Category Archives: Topic of the Week

Should Women Squat if They Don’t Want Big Legs?

Question: Should women squat if they don’t want big legs?

Short Answer: Yes, as long as there are no orthopedic conditions that would preclude doing them. The squat is THE primary foundational movement in strength training and it will assist the vast majority of women in achieving their health, strength, and physique goals. The long answer is going to take me some time to fully explain, especially considering my tendency to go off on tangents, so bear with me.

Pictures Don’t Lie, or Do They?

If you’re on social media, then chances are you’re already a huge believer in squats. After all, pictures don’t lie. We have the Yeah, She Squats Facebook page with almost 1.3 million followers and a zillion pictures of amazing booties, the Squatspo Instagram page with 1.6 million followers and another zillion pictures of incredible glutes, and another hundred other pages dedicated toward teaching women through pictures why they should squat (or better yet, entertaining men for hours on end with endless butt pictures). And you thought my website was risqué..

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Don’t Be a Slave to the Scale

Does the following story sound vaguely familiar to any of you? You wake up and look in the mirror. You are delighted to find that your physique is looking very good. Your see that your body is leaning out nicely and your muscles are shaping up well. You put your workout attire on and pleasantly discover that the clothes are fitting you very well – snug in all the right places and loose where it matters. You hit the gym and kick some serious butt, setting strength records in multiple exercises. A couple of gym members pay you compliments, informing you that you are looking fantastic. Everything is going great, and your day is off to an excellent start. Then, you step on the scale, and all of your glee comes to a screeching halt. You’ve gained a few pounds, and knowing this absolutely ruins your day.

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Why Do People’s Knees Cave Inward When They Squat?

Strength coaches and physical therapists tend to use fancy terminology to describe knee caving in a squat. For example, the terms knee valgus, valgus collapse, and medial knee displacement are tossed around quite frequently. Most strength coaches believe knee caving to be undesirable from a knee health standpoint. Countless greats in S&C circles seem to fall into this camp, including experts ranging from Kelly Starrett, to Louie Simmons, to Dan John, to Mike Boyle, to Mark Rippetoe, to Eric Cressey, to Tony Gentilcore, to Mike Robertson. It is thought that keeping the knees tracking over the toes in the squat will produce the least internal load on the passive knee structures, thereby keeping them healthy. Another champion of the knees out strategy is yours truly. I’ve written articles and filmed plenty of videos on this topic, including THIS one addressing valgus collapse as a whole, THIS one showing a simple squat correction, THIS one discussing coaching cues. Also, THIS guest blog from Derrick Blanton shows another simple correction strategy, and HERE is an article by my colleague Chris Beardsley discussing the mechanisms of knee valgus.

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Why is there hesitation with regard to the application of heavy weight room intensities for the post-rehabilitated athlete and during an athlete’s in-season training?

Robert A. Panariello MS, PT, ATC, CSCS
Professional Physical Therapy
Professional Athletic Performance Center
New York, New York

In my 30+ years of practice in the related professional fields of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy as a Physical Therapist (PT) and Athletic Trainer (ATC), as well as the performance enhancement training of athletes as a Strength and Conditioning (S&C) Coach, I have witnessed and/or had discussions with many medical/health care professionals and S&C Coaches whom have expressed concern with regard to the application of heavy weight intensities in the training program design of their athletes. The concern for the application of heavy weight intensities usually transpires under the circumstances of either (a) the post-rehabilitation athlete returning to the weight room for their athletic performance enhancement training and/or (b) an in-season program design that includes heavy weight intensities as part of the (any) athlete’s weight room training. Some of these medical/health care and S&C professionals are leaders in their particular profession and the majority of these professionals demonstrate excellent knowledge and clinical skills; however, the concern for the application of heavy weight intensities upon the athlete during weight room training often remains the subject of controversy with the concern of possible injury to the athlete during heavy weight intensity exercise performance.

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