I love squats. I truly believe that they are the most important weight training move we can perform. If there was only one lift you could do, I wouldn’t hesitate to make it the squat. Far beyond simply improving your power, squats have a beneficial effect on your hormones.
Testosterone levels are also influenced by the amount of muscle mass activated in response to exercise. Overhead squats, jump squats and free-weight squats all produce large increases in testosterone.1,2 As much as the bench is considered a power movement, to get your testosterone levels skyrocketing, get under a squat bar. Although most people would rather perform a bench press than jump under a squat bar, the bench press is not going to increase testosterone production like a squat.
I also hate squats. If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you know that my state of being for the last 12 calendar months has been one where my hip flexors are tight or impinged. I’ve powered through, which has rendered a significant percentage of my workouts a mental and physical grind. The anticipation of (and ultimately, experiencing) pain equals less productive, less enjoyable sessions, obviously.
I know my body well. There are times when it sends a strong signal that continuing on with my current move will cause damage. These are not those times. I’m not making it worse, but I’m certainly not doing my overall state of well-being any favors.
A few days back, I lifted with my friend Cassidy. She and have performed various workouts together over the last few years and without fail, between sets we discuss our respective ailments. She complains about her shoulder from some paddle boarding or spear throwing incident and I bitch about my hip flexors. She talks about her bulging disk (or whatever) from running 34 miles then teaching two spin classes, and I, once again, bring up my hip flexors.
Due to the lack of variety in my ailments, Cass has gotten sick of listening and sick of watching my squat depth get shallower and shallower. Like the good friend she is, she asked me if I’d follow a mobility plan if she were to write one for me. What a doll.
I answered affirmatively. I didn’t have much of a choice. We often talk about taking a step, and clearly my strategy of doing nothing and complaining about it isn’t making a difference. It’s time for some trial and error.
Yesterday, she delivered on her plan.
I hope this email finds you less grumpy than the other morning 😉
I thought of a million variations of mobility routines you could do for 15 minutes including bands, balls, barbells and all sorts of kinky things but then I thought to myself, this is Gabe. So instead I came up with something shorter that you can do AND can be on your lap top at the same time!
- Couch Stretch- 2 minutes each leg
- Elevated Pigeon- 2 minutes each leg
- Sitting Bottom of the squat like you see me doing all of the time. Sit in your heels pressing your knees out with your elbows keeping a tall spine. 2 minutes here.
I dare you to do this errry day and tell me your hips ain’t opened up.
Too bad I missed you here in Utah, Its super amazing. I’m going to get my picture taken crawling in some mud and climbing some ropes now.
Challenge accepted. Last night, I performed the work out and sent her a quick reply.
“Just did the routine. Squat position was hell.”
Sitting with her number 3 form, attempting to keep a tall spine, was no fun. I’m committed to this. I’ll keep you posted.