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Barbell Squats Are Not Paleo

Posted Jun 24 2012 8:01pm

I have written before about the potential dangers of barbell squats.  What gets me is how some people make fun of leg extensions as being unnatural yet have no reservations about recommending barbell squats.

Of course, it is natural to squat, but squats appear to be a mobility movement, not a weight-bearing movement.  You go into a deep squat to pick something off the ground or to rest.  If you want to pick something up heavy, you deadlift.

Over the course of watching my kids over a number of years, I have never, ever seen them do anything resembling a weighted squat.  Yet I've seen them do other common movements many, many times.  I've seen them run, jump, and deadlift thousands of time.  Bodyweight squats - thousands of times.  But a squat with weight on the shoulders (or something even close to that) - I've never seen it. 

So how can weighted squats be an evolutionary or "natural" movement if they're never naturally practice during childhood?  Answer: they aren't.

I feel all it will take is a few top coaches or athletes to drop the weighted squat for others to catch on.  Deadlifts are the natural way to lift heavy objects.  Coaches can still use heavy deadlifts to help athletes develop strength and mass.

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