1. There is a big difference between symptomatic and healthy.
A group of studies a few years ago found that roughly ¾ of all athletes have some sort of disc bulge / herniation that goes completely undiagnosed. Whilst possibly upto 60% of all athletes have some sort of lumbar fracture, yet only 50-60% of those report any sort of back pain at all. Ball sport athletes such as throwers and golfers are also more likely to have shoulder issues, such as a ripped up shoulder labrum, but not be symptomatic. However if we compound these issues with crappy hip mobility, or poor t-spine mobility and shoulder internal rotation then we are much more likely to be experiencing symptoms of pain.
2. Why I prefer front loaded squat variations.
While the benefits of axial loading cannot be denied, I believe that by loading the bar on your back, you are reinforcing an arched back, stretched abdominals position, and promoting the recruitment of the lats & QL’s to act as stabilizers rather than the core. If you are an individual with more posterior pelvic tilt and generally rounded posture this may not be a problem (possibly even a help) but if you demonstrate an anterior tilt (like a lot of golfers and most lifters) then back squatting is only going to exacerbate this faulting positioning.
The second issue is, as Dan John put it “it seems you can always do another back squat rep.” As individuals fatigue or the intensity gets higher when back squatting you will often see the butt shot up, the bar pitch forward and the lift begin to resemble more of a good morning to parallel. However as the bar is trapped on the back and most people have pretty strong spinal erectors you can grind out another few reps in this manner. Not great from an injury prevention point of view but also completely defeating the object of the exercise. Your last rep should always be your last good rep. This I why I much prefer front squats. You can’t use as much weight for sure but you still get all the benefits of axial loading in a self limiting exercise (essentially as the bar is racked on your shoulders if you shot your butt up pitch forward in the front squat you’ll just dump the bar) It’s also a lot easier to coach this pattern compared to the back racked position.
3. Happy birthday to me.
That’s right, it’s my birthday today! In case you’re wondering, I wear a size 10 shoe, medium t-shirts (okay whatever, smedium), and if you’re looking for any other gift ideas, I’ve been eye-balling a new driver for a while now.
…..I also take gift cards.