Okay, I have a confession to make.
I was supposed to be deep into the 5×5 system. I wrote about Medhi’s system and stated I would start a 12 week program but sad to say I still haven’t got round to it.
I FEEL LOUSY. Yes I do. Unfortunately that’s the way the cookie crumbles. If it was easy to get six pack abs then everyone would have them, yes just like they do in the movie 300 ;-).
One lesson you can draw from this is that the path to success with your goals is never a straight one! You WILL fall off the wagon a number of times, but the most important thing to remember is to get up, dust yourself off and get back on track. In time you will achieve your goals. Just keep following me and watch as it happens in front of your eyes!
Are Bad Knees Holding You Back From Losing The Belly Flab?
I did write previously about how to lose belly fat even if you have bad knees. The topic has cropped up once again as I believe I’m starting to develop bad knees.
I’ve found that when I climb the stairs I’m having difficulty in my knees, particularly in the mornings and and evenings. I’M NOT EVEN 40 AND YET I ALREADY FEEL LIKE AN OLD MAN!
This has made me realise that one thing I definitely don’t want by the time I hit 40 is bad knees!
The routines I advise for losing belly fat fast and the one’s I use myself (when I eventually get to the gym) are pretty intense on the knees. You should know by now that my number one best exercise to lose belly fat fast is the squat. This is the only exercise I focus on with everything else being supplementary.
Now, if you want to follow that routine either through Steve’s F4X System or through Mehdi’s 5×5 system, your knees will be crucial. A lot of women and older men would not attempt either of the above mentioned exercises solely because of bad knees. For those of you who fall in that group, I have some good news for you …
ENGAGING IN PROPER SQUAT EXERCISES CAN AND WILL IMPROVE YOUR KNEES!!!
The good thing about being subscribed to Mehdi’s 5×5 System is the regular emails he sends out. It’s only because of his emails that I got round to making this post. If you’re reading this post probability is quite high that you’ll benefit from Mehdi’s stuff so you should really sign up to get his emails.
Anyway, to the contents of the email that got me writing this post …
If you have bad knees, or simply believe that doing squats is bad for your knees you’ll probably agree with one of Mehdi’s commenters:
Very good genetics are what allow you (and me – and Arnold) to
perform “full” squats. Having worked with orthopedic surgeons for
over 25 years in the US, and having performed hundreds of surgical
repairs to torn ACL’s/PCL’s, there is a clinical reason why most
are cautioned to only bring their hip parallel with their knee in a
squat. This is not an opinion. This is sound medical fact which
virtually every sports medicine physician repeats to his/her patients.
However, as I said, there are those of us (albeit, a minority)
including myself, who have been blessed with better than average
knee joint structure and can reap the benefits that others cannot
or at least should not attempt while squatting.
In fact, to be honest, after the pain of climbing the stairs (and the few times my knees actually lock), I instinctively also felt that squats, especially ‘full squats’ would damage my knees. That was one of the reasons I carried out research on how to lose belly fat even if you have bad knees and wrote the first post on the subject.
My research led me to the conclusion that contrary to what I believed, squats were actually good for your knees (as well as for losing the flab!). In fact, when I think back, I only started having problems with my knees after missing gym sessions. The times I actually did my workouts, I never had any issues!
So Loading Your Knees With Heavy Weight Can Actually Make Them Better?
Yes it can.
Mehdi’s response to the commenter mentioned says it much better than I can:
Quite bluntly, emails like this confirm my beliefs that most
doctors are just plain dumb and stupid.
One, you don’t have to do “full Squats”. You have to do parallel
Squats – with your hips going right below your knees when looking
from the side. Squatting lower will indeed put more stress on your
knees and that’s just one reason I say to do parallel Squats. Here
is the link to the video again where I show proper Squat form:
Two, as coach Eric Cressey MS CSCS (who I interviewed for the
StrongLifts Inner Circle Expert Series) once said: weak hamstrings
(the muscles of your posterior thigh) are a serious risk factor
for knee ligament injuries. This is because your hamstrings
are responsible for stabilizing your knees.
What’s one of the best and fastest ways to strengthen your
hamstrings? Squatting with your hips going right below parallel.
Anything higher, you’ll work your quadriceps (the muscles on the
front of your thighs), but hardly your hamstrings. And that’s
how muscle imbalances and knee ligament injuries happen.
In fact, in a 2001 study by the Duke University, researchers
showed that the parallel Squat with light weights was an effective
exercise to employ after an ACL/PCL injury or reconstruction.
That’s right, hitting parallel on Squats not only PREVENTS
ACL/PCL injuries, it’s also good to recover from these injuries.
Looks like you didn’t get the memo…
And of course, Squatting parallel will also result in more
lean muscle gains and fat burning because the range of motion
is greater when you hit parallel on Squats (which makes the Squat
more challenging, and everybody knows the more challenging the
exercise, the more effective it also is). Quite frankly, nothing
I did in the gym ever worked until I started to Squat.
Three, I ain’t Arnold Schwarzenegger. I have lousy genetics:
my wrists are only 6.7″ (my thumb overlaps my middlefinger when
I grab them) and am not built to be big and strong. Not born
with strong joints either. So I should be the first one to
injure my knees if Squatting parallel was unsafe.
Yet I haven’t in 13 years of Squatting and with a current best
Squat of 400lb (which is almost 2.5x my body-weight – this ex-skinny
ectomporh who once lost at arm wrestling to a girl and couldn’t even
do a single pushup gained 43lb of almost all muscle since he started
lifting, while losing my belly fat and without ever using drugs).
Four. We have hundreds and hundreds of StrongLifts Gold Members
from all around the planet, and from all kinds of backgrounds, ages,
and bodytypes, doing parallel Squats every week, usually several
times a week, and yet without anyone hurting his knees.
Of course, some of them have very good genetics. Yes, some
were born with strong knees. Heck, a few will never get injured,
no matter what they do, because they’re just built for this.
But not ALL of them. There are just too many StrongLifts Gold
Members Squatting parallel without knees issues. And some started
my StrongLifts 5×5 program with the worst knees ever…
As an example, consider StrongLifts Gold Member, Michael B, a
33y-old police officer from New York. Michael has five documented
knee injuries, including a cracked knee cap. This caused him so much
pain, he was often walking with a limp and even took painkillers.
One day his fellow officers got overpowered and shot to death,
and Michael decided to train seriously – no more isolation split
routine BS of squeezing every rep just to get a little pumped.
Michael started StrongLifts 5×5 and began Squatting parallel
thee times a week. And in only 13 weeks he took his Squat from a
difficult 125lb to 290lb for sets of five reps.
What about his knees? He no longer has any knee pain. Quote:
“My knees feel great as long as I work out, they desperately needed
that muscle support and stiffness that I have now.”
I’m not making this up, I actually interviewed Michael for
the StrongLifts Inner Circle, and you can listen him telling his
own story when you’re a StrongLifts Gold Member.
Five, we don’t permit excuses for not Squatting in here. Please
unsubscribe from this newsletter.
Powerful stuff hey! You can see from his email above how much you will benefit by signing up for his program (which is free and won’t cost you anything).
One thing I realised after reading his email was that I was sabotaging myself by going into the gym with a ‘half-assed’ attitude. You know those days?
When you don’t feel like working out but think that anything is better than nothing?
It’s days like those that I’d do ‘half-squats’ or quit early before finishing a set. That’s probably the reason for my bad knees!
So now that I know better, I will focus on proper form and doing things right.
I WILL START THE PROGRAM THIS MONDAY!!!
If I fail then …
Anyway, if you have bad knees and want to lose belly fat, don’t let those knees hold you back (I won’t).
As you can see from Mehdi’s information, proper squatting can actually improve your bad knees …