T Nation

Squatting and bone structure

In the last 2 years i’ve been to 3 different regions of Europe and worked out at different gyms. The problem is whenever I attempt to squat some trainer guy would come and say they won’t let me squat because it will hinder my growth (I am 17) and get me injured. In the one place where I was “allowed” to do squats they would say I should not do full squats and put small weights under my heels lest I injure my knees. Exactly what is the logic behind all of this and what do you recommend me to do where I cannot do squats ?

Actually there is no logic behind it. If they won’t let you squat just do lunges, step-ups, and other things until you can join a real gym someday.

Ask them if they would rush to your side if you were sitting down. How about playing catcher in a baseball game? The point is squating is a very natural movement. In some cultures they squat down instead of sitting. Supposedly there was a study that showed these cultures showed a lower incidence of knee problems as compared to their counter parts in other cultures.

This response works well in a variety of situations: “Eat a dick straight up!” If someone said I couldn’t squat for some reason, I’d tell them to mind their own business and let me do my thing. They are not responsible for you anyway. All gyms have a “train at your own risk” policy. So these ACE-certified trainers need to shut the hell up and back the hell off. I’ve had people watch me squat deep and I can tell they want to say something about it being bad on my knees or back, but they don’t. And if they did, I’d tell them what’s up. I’ve had a few friends ask me why I squat deep, I tell them, they try it out, and find that it’s the best thing they’ve done.

Thanks everybody for the responses, I know that those people are not as knowledgeable or as open-minded and they seem to be scared even when I’m benching my bodyweight but it is still not clear to me why the squats would affect my height ? This is an important issue for me as I want to reach every inch of my growth potential so if you have any opinions on this please let me know.

Following up a bit on what Dave said, and to answer your question (sort of), there are studies here in Japan that show Japanese people as having higher amounts of bone denisty in the thighs (about 10% more) than Westrners. This has been attributed to the practice of sqatting on one’s heels rather than sitting down as well as using “hole in the ground” toilets rather than Western-style sitting types. It’s not genetic because Japanese Americans don’t show the same effects. So no, squatting (or any other kind of weightlifting) will not stunt your growth. If you’re at all worried about it, my advice would be simply not to max out but stick to higher rep ranges until you’re older (21 or so). But I lifted as heavy as possible starting when I was about 15, and I don’t feel as though it hurt my height at all.

If I squat I squat deep but to be honest I think the risk of injury increases the deeper you go (but that is not to say its bad for you provided you stay tight and dont bounce out of the bottom or rest hammys on calves). The weight under the heel just reduces glute, and and increases quad, activation.