Squats arent bad for you?!?! Are they?

I just told my friend that I do squats in my workout and he freaked out saying that they are so bad for you and how it messes your knees. I keep telling him its not true but I don’t have any evidence backing it up. Does anybody know where I can find out this info?


Just look at your friend and say, “Baaaaa Baaaaa.” (Sheep noises)

Or if you’re not an asshole like me, you could look up my interview with Dr. Ken Kinakin called “Smart Training.” You’ll find both parts in issues 74 and 75 of T-mag. I believe he explains the origins of that myth there. Hope this helps.

Bill Starr also discusess the “scientific study” that led to this conclusion, and the problems with the study, in The Strongest Shall Survive (which is recomended reading anyway, so you might as well pick it up).

Let me add to the already excellent advice here to stay away from squats in a Smith Machine, as it forces your body through unnatural motions. There are numerous cautions against Smith squats in the T-mag archives and other places. Now I have first-hand knowledge why. My knees were fine, but I screwed up my back doing them! - Nylo

You can also find additional info on the squat, and how to do it properly on Fred hatfields web site, The URL is his nickname.com

I can’t avoid the Smith Machine. I workout at a ‘Wellness’ Center so I don’t have a choice. While I think squatting using free weights is superior I wouldn’t count out the Smith Machine. I have an email from Ian King stating the same thing. I would encourage full squats. I have incorporated these for the last 6 months and a recent ski trip proved that my legs were much stronger and I didn’t suffer from fatigue.

The NSCA publishes a position paper on squatting. I believe it’s free and you should be able to get it by accessing their website.

Poliquin answers this exact question in a Gang of Five column.

I’d go for Chris Shugart’s advice. But you could also just roll the ball back and ask HIM for some evidence for his claims. He prolly dont even know that “study” done way back.

ARGH…I hate the fact that squats are still getting a bad rap!

I won’t get into detailed science to explain this (as your friend probably wouldn’t have a clue what I’m saying), but because of the hamstring recruitment doing squats, the shear stresses on the knee are balanced (ie: no damage). The reason Smith machine squats are so hard on the knees is that the hammys are taken out of the exercise, leading to even more shear strain than doing leg extensions.


I used to do leg extensions and curls only for years and started to get knee problems.I had no idea what the problem was. The trainers at the gym told me it was because of doing squats.(the problem was I did none). I decided to use polquins advice and started doing full “ass to the grass” squats and my knees have never felt better.I tell this to others and they are amazed that my legs don’t shear off by doing these I keep hearing things like , ass to the grass squats are the worst thing in the world, by the time your 40 you won’t walk anymore(hahaha I am way past 40).But listen If I had one excersice to do it would be full squats.

I’ve been squating for over 10 years w/o a knee problem. Any knee problems I’ve gotten over the years have come from twisting motions in sports (plant cleat in mud, turn to tackle, cleat sticks in mud). If anything, squats have helped decrease the number of knee problems I’ve had. Not that that’s based on anything but my own observations.

Thanks for all your help guys, I appreciate it.
I told him about the information that you guys helped me find and he just gave me a blank stare and that was the end of it.

Bolo, there are 3 things you can do with weight training. 1- listen to jokers at he gym who have no real knowledge, just “fitness Club” knowledge and never ever go any where in training, same workout, same body years later 2- study/read your ass off (Poliquin once told me 4 hours a day on top of everything else you do in life) and try and help others at the gym. The problem is no one will listen and you take away from your training. 3- study as above and worry about your self.(your training partner included) Don’t be one of those know all/ see all guys at the gym. Spending 3 hours at the gym 2 of it talking and giving out free advise. Go to gym and focus on yourself & your goals. In 3 years etc where do you want to be?? If some one is going to hurt themselves help, but if some guy is 1/8 squatting and thinks he is the shit, forget him. Focus on your workout. Guys come ask me while I’m working out what to do. “Gee what can I do to bench like you??” First you never bug someone working out, ask them in the change room, outside his workout etc. I always tell them if they are bugging me & are scabs in my eyes, to go do 100 reps on the cable cross for 1/2 hour. Why? it keeps them out of my way.