I wanted to thank chiropractor , Dr. Don Clum, D.C. for inspiring to start posting on my blog again. His recent video of his daughter doing an impressive squat press, and commentary on the benefits of children weightlifting at an early age made me research the topic a little further.
I chose to start by re-reading the teachings of Paul Chek, of the C.H.E.K. Institute. While he is not a PhD., nor are his points of view peer reviewed, but I have yet to find someone who’s viewpoint on exercise, movement, and eating habits that were so ahead of their time. His book, How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!, epitomizes the chiropractic lifestyle, which I of course appreciate.
So when Dr. Clum mentioned his point of view on weightlifting and backed it up with an amazing video of his daughter squatting, it challenged some belief systems I have developed since I lifting weights at 12 years old.
My response to his comment was simply, the jury is still out, and my personal and professional experience is that people who train hard at an extremely early age end up with injuries down the road.
Here are just some of the things that can contribute to this:
- High Impact Sports
- Over Training
- Improper Training Techniques
- Improper Nutrition
What I have witnessed in practice over the past dozen years are typically one of two types of athletes. The people who were highly competitive athletes in their youth, who typically no longer compete due to chronic injury. Then there are the people who rarely trained, enjoyed their youth and are now training hard and smart. While there are some tweeners in the group, the most common source of contention is the topic of squatting.
I have no doubt that squatting can be one of the ultimate training tools for building the size and strength in a persons legs, I often find myself challenging the need to go “heavy”, no matter the age.
This is where Paul Chek comes in.
His explanation of squats is right up my alley, and I believe he gives the perfect reasoning for the importance of squats in a balanced exercise program. What I like the most is he focuses on technique and a number of “Primal Patterns” that emphasize overall strength and movement.
This evolutionary view should fall in line with any scientist, although it is a rather elementary model. This just proves exercise does not have to be complicated or use specialized machinery to be worthy.
Here are some opinions Paul Chek has given that I can appreciate:
Gait (walking, jogging and running)
Until very recently, we lived in harmony with nature and involved ourselves in hunting, gathering (see Figure 1), building shelter (see Figure 2), tending to crops (in the recent 10,000 years) and using fire to make tools and keep warm. The squat pattern was crucial for survival and, I believe, just as important today as it was then.
As you can see squatting is a very important Primal Movement Pattern™. Initially, the squat movement need not be performed under a greater load than that afforded by your body weight. Body weight squats offer the following benefits:
Improved respiration of all working tissues used in the squat. The squat uses almost all the muscles in your body
Improved pumping of body fluids, aiding in removal of waste and delivery of nutrition to all tissues, including organs and glands
Beneficial physiological stress to your hormonal system. Properly performed breathing squats actually shift the body away from sympathetic nervous system dominance and encourage parasympathetic activity. This aids in tissue repair and cultivation of Chi, or life-force energy
Improved movement of feces through the colon and more regular bowel movements
Breathing squats and functional squatting can be performed anywhere, anytime. No equipment needed
Body weight squatting prepares your body for more advanced training
When you are capable of performing at least 100 breathing squats in a row, you will have mastered the squat with body weight and conditioned your tissues to effectively handle greater intensities as achieved with resistance training.
The one area I remain challenged is the necessity of extra weight while performing squats, especially in children. I personally don’t believe extra weight across the shoulders is necessary and that squat jumps or lunges may be a more appropriate and efficient exercise for children. It just might be worth sending him a quick email to address it.
I also realize that his opinions do not qualify as a gold standard double blind peer reviewed study, but his experiences should be viewed as case studies. He is on the front line doing the work that could benefit the rest of us. If we were to wait for the studies to catch up to his results we just might reach an obesity and disease epidemic that is irriversible.
It is nice to know that there are amazing chiropractors like Dr. Clum, and professionals like Paul Chek preaching a lifestyle that is unique and resulting in significant positive changes in people’s lives.
Thank you to both.