What Squat University's Nightmares are Made of

Alec Enkiri | 1/16/24

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I can only assume this is what Squat University's nightmares are made of.

A little flexion under load has never been a problem for me, in fact, my back feels fantastic.

Whether I CHOOSE to round or not really just depends on what type of movement I am doing and what I am trying to accomplish with it.

For example, I almost always maintain a fully neutral spine when hinging from the top down (RDLs, good mornings, heavy hypers, etc.) as my focus there is almost always on the purity of the hinge pattern itself, i.e. moving almost solely about the hips, and on getting the hamstrings into the greatest loaded stretch possible before initiating the concentric phase.

However, with something like a stiff leg deadlift (bottom up), especially as I move into these larger and larger deficits, I actually find it very natural to incorporate a bit of spinal flexion and extension to capture a few extra inches from that massive range of motion and contribute to the pull.

That's not to say that my hamstrings aren't working very hard. On the contrary!

They were incredibly sore the day after this workout. My erectors were mildly sore from their contribution, but not majorly. And the this was purely muscular soreness, that is, there was absolutely no hint of any sort of "pain" in my back.

I also think it's important to note that bracing plays a large role in this process. If you are a master of creating intra-abdominal pressure and setting your back exactly how you want it to be during any given movement, then your chances of getting hurt are likely much lower.

But this is a process of mastery over time. It is something that the body has to be broken into gradually, both in terms of volume as well as loading. The very first thing I teach everybody to do is pick up weights with a neutral spine.

But once you become advanced starting to bend the rules a little bit becomes a more valuable option.

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