scorecardRyan Reynolds' trainer says most people shouldn't do back squats. Try these exercises for a strong body instead.
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Ryan Reynolds' trainer says most people shouldn't do back squats. Try these exercises for a strong body instead.

Rachel Hosie   

Ryan Reynolds' trainer says most people shouldn't do back squats. Try these exercises for a strong body instead.
LifeScience2 min read
Don Saladino, who trains Ryan Reynolds, recommends goblet squats.    Don Saladino
  • Back squats are one of the three main power lifts.
  • However, most people lack the mobility to do them correctly, Don Saladino told Insider.

Barbell back squats, one of the three powerlifting movements, may be widely considered one of the best exercises for building strength but they're not for everyone, according to Don Saladino.

The celebrity personal trainer, whose clients include Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Hugh Jackman, told Insider that not everyone should do back squats — and, unless you're a professional powerlifter, you don't need to.

It's not that the movement isn't beneficial, Saladino said, but you need to "earn" them.

The reason is that there's a lot of risk for the reward, and many people don't have the mobility to perform back squats correctly, he said.

"Most of the general population is lacking freedom in their body and they're tight in certain areas that will not allow them to be able to back squat efficiently," Saladino said.

Squats are compound exercises, meaning they engage many muscles in the body, primarily the quads, glutes, and abs. But there are other ways to train these muscles that might be safer and more comfortable, Saladino said.

Squatting correctly requires mobility

Every person's body is different, meaning the "correct" squat for one person may look different to another. However, an effective back squat requires a certain amount of mobility.

If you can't rotate your legs outwards from the hip, extend the mid-back, and bend well at the hips and ankles, you might not be able to get into the right position for a classic squat, Saladino said.

However, there are other movements you can do to get similar benefits and build a "high quality physique" though, and other squat variants might be easier, Saladino said.

He recommends split squats, rear foot elevated split squats, front squats, goblet squats, zercher squats, Frankenstein squats, and single-leg squats.

"There are so many things you can exhaust first that are so much safer and that aren't going to put people into a compromising position," Saladino said.

He doesn't have anything against back squatting for people who can do them perfectly, but says replacing them with other similar exercises is not going to negatively affect a person's strength or physique — and it might be safer.




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