Are Squats Ever Dangerous?

Under some circumstances, your safety may be in risk.

Ben Greenfield
1-minute read

Q. Every running book I've read says that regular squats with a barbell are not good for distance runners. Do you think regular squats are OK for distance runners?

A. Since it activates all the muscles in the legs, including the hamstrings, butt, quads, and calf muscles, and also the lower-back muscles, the squat is a highly popular exercise. The argument against squatting for distance runners goes something like this: even when performed properly (hint - here's my video tip to perform a proper squat), a squat can stretch knee ligaments in sideways and front back directions, which can damage an already overworked knee.

Unfortunately, no studies have proven this to be true. However, from a functional standpoint, a runner rarely does a traditional two-legged squat while running. So instead, distance runners should primarily do single-legged squats in a leg strengthening program.  Here's a video that shows how.

Squats image courtesy of Shutterstock

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.