Today, I start another go around of #SquatLife. What exactly is that? Judging by the name I bet anyone could guess it has to do something with squats/squatting. Proceed no further because that is exactly what it is:
Squats. Squatting. Squat Every Day.
^ Cory Gregory (#SquatLife)
I have enjoyed some previous runs of squatting daily over the past year and a half, reaching just over 120 days once and up to 60 on another occasion. My legs and core were solid during those stretches. All of my lifts, squats and deadlifts, went up. Throw in some lunges from time to time and we are looking at a rock solid foundation.
Right now you might be thinking that is absurd. I respond with, “Is it truly absurd? Do we squat daily already and not realize it?” Squatting daily happens whether you are a fitness enthusiast or couch potato. Every time you sit to stand, reach down for objects, get out of the car or bed and pick up the baby…with decent form, you are squatting.
So…is squatting daily with weights still crazy? I think not. Attacking the legs once or twice a week is just not going to cut it for those of you who have big aspirations for heavy deadlifts, sexy and toned legs or looking to lose weight.
Squatting is not easy. Not many people go to the gym and squat even once a week. The legs are composed of some of the biggest muscles in the body. We also use these muscles more than most other muscles. Training such large muscles is no easy task. It requires effort and hard work, hence the potential to lose weight (versus spending 2+ days a week on arms and shoulders only). Not to mention most activities (both for sport and daily life activities) are lower body dominant movements).
Are we getting the picture yet?
^ Steph Curry (NBA MVP)
Why squat daily then?
- General mobility
- Reduces injuries
- Because we sit too much
These are but a few reasons why to squat everyday.
What type of squats?
Barbell squats, front squats, overhead squats, dumbbell and kettlebell squats, olympic movements that transfer into squats, air squats…the list goes on for different variations. The need to use weights is not always necessary either. Some days you may not have access to weights. Just squat then.
The more repetitive a motion the more efficient you will become at it. Some days can be heavy lifting days, some days can be workload days and other days can be mobility/technique work days. The goal stays the same though: SQUAT EVERYDAY.
The benefits outweigh the risks. The only risk you truly run if done properly is staying the same performance and mobility wise. Squatting daily can increase your performance is squatting of course, but it can also enhance your deadlift and the ability to perform other lower exercises as well. In fact, it will also help with just about any upper body exercise that requires a solid support base and foundation. Your core will also get stronger as well. Your ankle, knee, hip and lower back ROM will also increase. Your muscles in the lower body, core and upper back will become less tight, leading to less hip, knee and lower back pain.
^Kelly Starrett (Mobility WOD guy)
If the benefits > risks, what exactly are the legitimate risks? Overuse? No, because if you constant vary the motion and resistant your body will adapt and get stronger. Truthfully, the only risk you run is improper recovery (both sleep and nutrition). If your sleep is consistent and your nutrition supports the workload, there should be little to no risk for injury.
Disclaimer, performing any type of exercise does put you at risk for injury. The need for proper technique and training load is important. I do not expect a beginner to come in and perform squats, front squat, overhead squats on the regular. Progression is vital in this case. Air squats and PVC pipe squats daily are possible and welcomed.
With regards to the volume of training in squatting daily, I have a story told by Cory Gregory in his discussions with the legendary Frank Zane. Cory asked Frank about how does his body feel after the years of heavy lifting, all the competing he did and what that did to his body. Frank simply replied by saying,
“I have so many friends that never trained or took care of themselves. Their bodies hurt from doing little hard work. I hurt from some of my injuries due to years of training, but I feel and look pretty good for 70 years old. I came to the realization that you are going to hurt either way. So, I would say I would rather look good and hurt, then look bad and hurt.”
Regardless of whether or not you pushed your body to the limit in life, aging will takes it toll on the body no matter what. Doing nothing to acquire strength, endurance and mobility in life will leave you sick, fat, weak and nearly dead if anything tough happens. Lifting weights, playing sports, riding ATVs and so on causes stress to the body too, in the form of many injuries more than likely. Either way, in old age the body will break down naturally. However, you can spend those years in bad health or spend the years looking good still and having the stamina, strength and endurance to live life to the fullest…pain or not.
^ Frank Zane far left. Lou Ferrigno far right
Moral of the story: