Friday, April 17, 2015

Days without squat injury: 1900

So I purchased a set of barbells and a home bench/squat rack a few weeks ago from Steve. I am so happy. I've missed Squat Day these last 10 months without a real gym.

The difference between a standalone squat rack and a power rack is that a power rack surrounds you with four posts and has safety bars on the sides to catch a drop at your knees instead of letting the barbell crush you. Squat racks or stands have just a pair of catches that you have to stand between or fall toward. I have squat stands, with catches about 18" deep. This works for me for two reasons. #1, I do tend to fail forward. (QUESTION: trainer-therapists ready to diagnose my weakness... GO!) #2, I am long past any need to train max singles ever again.

I have only ever dropped one squat in my entire life. I was training front squats, healthy and moving well that day. I beat my max single by 10lb and tried another 10lb. 'Clang!' I had a chuckle at my own expense and resumed squatting smarter loads without a moment's hesitation.

The whole "squats are bad for your knees" myth from a single paper in the 70s, the current "squats are bad for your back" argument trending on the internet, it's all so much chatter to me. I do not discount the value of regressed squat movements for people who need them, but squats have done more to repair me than to hurt me by any measure.

I'm committed to being bigger and stronger when I reach 46 than I was when I reached 45. Traditional "20-rep squats" cycles taught me to dig deep and grind out, but they just trashed me. I'm no longer equipped for that kind of risk and abuse, so I've been looking for more of a minimum effective dose. I'm doing sets of 5-10 now, adding weight weekly to my FIRST set and feeling out the remaining sets as each day goes. So far, it feels good. I haven't come anywhere near a max or a failure, and I'm almost up to my routine working weight from last Spring.

ANSWER: it's my hips. I've got screws in one femur and a foot of scar tissue in the external rotator. If a lift is just utterly too heavy, my butt will squirt out behind me and lock my knees. I need hamstring work. Guessing "upper back work" would be an honest good guess for this particular trick question. If you said "opposite-limb mobility drills", you're not a therapist and you should feel bad for pretending to be one with your clients. People do need doctors sometimes.

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