How Squats Can Change Your Life

 How Squats Can Change Your Life!

“Happiness is different from pleasure.  Happiness has something to do with struggling, enduring, accomplishing.”  -Dr. George Sheehan

I have been reading a lot lately.  Not that I haven’t always read a lot, mind you, so I guess it would be more appropriate to say that I have been reading a lot more lately.  Which you can strike up a little bit to the slightly increased free time I have on my hands.  You see, I have been doing some really hard martial arts training a few days a week, including a session or two of sparring every week, which always takes its toll on you (at my age and with my injuries), and I simply haven’t been able to lift weights as frequently, nor even as intensely, as usual.  Which means (long story short) that I have had more time to read on my hands.

As I was perusing one of the local online “marketplaces”, I came across a book with a most interesting title: How Squats Can Change Your Life!  At first, I thought, well, that’s an odd title for a book.  But it only took a few seconds for me to realize, no, that’s a really good title for a book, one I should have thought of myself.  (At which point, I mentally “punched” myself for not thinking of it first, or at least something highly similar.)

Anyone with even a little bit of passing interest in this blog - or any of my writing for that matter - probably knows that I LOVE squats.  And I don’t love squats just because I’m “good” at them.  (When lifters first meet me, they are surprised that I have squatted so much in powerlifting competitions.  This is probably because of how light I am, and the fact that I look like a good deadlifter, but I look too long and lean to be a good squatter.)  Nope, I love squats for any lifter because of all of the good things that come from doing them!

Squat and Do What You Will

Several years back, I wrote this in a blog post, and I still stand by it:

 Saint Augustine once uttered the phrase “love, and do what you will.”  The blessed Augustine was basically saying that as long as you do everything out of love – love for others, love for God – then whatever else you do will be correct.

I happen to think the same thing about squatting.  As long as you are squatting – if not at every workout, then at least on a very regular basis – then you can do what you will with the rest of your workout.  In fact, I think squatting is the foundation of all successful training.  (Okay, I suppose you can get good results without squatting – especially if you’re doing plenty of Olympic lifting or deadlifting – but squatting is a sure fire way to get great results all the time.)  For instance, if you do the following five things, I can guarantee you will get great results

1.       Squat a lot

2.       Train with volume

3.       Train frequently

4.       Get plenty of rest when not training

5.       Eat a lot of food

Now, while on the subject, don’t forget that the five above things will really work well if, in addition to squatting, you are picking heavy stuff off the ground (deadlifts, power cleans), pressing stuff overhead (clean and presses, one-arm overhead presses with dumbbells or kettlebells), or dragging and carrying heavy stuff for distance (sled drags, farmer’s walks, sandbag carries).  However, what I really want to discuss here is not all of the fantastic strength-gaining, muscle-building effects of squats (as wondrous as those things are), but all of the fantasmagorical other stuff (i.e. benefits) that comes from plenty of squatting.

You see, I have long suspected that squats are to lifting weights what Tai Chi is to martial arts.  You don’t practice Tai Chi just to kick ass (in fact, very few tai chi masters are actually good fighters these days, but we will save that for a post dealing with the myriad benefits of internal martial arts).  You practice Tai Chi so that you can feel good not just on the outside, but on the inside, too.  (Hence, the fact that it’s an “internal” martial art.)  Internal martial arts are good for improving your “chi”, your internal energy,  which not only makes you feel good but improves the inner vitality of the body, keeping you healthy before anything happens to you.  In other words, internal martial arts keep the whole body healthy.  

And squats do the same thing.

If you want good flexibility, if you want to lower your blood pressure, if you want to increase your sex drive - then you better start incorporating squats into your daily routine.

And, by the way, squats don’t have to be all-out, heavy-as-hell r-rep maximums, or all-out breathing squats done for 20 repetitions.  Nope, you can get great results from using bodyweight squats, especially when it comes to the health benefits of squatting.  (The muscle-building benefits, yes, are going to come through plenty of hard, heavy-as-hell training.)

The 100-Rep Daily Challenge

If you want to give squats a try for all of their amazing muscle-building, health-inducing benefits (yes, a little bit of hyperbole is in order), then here is a simple technique to utilize: simply perform 100 reps of deep knee-bends (bodyweight squats) every day.  You can do them in one workout using 10 sets of 10 reps, or 5 sets of 20 reps, or, hell, 20 sets of 5 reps.  You can utilize 5 rounds of 2, 3, 5, and 10 reps.  And, at some point, you may be capable of doing 1 set of 100 reps.  Or you can just do them throughout the day (in your office cubicle, if need be) as frequently - or as infrequently - as you feel like it until you reach 100 reps.


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