TLS Trivia Question #5
Question: The squat exercise…
- is dangerous for the knees
- is dangerous for the back
- serves no purpose
- done properly, is a prerequisite motor skill that improves nearly every movement that facilitates and preserves an active, independent life, from work to sport to recreation to old age. Also, squatting burns a large amount of calories.
Answer: Perhaps the exercise deemed by so many people as evil has more to do with its capacity to build supra-human strength than its positive contribution to life, work, and recreation, or its reliability in extending independence and physical function into old age.
People (even many personal trainers who should know better) possess a preconceived bias that the squat exercise involves a 200-pound barbell, but never even imagine that this compound exercise often starts with just body weight, perhaps even assisted by a chair.
Another reason for rampant bias against the squat exercise — especially the back squat — is that it provides the body with inherently high mechanical leverage so that large weight can be lifted. Given time and training adaptation, experienced lifters can squat hundreds of pounds, with top weight regularly exceeding 1,000 pounds.
With this kind of weight lifted, it’s easy to see why so many people — even so-called professional fitness trainers — suffer a cognitive dissonance: they think the squat exercise must be for meatheads only, yet they don’t think about what they had to do to take a shit in the morning.
Done properly, the squat exercise is no more dangerous to the back or knee as any other exercise deemed benign and safe — except that the squat exercise can be considered the king of all exercise because in single, primal motion it positively stimulates the entire musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory, and endocrine systems.
The problem with the squat is that too many bozos in the gym (or people working with under-qualified trainers) perform it with improper technique or progress inappropriately with aggressive weight.
Done well and with proper progression, the squat can be a stand-alone exercise that stimulates the entire body for amazing functional strength, functional longevity, and, because of its significant stimulus to the other systems of the body, improved health.
The answer is D.