Rob Wagner serves as the University of Pennsylvaniaís strength and conditioning coach. Rob is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is an author and nationwide speaker on weight training and is a contributing writer to Powerlifting USA magazine. Rob also serves as chair of the USA Powerlifting coaches committee and is currently completing his coursework in the Kinesiology doctoral program at Temple University.
He is a five-time National Powerlifting Champion in 3 different weight classes, and a six-time member of the USA National Powerlifting team. Wagner earned a gold medal in the squat at the 1996 World Championships and received a silver at the 2001 World Championships, in the same lift. He also holds or has held American squat records at 165 lbs. (690 lbs.), 181 lbs. (766 lbs.) and 198 lbs. (799 lbs.).
Is this guy wrong?
Myth #2. When you perform the squat, just bend your knees and go down
If you bend the knees first, it limits the hipís freedom of movement. All the force is felt in the knees, and you will find yourself in a very awkward position on the balls of your feet. When performed properly the squat should start by gliding the hips backwards before the knees break. This is done while keeping the torso upright and is not simply a lean forward (Chandler, Wilson & Stone, 1989). It should be similar to sitting in a chair, especially a low chair. This posterior movement actually helps you get the weight over the arch of your foot. Having the weight on the toes or heel of the foot will affect muscle function and balance. This weight positioning becomes even more crucial when you reach the bottom of the squat. As the top of the thigh reaches a parallel to the floor position or below, it is now time to come up. If the weight is forward on the toes, there is a tendency for the hips to rise up faster than the shoulders, leaving you in a potentially poor leverage position. This situation is when the squat becomes a good morning exercise. The opposite result of having the weight in the heel will leave you stuck at the bottom position or on your backside due to the balance problem.