Hail to the Dinosaurs!
A very long time ago, I was a sophomore
in high school.
I was doing curls in the school weight
room -- using a York Olympic barbell
loaded to 135 pounds.
Not strict curls -- there was some
cheat there -- but still, that was a
lot of weight for a 145 pound kid to be
handling back in 1971 or 72 or whatever
year it was.
In walks one of the coaches -- with a
buddy who was a coach at another high
And the guy immediately starts to tell
me that I'm doing my curls all wrong, and
I'm musclebound, and I have no flexibility,
and I can't straighten my arms, and I need
to do special stretches every day or else
my biceps will fall off and I'll never be
able to straighten my arms, and my elbows
will rotate backwards and I'll never be able
to comb my hair again.
Or something like that.
And he said, "ALWAYS do full range movements
when you lift weights!"
Then he walked over to another guy who was
doing squats and told him he was going too
"Don't go so deep," he said. "You'll ruin
your knees! Only squat to parallel!"
There was no one else in the weight room
to yell at, so he left.
And that's the way it was, back in the day.
"Full range movements!" they told us.
"Only squat to parallel!" they told
And being young and naive, we never
stopped to consider whether those two
statements were consistent with each
I mention this, because I often get
questions from readers asking about
parallel squats vs. full squats.
But I never get questions asking about
half-way curls vs. full range curls --
or about half-way presses vs. full-range
presses -- or about half-way deadlifts
vs. full-range deadlifts.
So where am I in the Great Debate?
I'm right ehre:
1. Full squats are best, IF you can do
1A. If not, go as low as you can safely
2. If you need to build the flexibility
to do full squats, then take the time to
3. Wear Olympic lifting shoes if you plan
to do full squats.
4. Keep your torso upright -- in other words,
do Olympic high bar squats, not powerlifting
5. Note that front squats may work better
than back squats, especially for older
6. Never drop and bounce when you squat.
6A. Control the weight.
7. If you're hitting the iron in the school
weight room and some jerk comes in and tells
you you're doing it wrong, drop something
heavy on his foot.
As always, thanks for reading and have a great
day. If you train today, make it a good one!
Yours in strength,
P.S. For more tips on real world, effective
strength training, grab a copy of Dinosaur
Training: Lost Secrets of Strength and
P.S. 2. My other books and courses -- and
Dinosaur Training DVD's -- are right here:
P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "When you squat,
go all the way down. Then go all the way up."
-- Brooks Kubik