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Reader Comment: Olympic Bar Squats

Reader Ruben G writes in regard to my Pedal Stroke page:

I was recently introduced to the book "Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training". Currently, there is no other book on the market with its level of detail on the biomechanics and practical aspects of the five most beneficial -- and functional! -- barbell lifts, i.e., squat, press, bench press, deadlift, and power clean.

The author, Mark Rippetoe, also reminds me of you in some ways -- you take a comprehensive view and take no shit from conventional wisdom types. He goes into incredible detail to explain why the properly performed squat is the most safe and effective exercise there is, for the knees and those getting older especially. He does NOT recommend hiring a personal trainer. His position is that a trainer works from a list as opposed to a coach who thinks critically about his client's needs. Not to mention one would be quite lucky to find a personal trainer who advocated full squats (hip joint about an inch below the top of the patella, or "below parallel"). Anything else is not a squat and is dangerous for the knees and system.

I highly recommend it to everyone. I have effectively trained my completely de-trained mother-in-law, who previously could not perform a full squat with no weight, to be able to squat over 70 pounds using the teaching methods found in the book. It took 2 months. Her chronic knee pain is gone.

Your readers are not in that demographic I assume, but barbell training for strength is the best way to improve performance in any athlete. There is also an entire chapter devoted to programming to ensure the proper stress and recovery are achieved to effect adaptation. I'm positive everyone could benefit from the book. The best part is that anyone can buy all the equipment needed to learn and perform these exercises on for around $500.

WIND: I haven’t checked out the book as yet, but perhaps some readers will find it of interest.

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