses- there is a picture of that guy in this month’s PowerLifting USA -black guy, REALLY long arms and scoliosis, the scoliosis allowed him to deadlift very heavy because as he would stand up his spine would crunch down and he didn’t have to lift the weight up as far.

Ramses and pda,

Thanks an interesting take on things.

I have really long arms also, and my deadlifts have always been pretty powerful relative to my weak squats. I will try and dig around for that guy you are talking about and see what his story is.

Also thanks for the input everybody else who took the time out to reply. This is all very helpful to get everyone’s take on this issue.

I noticed that when I squat my hips drift right. I figure it’s a flexibility issue, so I have quit squatting for awhile to take care of it. In the meantime I’ve been doing split squats, step ups, lunges - unilateral compound exercises - and they seem to be working just about as well as squats did.

Shamrock doesn’t do forms he is a fighter not a traditional martial artist. Forms are for Karate and tae kwon do type arts.