T Nation

Squat Help


So guys I recently started doing squats and my game has improved immensely from it (feel much more explosive and better on ice). So one of my friends who is training to play in the OHL (top junior hockey league in Ontario) says that he can't do them because when he was younger he broke his knee and it hurts when he squats and he also experienced osgood schlatter when he was growing up (back a few years ago).

Also his dad who used to be a body builder (21 inch arms before he tore his bicep and had to slow his training down) says that you shouldn't do them as they shrink your spine while you are still growing (both of us being 17 turning 18). Anyways I am probably going to be training with him all summer and I feel that it would definitely improve his game if he were to start squatting, is there anything I can say or show him to convince him that he should start squatting? Note: He isn't opposed to leg workouts (he does a lot of work on the leg press), any help is appreciated.



Ask him why putting weight on his back for a few seconds a week would cause his growth plates to close. Say, for instance, it takes him three actual minutes under the bar to complete his work sets, and he does his squats once per week: that’s 3 minutes out of 10,080. That’s 0.03% of his young life spent with heavy weights on his back. Does that really seem like enough to cause something as dramatic as stunted growth?

Another thought experiment you can do is ask him if he thinks obese kids’ spines also “shrink?” If not, then what he really believes is that a 300lb fat kid who walks around with over 100lbs of fat 100% of the time won’t have a problem with spinal growth, but a 180lb kid who spends 0.03% of his life with extra weight on his back will? It’s kind of silly when you think about it.


Good form, reasonable weight progression and adequate recovery time is all anyone need to benefit from squatting. Of course, previous knee/spinal issues (as in your bud’s case) must be considered carefully. Anyway, he could try a powerlifting-style squat: bar low on the upper back, going back with hips, trying to keep shins parallel to the ground (basically, think of the movement when sitting to poop…). Leg press put pressure on knees at least as much as squat, so maybe is just a form issue.

Don’t try to convince him to squat, just show him how much squats help you: test your performaces (high-jump, long jump, 40 yards sprint) with him, repeat a month later…He’ll understand by himself why to squat!


The Montreal Canadians use to have to squat their bodyweight for 30 reps. The same with the Swedish Junior National Team. This is from the book, “A Practical Approach to Powerlifting” The official training manual of the IPF, by Larry Shepherd (North Bay) and Bill Jamison (Hamilton).



Heres a couple of points.

17 to 18 years should be fine for a moderate amount of training.

Front squats would be better for you than back squats

Your friend might try deadlifts to see if they cause any problems

Sled work would be a good alternative for you/him.