Another Safe Training College / Squat Update

March 9 “Associate with people of good qualities: it is better to be alone than in bad company.” –Proverb

Dear Coach,

I just happened to come across your web site and wanted to let you know that Fairfield University up in Connecticut has been training safe and effective for two years now. I am the Director of the Strength and Conditioning Program and have had the opportunity to work with some of the best in the field: John Philbin, Dan Riley, Mark Asanovich and Jeff Watson. All of these individuals have helped me become the Strength and Conditioning Coach that I am and I have continued to use what they have taught me. Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that there are more of us out there.

Professionally Yours,

Mark Spellman
Director of Strength and Conditioning
Fairfield University

Mr. Spellman,

Thank you for the information. We’ll add Fairfield to our Teams Page. We are finding more and more Teams all the time that have the same philosophy. We have had great support from Ken Mannie, Matt Brzycki, Tom Kelso, Jim Bryan, Fred Cantor, Mike Lawrence and many others like you mentioned. If you have any other information or any success stories etc… we would love to hear about them and post them for our viewers. Exercise Update

As we further our research in strength training and the training of athletes we would like to add additional thoughts to our first printing. The training program in our manual is designed for the weight room that may not be able to afford modern training machines. For this reason, we include strictly free weight exercises except for the leg press and pull down.

In this regard we strongly suggest that the coach take a concerned look at the squat. We would like to emphasize that there is nothing magical about placing a bar across one’s back to develop lower body strength. Please understand that there is some risk in placing a heavy load on the athlete’s vertebra. If one has access to modern leg press equipment this would be a super alternative to the squad.

However, if a coach needed or wanted to use the squat movement with his athletes there are some steps one can take to help reduce the risk. First, we suggest that the athlete pre-exhaust the legs with leg extensions, leg curls, and perform the leg press first. This will lessen the weight the athlete can use in the squat and still make the movement productive and intense. We also suggest a slower cadence 4 or 5 seconds for the eccentric and 4 or 5 seconds concentric part of the lift. This will allow the athlete to use less weight, which will alleviate some of the strain that might be put on the vertebral column.

We simply want for coaches to know why they do what they do in the weight room. “To squat or not to squat,” that is the question. If coaches can create as safe an environment as possible, that is the answer. Let us know what you think.

If you have questions or comments about this web site or strength development or training please drop us a note.

3 Responses to “Another Safe Training College / Squat Update”

  1. Dear StongerAthletes: Squat « Stronger Athletes Says:

    […] for your article on the squat. [March 9, 2003] I concur with you. The potential danger with this exercise is two-fold, I believe. First, […]


  2. Cleans Claim Another Victim « Stronger Athletes Says:

    […] the squat.  Squats are generally less risky than cleans, but we've expressed concern about squats here and […]


  3. Squats – Can We Do Better? – Stronger Athletes Says:

    […] single athlete that comes through the doors of the weight room.  In other words, as we stated in a previous article, “We would like to emphasize that there is nothing magical about placing a bar across one’s […]


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