My doctor said I can't do squats

Your doctor says you can't do squats? You sought the help of a trained medical professional for specific guidance only to receive a simple can't?

"It hurts when I do this doc."
"Well, don't do that."

The only problem with "Don't do squats" is that they're good for so many things and squatting is a part of everyday function. But mostly, I'm too hard headed to accept simple cant's.

Does your doctor allow for partial range squats? Will he change is mind if you "do time" working on the strength and mobility of your trunk and hips and ankles and feet? Does he allow you to squat down to lift a bag of groceries, or would he prefer that you do the old spine mangling bend and twist? What if you have to poop in the woods? Or get down to give a cold cup of milk to your baby kitten?

So many questions. Do they not realize that for some people, giving up on squats is giving up, and forfeiting a huge portion of their Awesome Card.

Straight up Cant's are usually not necessary. They often reveal ignorance of the topic matter. Cant's are often dolled out as blanket statements that enable the doctor to move on quickly to the next patient.

Now don't get me wrong. No one is exempt from time. You and I are no exception. At some point we simply can't run, jump, vault, or pull 360-cork twists off a ski jump.  At some point you will move on to more appropriate and noble deeds than being physically awesome.

A squat is not a squat is not a squat.

Yes, if you had ACL surgery you should never try doing heavy loaded, butt-to-heels squats. Deep squats are generally not good for the ACL or the cartilage on the back of the knee cap, whether or not you had surgery. If a person tore their knee meniscus from crappy form while squatting and they still have crappy form, then by all means, that person should not squat. At least not until they make some major adjustments.

Proper squats and variations are actually GREAT for establishing the strength and stability that protects the ACL, patella, as well as your ability to be awesome! Are leg extension or recumbent bikes going to make your legs resilient when it comes time to accelerate or cut hard or catch yourself from a stumble?

Have you tried Goblet squats? Single leg variations? Lunge variations? Bowler squats? Strength and mobility corrective exercise are often extremely helpful for people of all ages and interests getting back to doing what they want. It doesn't take a genius to know that you should not be piling on the plates in the traditional barbell squat if you have
  • huge thoracic kyphosis
  • minimal lumbar lordosis
  • core (mid back, lower back, abdominal) weakness
  • hip inflexibility (and aformentioned weakness) that causes your lower back to round
  • hip weakness (especially gluteus medius - the side butt muscles)
  • ankle inflexiblity
If squats hurt and you really want to squat, I'm nearly certain that I can get you there. You may not set a new world record. You may have to finangle ways around a touchy meniscus or patellar chondromalicia (worn out knee caps). But you will get stronger in ways that protect your joints and deepen your awesome bucket.

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[And then there is surgery. A good rule of thumb is that if you elected for a doctor to open up your body for carpentry, then you should heed the can't. Don't botch up their handiwork. But other than surgery-as-a-final-resort, you should not go down without a battle. ]

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I'm going to be very stubborn with this. I've seen and helped too many people who have smashed through their can't.

...At least for the time being.

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