This week I want to talk about the most important, most prevalent, most controversial, most irritating, most consistent thing in fitness right now….. Quarter squatting.
I am not sure how it became such a large element of the industry, but it is now and so I wish to address it. On the surface, it is good that all these people are squatting I totally cannot complain about that because squatting is an integral part of building lower body strength. However, an interesting drawback of the increased popularity of strength sports is a definitive lack of education. There are so many people presenting a snapshot of their lives on social media. A large portion of people assume that a 100K Instagram following automatically means a corresponding education to support this.
However, this is rarely the case. Fitness social media is full of irrelevant bullshit and uninformed rhetoric that is forced out by the vested interest of companies trying to make a profit. The most prevalent element of this misinformed ridiculousness is not squatting to depth. Now I am not entirely sure how this came about, I theorise that it was somewhat due to bodybuilding and constant tension movements and somewhat due to the laziness that infiltrates all aspects of our world. People refuse to put in the small effort to research how to correctly complete exercises and the comparative ease of squatting halfway down, makes it a more attractive option for many beginner lifters.
Clearly, for those of us in the powerlifting world at least the IPF squatting to quarter depth only provides us with red lights. Although, maybe that is also another issue. Many powerlifting federations seem to allow questionable squats simply to boost their comparative records. One must only consider the recent RPS and SPF controversy of some ridiculously high squats that received world record status. In my opinion, high squatting in any facet especially powerlifting devalues the entire sport. My current PR 440 is definitely significant for me, in addition, I worked really, really hard to get to that and there are definitely people that have worked even longer to get there. But, every time I check my Instagram feed or go into my gym I see someone squatting something they are far from capable of and claiming a PR.
Pages like Quarter Squat Gang and Infinite Elgintensity vilify the cheaters, and they help to popularise the clear need for better education in this respect. But clearly, they do not do enough. This post was not only inspired by the hundreds of cheater squat videos I have seen on the internet but more prominently, by one of my best friends. We started working out together a little under a year ago, he had previously played football and soccer in high school, so he had good base strength and experience with lifting weights. However, the biggest issue we faced was his inability to squat to depth. Well, it was not his inability to do so per se. But, more significantly the fact that he would have to forgo a significant amount of weight from the barbell.
When we first started working out together he could probably squat 225 to half depth with pretty significant form breakdown and a lot of pain. So we stripped back, got him doing a much lighter weight for more reps, to full depth. We built solid form and then began to add weight again in a linear fashion. 2 months of solid training later and he could squat 275 with relative ease to full depth with minimal form degradation. I use this example to illustrate the point that ego is difficult to surpass. My friend had to throw away a lot of his working weight and accept a lot more from work just to get back to his previous weight. But, the end result is more than worth the small price he had to pay. He is now able to squat around 285 to full depth with no pain a drastically different scenario than before.
The issue is that sports team and Instagram coaches perpetuate the notion that it is fine to squat to depth ruin your eyes and have terrible form, but, one of the biggest goals of this blog and the company is to provide easy access to correct guidance and help people to be open-minded. It is impossible to succeed in any facet of life if you are not willing to accept that you have room to grow and more to learn. If you are genuinely interested in progressing in strength training or powerlifting please check out the website: collegestrength.org for free training plans and our coaching services. All coaching plans are free for the first month. If you have a genuine interest please fill out the coaching form. If you have simple form questions send your videos to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you some feedback, as our primary goal is to help our community grow and improve. Remember strength has no limit!