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The Truth of Squats

sandbag training

Isn’t it the truth?! We love telling others how to make themselves better by doing what they are not good at, but when it comes to ourselves….well, that can be a different story.

It has happened to me several times. One of the first was when I was convinced to squat as deeply as possible. After going to a seminar in the late 90’s by one of the first mainstream strength coaches, Charles Poliquin, I had my whole world flipped upside down.

You see, when I got into the industry it was the time where you took squats to parallel because going any deeper would make your knees explode! Okay, I’m exaggerating on that part, but people did believe it would be bad for your knees to go any deeper. Heck, it was just NOT something you did.

Funny enough, looking back I don’t remember people really citing any research on why this was, or even if I understood the anatomical arguments people had thrown out to support this point of view. Like many though, I thought was our associations and industry articles said was just true.

The Truth of Squats

Ever wonder why little kids knees don’t just pop off when they deep squat?

That was part of it, but you see there was another reason that buying into such an idea was quite simple. I wasn’t very good at squatting deeply. The reality is I was bad at it because I didn’t work on it, but at the time it didn’t matter, everyone told me I didn’t have to. It was easy to believe this line of thinking because it went with with something I really didn’t want to do anyways.

I’ll be honest, when I first tried squatting deeply after that Charles Poliquin seminar I realized how bad I was at it! This was a tough point of me, I could have easily written off what Poliquin said as craziness and gone back to what I was good at, or, since what he said sounded so reasonable in why we SHOULD be squatting deeply I could look at why I was so bad at it and be honest about it.

squats

How I pretty much felt doing my first deep squats

I remember going to the squat rack, getting under the barbell starting with what I thought was a very conservative weight and going for my first deep squat. Ugh, it was horrible! In fact, it was such a foreign feeling for me that I think I almost fell over! The weight fell so much heavier than when I did my parallel squats that I quickly re-racked the weight before anyone saw me.

That was a pivotal moment though. No one would have thought badly of me if I just went back to my parallel squats, everyone did squats that ways anyways so going back to what was comfortable would have been easy! You see, I’ve never done what was just easy, whether that I was trying out for my basketball team when no one thought I had a chance, going through hours of physical therapy to teach myself how to walk right again after a horrific ankle injury, or learning to deal with the death of my mother and step-mother.

Easy hasn’t been something I have known much about, I have often strived for better most of my life. I’d love to tell you that every time I went after the difficult challenges that I came out on top, but that wasn’t the case. That is unless you find the lessons that I learn to be the success that one really discovers when they choose to really face the challenges that we are apprehensive about, whether big or small.

Trust me, deciding to follow even something as easy as squatting deeply wasn’t an easy one. It didn’t make me feel good to strip the weight of the barbell down to where I was using a whopping 65 pounds (this was after years of already lifting too!). The easy thing would have been to say this wasn’t for me because I was too tall, or that Coach Poliquin was wrong, or my injury history would have prevented me from doing so.

I remember though, hitting that first deep squat after working on it for a few weeks. The achievement was awesome, but the journey to that goal was a reality check. It made me be honest with the fact that I had neglected my mobility, my training programs were not very balanced, and that I didn’t know as much about squats as I thought.

Yet, it was my willingness to believe that I was doing the right thing and seeing when I was honest with myself and prioritized the things I didn’t really like to do that I saw the true results that I wanted.

So, how does all of this relate to what we do with DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training? I’m always very interested in how people react to their first time working with our program. This is especially true of seasoned lifters because DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training usually finds truth in people. Meaning that if you have been neglecting true balance in your training, it will get exposed.

 

That can be either incredibly exciting in finding how we can still grow in our training and achieve results we never thought possible. It can also be frustrating, scary, even causing anger in some. Seemingly it happens to those that think “they got it”. What do they “got”? They have the answers on training, they are invested in their philosophies, training tools, or exercises and seeing how maybe things could be better sends their world upside down.

What becomes so interesting is to see the different directions that people choose. To be honest, my goal is not to force anyone to use DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training. So, for those that choose the path of going back to what they have always done I am okay with, that is their choice. Yet, I will be honest, it has been fascinating to watch those that take the challenge to find their “better” discover all new things about their training, but more importantly their journey with seeing fitness a bit differently.

You see excitement, you see a spark, you see in others the new potential in themselves that is inspiring in of itself. That is why I say DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training isn’t about the “sandbag”, but what the journey of understanding what real world fitness does for changing our lives. However, it is a choice, which one will you make?!