Holy shit. Did I just say that?
I think I just heard hundreds of my current and former clients collectively gasp.
Let me explain…………..
Do I think you should attempt to squat to parallel? Yes, of course you should attempt to squat to parallel.
Do I think squatting to parallel should be done on a regular basis? Yes, it should be done on a regular basis.
Are you cheating yourself if you don’t squat to parallel? Yes, you’re cheating yourself if you don’t squat to parallel.
Does squatting to parallel or not squatting to parallel make a lick of difference in your quest to be lean, mean, healthy, and muscular?
Nope. Not one bit.
There’s a huge, massive contradiction between online training and personal training. Every once in a while, I’ll get a prospective inquiry and the client says, “How are we going to meet up if I live (somewhere) and you live in Michigan?”
To which, obviously the answer is…………well…………we don’t meet up. It always throws people for a loop. It admittedly is sort of weird.
Some people begin scratching their heads. If I’m not going to be physically training them in the gym, then what’s the point of an online trainer? How could an online trainer help you? If I’m not right there next to you, giving you cues as to how to squat, deadlift, and bench press properly, how do I even have a value?
And this is where things get a bit interesting…………..and I get to tell you, truthfully……………that I really don’t give a shit if you squat to parallel.
Actually, I don’t give a shit if you squat at all. You really don’t need to deadlift either, and in all honesty, you could do just fine without bench presses, too.
This post may rustle some jimmies.
Now, we need to be clear on something – physical activity is going to be a requirement if you’re going to get lean and strong. Totally, 100%.
And being strong is going to be a rather large indicator of if you’re ever going to be “huge”. If you want it to be blatantly obvious that you do, in fact, “even lift”, you’re going to have to go through some very specific periods of time in your life where you lift heavy and eat big. You’re gonna have to train for some hypertrophy with the high rep ranges, you’re going to have to train for some strength with the low rep ranges, you’re gonna have to eat and eat and eat. And when you’re done, you’re gonna have to go get some dessert.
But most of us? Most of us, in actuality, don’t really care about that stuff. Most of us care about being healthy, vibrant…………..and not fat.
Seriously. That’s pretty much the #1 goal of everyone who comes my way, and my guess is it’s going to be the #1 goal of most people who hire an online trainer. To not be fat. Even though that sounds a bit harsh to hear it phrased that way……….if you could eliminate the fat on someone’s body, they would most likely be content.
And what happens when you lean all the way out? And you’re finally content? You will likely become interested in other “fitness things”. Such as………….(wait for it)……………squatting to parallel and deadlifting big numbers.
But that doesn’t mean it’s a necessity. For any goal. No matter what that goal is.
There’s this guy who lifts at my gym. Nice guy. About my age. He comes in and lifts at the same time I do. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. At right around 4 pm. By all means, he’s fit. He’s lean, he’s muscular, he’s strong. He looks good. And guess what? He leaves every fucking squat 3 inches high.
I used to roll my eyes a bit when I saw him leaving those things high. Thought to myself, “Dude can’t even get down there. How lame.”
But after a while, I thought about it…………..and here’s a guy who’s in his late 20’s, he’s in better shape than 99% of civilization, he’s married with a kid and a nice job, he looks fit and strong…………and he leaves his squats high.
And this observation became a bit of an epiphany.
What determines your ability to look lean and strong? Is it squatting to parallel? Nope. Is it even back squatting AT ALL? Probably not. You’ll look just fine with some leg presses, goblet squats, hip thrusts, lunges, and front squats.
You do need to be sure to program SOME leg movements. We ARE trying to improve our overall strength here.
So, what makes you lean and strong then? Deadlifting? Nah. Some pull-ups and chin-ups will develop your back over time. Bench presses? Dips and overhead press would work, I’m sure.
So, what gives? What makes you lean, strong, and healthy over time? Well, a couple of items.
1. Resistance training with progressive overload. You should be weight training using decent form and the weights should get heavier over time. It doesn’t NEED to be every single session. But if you look back in a year, you should see more weight/reps/volume over the course of time.
2. Consistent dietary adherence. Gotta do your thing in the kitchen – on most days. Have some slip-ups, sure. But you have to be able to brush yourself off and pick yourself back up.
3. Patience. This will likely take a while. Especially if you plan on taking this thing “all the way”.
Are there other things you need? Sure. Self-reflection, self-acceptance, self-compassion, objectivity, desire, etc., etc., etc.
But a squat to parallel? A heavy deadlift? A big bench press? They’re all fine and dandy. But they won’t determine your progress. They may determine your RATE of progress. You might get stronger MORE QUICKLY utilizing these exercises. If you want to develop powerful hips and a huge yoke, you’d better deadlift.
But most of us would rather just be a healthy and happy version of ourselves. The powerful hips and huge yoke would just be a bonus.
Name ONE, SINGLE OBESE PERSON who is sitting there saying, “I really don’t get it. I’ve trained 3 times per week for two years and hit my macros DAILY. And I’m still fat. You know what? I’ll bet it’s because my squat form sucks! I’d better work on that.”
Ummmmmmm…………no. That shit just doesn’t happen.
After hundreds of VERY happy clients, clients who are happy, fit, healthy, and have had their life altered – permanently – for the better, one thing is for certain:
I have no clue how many of those people are squatting to parallel.
Only a very small number have ever sent me video to critique their form. Less than 5.
The rest? No idea.
And quite frankly, it doesn’t even fucking matter unless you’re gonna compete in a powerlifting competition. Which is highly unlikely.
Sorry to burst your bubble.
Oh yeah, one last thing…………if you are going to take this post as an excuse to stop squatting because you’re scared of them and they’re difficult, then I have a message for you:
Yours in true health,