3

votes

Could Grok squat more than he could pick up?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 03, 2012 at 10:43 PM

As I venture back into strength training, I'm wondering if barbell squats are evolutionary possible at the weights most strength athletes perform them? Grok didn't have a power rack but he did haul meat. Should we only lift what we can: pick up,drag, push (ex rocks and trees)?

past experience: couldn't lift 100lb punching bag from flat ground to shoulder, but could squat 200lbs in a cage.

Many will say to work on rows and deadlifts to strength the low back, but my question is wouldn't it be safer/more natural to lift what we can without assistance?

Thanks

C8a5c6d2804326646bb274e491f7f21b

(534)

on July 05, 2012
at 05:18 PM

For "Running under a load", which activity would you speculate was performed most frequently: carrying (food/water,kids,injured persons,etc...) , or dragging objects (running backwards), etc..?

C8a5c6d2804326646bb274e491f7f21b

(534)

on July 05, 2012
at 05:05 PM

I dig the goblet squat, as long as feet are mainly parallel, i find it to be a very natural movement. Like a weighted version of Mobility WOD's squat.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:23 PM

To answer your question, there's no reason that an exercise should be preferred or avoided based exclusively on a "caveman stereotype". Ultimately, exercise programs should be based on science. In the absence of empirical evidence, however, an evolutionary-based evaluation is almost certainly the best place to start.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 04, 2012
at 03:32 PM

Good question. Squatting with weights whilst very effective at endocrine stimulation and lower body muscle development and strength is not a movement that our ancestors would likely perform frequently. Running at speed or under load is more natural.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 04, 2012
at 01:15 PM

Furthermore, how is it possible that you could squat 200 on a rack, and I am assuming you mean 5x5 and not 1RM -BUT can not figure out how to get a 100lb punching bag off the floor and onto your shoulder? Further more, why would you want to do that? You would drag a 100-300lb animal if you had to move it, not carry it. I can squat 310 5x5. I am certain I can drag 150lbs of meat for 20K without ever having the thought of failing cross my mind. I would never be able to do that without squats and DLs.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:38 AM

@JayJay - I was assuming proper form and load as given in my answer. Thousands of highly paid professional athletes, from volleyball players to rugby players, perform heavy barbell squats everyday, to their benefit. Furthermore, deadlifting, or generally, lifting heavy things with the hands, puts a very similar "top - loading" force on the spine as the arms hang from the shoulders. Weight training isn't "natural" nor seen in evolution. Exposure to all sorts of muscular stress was. Olympic weight lifting is an effective way to induce the most muscular stress with the least risk of injury.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:37 AM

@JayJay - I was assuming proper form and load as given in my answer. Thousands highly paid professional athletes, from volleyball players to rugby players, perform heavy barbell squats everyday, to their benefit. Furthermore, deadlifting, or generally, lifting heavy things with the hands, puts a very similar "top - loading" force on the spine as the arms hang from the shoulders. Weight training isn't "natural" nor seen in evolution. Exposure to all sorts of muscular stress was. Olympic weight lifting is an effective way to induce the most muscular stress with the least risk of injury.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:22 AM

@ChrisJ - I agree that lifting atlas stones might be slightly more effective at developing functional strength. But not more practical. Olympic bars/weights/squat racks are found in almost every gym, and can be easily adjusted for the desired weight a person needs according to their workout regime. As for muscle imbalances, the squat is a compound lift that works many major muscle groups and taxes the nervous system -it is not an isolation exercise.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:14 AM

Please though, ignore the point and say "shut up and squat".

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:13 AM

Actually there are plenty of arguments as to why they are not exactly safe, along with the issue Chris just mentioned. Top loading the spine with a weight you could not have lifted to that point from the ground seems quite likely to produce an incongruent force with how our bodies are made to function.

C8a5c6d2804326646bb274e491f7f21b

(534)

on July 04, 2012
at 12:39 AM

I don't doubt that they are, but I would argue that an exercise such as lifting Atlas Stones would be more functional and possibly result in less muscular imbalances.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 03, 2012
at 11:49 PM

I think it's a good question and I don't ever do heavy squats for a variety of reasons (though I do still squat, just at higher repetitions from 15-30). This is why the leg press is actually more beneficial at developing overall lower body strength in a compound movement that does not heavily load the spine.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 03, 2012
at 11:48 PM

I think it's a good question and I don't ever do heavy squats for a variety of reasons (though I do still squat, just at higher repetitions from 15-30). This is why the leg press (yes isolation, but w/e) is actually more beneficial at developing overall lower body strength in a compound movement that does not heavily load the spine.

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3 Answers

1
0361cceaf703c92f99848b078bfc9f67

(225)

on July 04, 2012
at 08:19 PM

Do a goblet squat. I suspect that it mimics natural lifting movement more than back squats. It seems more natural to me that someone would lift something from the ground, hold the object close to their chest, and then squat up if needed to move the object to a higher space. I tried many variations of the back squat (ass to grass, raised heels, etc...), but it never felt right with my back. Since adopting the goblet squat as my main leg exercise my back has not had any problems. I focus on doing higher reps since the weight will not be close to what you could do with a back squat. It also depends on your gym. I'm using 100 lb dumbbell now, and they max out at 125 lbs.

C8a5c6d2804326646bb274e491f7f21b

(534)

on July 05, 2012
at 05:05 PM

I dig the goblet squat, as long as feet are mainly parallel, i find it to be a very natural movement. Like a weighted version of Mobility WOD's squat.

1
3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on July 03, 2012
at 11:42 PM

Squats are a safe and effective way to build useful full body strength. Why preclude something based on hypothetical incongruence with an archetypical caveman stereotype?

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:37 AM

@JayJay - I was assuming proper form and load as given in my answer. Thousands highly paid professional athletes, from volleyball players to rugby players, perform heavy barbell squats everyday, to their benefit. Furthermore, deadlifting, or generally, lifting heavy things with the hands, puts a very similar "top - loading" force on the spine as the arms hang from the shoulders. Weight training isn't "natural" nor seen in evolution. Exposure to all sorts of muscular stress was. Olympic weight lifting is an effective way to induce the most muscular stress with the least risk of injury.

F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on July 04, 2012
at 04:23 PM

To answer your question, there's no reason that an exercise should be preferred or avoided based exclusively on a "caveman stereotype". Ultimately, exercise programs should be based on science. In the absence of empirical evidence, however, an evolutionary-based evaluation is almost certainly the best place to start.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on July 04, 2012
at 02:13 AM

Actually there are plenty of arguments as to why they are not exactly safe, along with the issue Chris just mentioned. Top loading the spine with a weight you could not have lifted to that point from the ground seems quite likely to produce an incongruent force with how our bodies are made to function.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:22 AM

@ChrisJ - I agree that lifting atlas stones might be slightly more effective at developing functional strength. But not more practical. Olympic bars/weights/squat racks are found in almost every gym, and can be easily adjusted for the desired weight a person needs according to their workout regime. As for muscle imbalances, the squat is a compound lift that works many major muscle groups and taxes the nervous system -it is not an isolation exercise.

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on July 04, 2012
at 01:15 PM

Furthermore, how is it possible that you could squat 200 on a rack, and I am assuming you mean 5x5 and not 1RM -BUT can not figure out how to get a 100lb punching bag off the floor and onto your shoulder? Further more, why would you want to do that? You would drag a 100-300lb animal if you had to move it, not carry it. I can squat 310 5x5. I am certain I can drag 150lbs of meat for 20K without ever having the thought of failing cross my mind. I would never be able to do that without squats and DLs.

C8a5c6d2804326646bb274e491f7f21b

(534)

on July 04, 2012
at 12:39 AM

I don't doubt that they are, but I would argue that an exercise such as lifting Atlas Stones would be more functional and possibly result in less muscular imbalances.

3975bae934a5ee8ea4af850e960f576a

(45)

on July 04, 2012
at 05:38 AM

@JayJay - I was assuming proper form and load as given in my answer. Thousands of highly paid professional athletes, from volleyball players to rugby players, perform heavy barbell squats everyday, to their benefit. Furthermore, deadlifting, or generally, lifting heavy things with the hands, puts a very similar "top - loading" force on the spine as the arms hang from the shoulders. Weight training isn't "natural" nor seen in evolution. Exposure to all sorts of muscular stress was. Olympic weight lifting is an effective way to induce the most muscular stress with the least risk of injury.

0
A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

on July 04, 2012
at 03:06 PM

I include barbell back squats in my strength training program on a weekly basis. I do them heavy and I think that they offer a valuable component to a strength program. That being said, I respect Steve Maxwell a ton and he wrote an article on the barbell back squat and how necessary it may be for some people/athletes. It's a short article with some great points and worth consideration.

Here's the link: http://www.maxwellsc.com/blog.cfm?blogID=70

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