My philosophy is to always use the right tool for the job. The problem I see with a lot of coaches is that they arbitrarily throw away a lot of tools. For example…how idiotic would you have to be to…I don’t know….let me try to think of some examples off the top of my head…imagine a hypothetical coach who doesn’t let his athletes back squat…or maybe Olympic lift…when the only tools you have a hammers every problem they see ends up looking like a nail.
On Saturday I was testing some basketballers…one of the lads had recently had surgery on his patella tendon to alleviate a tendinitis issue. Now as a part of his recovery he was told to squat…and he has been. How squatting is fine…PROVIDING you actually know how to do it.
Now…for this player…with the issue he has had…and with the technique he has…squatting is the LAST thing he should be doing. Now I won’t go into a big diagnostic of squat technique here….that’s not what this blog is about…but what I do want you to look at is the bar. Specifically I want you to look at the bar position in relation to his hips, knees and ankles. I also want you to take a look at the angle at his knee…keep in mind his hips aren’t even close to parallel…at proper depth the acute nature of that knee angle would be even more extreme. Forgetting everything else about his technique….he’s putting an enormous strain on that patella tendon. Also, considering the advice he had to ‘squat’ was given to him so that he’d build up his quad mass….squatting for him…the way he has been is all kinds of shit advice.
So look at the two of us in relatively the same position and look at the bar position in relation to my hips, knees and ankles…then as you did before…look at my knee angle in comparison to his? What do you see?
Now this player doesn’t train with me…him and his team was just in for testing. My advice to him….drop the squats and leg press instead. Leg Pressing will maximise the amount of good ‘stress’ that he is placing on his leg muscles….which is after all the reason he was told to squat in the first place. He will put a much less severe load through his damaged patella tendon…leg pressing in this case is the right tool for the job…even if the guy does have a physique like a nail.
Squatting or Leg Pressing? Which do you think is going to maximise the loading that he can safely use to stimulate his leg development? Which do you think is going to put the most stress through his damage patella tendon?