Wednesday, August 23, 2006

You Don't Know Squat....

If you think the human knee never goes over the toe, or never should go over the toe.

Thanks to Vern G for bringing up the knee topic. This IS one of the major problems in athletic development in this country. This myth is propagated by most every physical therapist, personal trainer and strength coach in this country. My mother could probably spout it back to me if I asked the right questions.

The whole thing started with a research (and I'll use the term very loosely with this) article by a Dr. Karl Klein in 1961.

Everyday, people young and old are told this myth. And slowly but surely, we are becoming a nation of people who have ZERO leg strength and lower exremity mobility. And our back health SUFFERS because of it. What is even worse, is that many strength coaches and fitness professionals are teaching young athletes to squat by using this cue: Sit your butt back and stay on your heels.

First, no athlete moves, jumps--does ANYTHING from their heels. Second, this does put higher loads on the lumbar spine. Third, it perpetuates poor lower extremity flexibility.

I'll talk more in a future post about my personal style of teaching squats. But for now, feel free to go here to access a Terry Todd opinion/historical article on Dr. Klein and the whole subject, as well as see a recent study by Dr. Andy Fry and his group on torso inclination/knee position while squatting. Scroll down to the Documents box. This Fry article is the one Vern refers to in the referenced post.

P.S. The lifter in the second picture is Peter Kelly, multiple-time US Olympian. Pete tore an ACL skiing and had no trouble coming back to competitive lifting. Let's see, I wonder what kind of results we would come up with if we compared the number of knee ligament injuries from skiing vs squatting/competitive lifting....

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