Vince Gironda, Squats and Sore knees

Thanks for carrying on the Gironda tradition. My question concerns hack squats and sissy squats. Vince always recommended various forms of front squatting with the heels raised, and or hacks and sissy squats. These exercises have always been rough on my knees (I feel like my kneecaps are being blown off), and some sports-medicine people say they can cause long-term damage. What would Vince’s solution to this be?

Vince used to laugh at the utter ignorance of the so-called sport-medicine experts. Personally, I find them to be as dumb as medical doctors (nutritional ignorance).

I have never had the problems you describe when I performed the hack squats correctly on a properly designed machine. But, for joints to be healthy, your glands must be healthy, and that’s one reason why Vince recommended that bodybuilders take glandular supplements. You also have to look at the parathyroid, the only gland in the body that does one thing: it helps with calcium absorption.

So, what you might have, my friend, is a grave deficiency of calcium, magnesium, sulfur, manganese, EFAs, trace minerals, and poly and mono saccarides. Your synovial fluids could be depleted. In essence, you might not be very well nourished. No animosity meant. I can help you, but it will take a little time – 3 or 4 months to rebuild your knees.

Four years ago I came up with a joint-relief kit for bodybuilders and weightlifters called “Joint-EZ”; but, when they found out it cost $46 they moaned and groaned, despite the fact that they were willing to pay much more money for other supplements and other questionable things. Remember, in most cases, the intelligence level in many gyms isn’t any higher than your socks. (This is putting it mildly compared to what Vince thought on this topic.) As Vince Gironda said, bodybuiding is 85% nutrition.

  1. To ignore the wisdom of Vince’s philosophy is to regret later on, (with shame is not, too strong of a discriptive word, of a well earned of a ignoramus). That’s all I need and want to say, at this moment.

  2. As much as I appreciate Vince and learned plenty from him in my earlier years of bodybuilding (I’m age 65, and have been bodybuiding for fifty years now after beginning at age 15 in 1971), he wasn’t all-knowing nor infallible; and, like most of us, for different reasons , could be overly dogmatic at times.

    Human genetics yield a range of musculo-skeletal arrangements, including joint differences. Consequently, while Vince’s insistence that hack squats and sissy squats are harmless to the knees probably applies to the majority of trainees, a percentage of people are born with structural differences in the knee (such as a shallow trochelar groove) which does in fact make knee-stressful squat variations such as hacks and sissies painful.

    Joint nutrition won’t change an inherent structural flaw.

    Consequently, a few are going to find Vince’s advice wrong for themselves.

    Olympic style/bar-high-on-the-back squats and hack squats have my constant primary quad movements for most of my fifty years of bodybuilding; I still do both now at age 65.. I always recommend squats to bodybuilding beginners and fitness novices, even going as far as to say, “If you have to limit yourself to only one resistance movement, then do squats.”
    But, desite my preference for them, and despite Vince’s insistence, squats, especially hacks and sissies, are not harmless and productive for absolutely everyone.

    However, before deciding he’s one of the small percentage whose knees aren’t born for squatting and discarding hacks and sissies, a trainee needs to experiment with them for a while. After fifty years of observing others as well as recognizing my own tendencies, I do agree that most of the time when someone quits doing an exercise (or quits anything else relating to bodybuilding), it’s not a matter of the exercise being ineffective or counterproductive – – rather, it’s a matter of “not wanting to work so hard”.

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