I talked about what the beginning exerciser needs in this post. Unfortunately, there are many uneducated, clueless personal trainers out there playing on client's fears and their desire for quick results. So, instead of taking the time to teach clients the basics of exercise physiology, nutrition, and exercise technique, these trainers are taking the lazy way. They are telling the clients what they want to hear, guilting them into doing some random series of exercises to tire them out, and then sell them some sort of 'supplement'. While I am not going to say I know it all (the more I learn, the more I find I don't know), I do spend 6-10 hours per week of reading, researching, and learning. Plus, I train more than 30 clients per week. I have spend six years in college studying Exercise Science and the last 13 years working "in the trenches" with clients/patients.
So, It was upsetting that the "Best Trainer in Boston" was spouting off advice like this:
...your safety is your #1 priority, and definitely DO NOT be persuaded by advice from magazines and uninformed trainers to do squats that WE ALL KNOW make your thighs huge!This exercise over-develops the outer part of your quadriceps, and possibly will lead to an imbalance in your knees, and even worse - flabby inner thighs.
I was happy to hear Tony Gentilcore (An actual really good trainer in the Boston area) respond in this post.
Here is an excerpt from Tony's post:
"It boggles my mind that she’s calling out “uninformed trainers,” but she’s insinuating that doing some squats here and there is just going to magically pack on muscle mass. Maybe I missed the memo, but I’d really love to know where this gene exists that allows women to develop thighs the size of Kansas in a matter of weeks. This is akin to me saying, “you know what, I don’t want to win the gold medal in the 100m dash next week, so I’m not going to sprint today.” It’s just not going to happen."
Then, the pile-on came. Here is another excellent trainer from Arizona, Bret Contreras, responding to the original absurd claims about squatting here.
Bret is known for writing epic, quality, thorough posts and articles, so it is of no surprise he tore her argument apart, piece by piece. Here are some highlights:
"I would venture to say that teaching people to squat properly could “undo” a lot of the musculoskeletal damages that we currently see in America. A proper full squat demonstrates that the individual has proper ankle dorsiflexion, hip flexion, thoracic extension, and glute activation. Weak glutes alone are implicated in low back pain, anterior knee pain, anterior hip pain, hamstring strains, lumbar erector spinae strains, and groin strains."
"I will confess that I have indeed seen some women get overly-muscular in the thighs, but only when women get really, really strong. Most women (and even men) will never, ever get to a point where they are strong enough at squatting to get “too big” in the thighs. Getting strong requires knowledge of proper form, patience, consistency, dedication, and knowledge of program design, progressive overload schemes, and periodization."
"Just like we know that spot reduction is largely a myth, “spot increase” is a myth too. It’s so absurd that I had to make up the phrase as until now I’ve never heard someone assume that an exercise could place fat on a specific area of the body.
I’m willing to entertain the fact that certain activities can indeed lead to flabby inner thighs, as some women do in fact tend to store fat in that area. Eating too many potato chips while lying around on the couch all day would be something that could lead to flabby inner thighs, not squatting!"