Let’s discuss squat depth and why you should shut the fuck up.

Powerlifters doing powerlifting stuff on the internet.  That squat is high says the thirteen-year-old kid who just got his first York weights set for Christmas and has read starting strength (god help us all).  That was an amazing feet of strength you couldn’t even unrack that said the 43-year-old lifter (who is has been on steroids for so long he’s forgotten that linear training blocks and just ramming more mls into his deltoid doesn’t actually represent training for most people) defending his mate who just curtsied with 550kg in 25 layers of denim.

You see both of these people are correct in their own head or in their own context.  The thirteen-year-old kid who is judging multiply lifting by the standards of the IPF is correct that squat is high… by IPF standards.  The multiply monster is also probably right in his assertion that the 13-year-old kid couldn’t unrack that squat, shit the kid probably couldn’t unrack that squat with three of his classroom buddies.

In their own head, in their own opinion, both of these folk are exactly correct however that’s only in their own opinion.  People like to make the world conform to their own opinion or their own cognitive bias and they will go to great lengths to try and protect their own biases because being wrong is a wound to the ego and a wound to a person’s ego is a lot more damaging than you probably expect.  Insults or bringing someone’s honour into question has led to many a dead person in pretty much every society that has ever existed.  So is it any surprise that people get butthurt as fuck in comment sections online.  Or even go as far as to make cringe as fuck minute long “meme video” on Instagram that only makes them look like a bell end.

You see what is lacking here is an empathy to another point of view, another way of looking at things.  The most hilarious battleground in the squat depth wars can be found in strength and conditioning where some coaches who come from a weightlifting or powerlifting background think that how an athlete performs a barbell squat has any reflection on their preparation for their own sport.  If you think an athlete should squat “below parallel” regardless of how they are built or the sport they play then you are an ideologically driven moron.  What you consider as depth if you come from a powerlifter is the arbitrary standard adopted by your sport, it isn’t a universal constant or truth.  If you are a weightlifter than what you consider a squat is a feat of tremendous flexibility and control that is probably only really applicable to you know, fucking weightlifters.

Next time you see a video of someone squatting for whatever reason maybe put yourself in the shoes of the person who is performing the squat and then begin to realise

  • They aren’t squatting towards your squatting goals
  • You aren’t them or their coach so you probably are lacking key information as to what’s going on.
  • You pointing out the fucking obvious on the internet isn’t going to change their attitude it’s probably just going to piss them off and get them more entrenched in what they are doing.
  • Who the fuck are you and who asked for your opinion?

I remember one of my less productive nights on this planet crawling through the lifting portions of reddit.  If you’ve not been on reddit it’s like bodybuilding.com’s misc but it’s not funny and it’s full of fedora-wearing natty 4 lyfe crew.

Anyway someone posted up a video of Usain bolt doing a gym session and also Ben Johnston box squatting 270kg x 5 reps.  All they could comment on was how bad their form was when judged against the standards of weightlifting for hang clean and that the squats were high as fuck when judged against the standards of powerlifting.  I honestly got the feeling that most of the lifters and coaches on that thread thought they could produce better results with these athletes THAN THE WORLD RECORDS THAT THE COACHES THEY ARE WORKING WITH ACHIEVED.  By getting them to lift more like a lifter… you must have a pretty fucking high opinion of yourself if you think teaching the greatest sprinter to ever live how to hang clean with a bit better form is going to make a fucking iota of difference to his performance.

You are taking your presupposition that your worldview, your way of lifting weights is the best way of lifting weights and throwing it onto a subject or matter that to be quite frank you have no fucking idea about.

I give you roughly about 20-30 seconds when you are in a full-time role with a professional team and you are 100% certain that they should squat ATG 4 Lyfe fam.  Then when your star player goes to the coach and tells them that coach ATG spasmed their back to shit and now they can’t play at the weekend cause he was trying to make a world class athlete a fucking third rate weightlifter.  When coach pulls you into his office and tells you if this keeps happening in the weight room he’s going to get him a new conditioning coach you might have a quick re-evaluation of your priorities in life.

You see with no skin in the game or no context it’s easy to be the expert or to have strongly held beliefs about things you have really no idea about.  It might be best practice to squat deep cause these 2 or 3 small sized EMG studies with a standard deviation bigger than the mean say it activates dem glutes more.  It’s another thing to try and make a 6ft10 athlete more athletic when he gets paid more than 10x your own salary, with one weights session a week and 44 other athletes to look after.  Oh and you have zero room for error if you start snapping athletes up in your weights room you’re going to be looking for a new weights room to work in.

I think we can all agree

  • If you’re an IPF lifter you should squat to IPF depth in competition
  • If you’re a multiply lifter you should squat to the legal depth of your fed in competition.
  • If you are a weightlifter, you should train the way that makes you better at clean and jerk and snatch.
  • If you are an S&C coach, you should coach your athletes in a way that maximises performance and minimises risk of injury.
  • If you have a strongly held opinion on a subject, you have no expertise in or context as to why these people are squatting like this.  Then you should shut your fucking mouth.


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