NARP and Getting Rid of the Squat

I once read an article in a now defunct powerlifting magazine that made me chuckle.  But first, I have to announce that because of this article, I have learned a new term.  Cue the drum roll please. The word of the day is NARPs. NARP stands for Non Athletic Regular People. The lowercase “s” is for when you see more than one NARP as is the case with this video.

NARP makes me think of people in Wal-Mart after midnight and segues nicely into this story from the 2015 WUAP World’s.

Stephen Parkhurst, the WUAP-USA President told me that the Polish team (or maybe it was the Germans) were complaining that they had been in the country for a couple of days but hadn’t seen any good-looking women. Stephen said he asked them where they’d been.

The answer: Wal-Mart.

Back to the article in the powerlifting magazine. The author said that he thinks we should remove the squat from powerlifting competition to:

  • Eliminate the constant controversy over proper squat depth
  • Reduce the risk of injury to spotters
  • Eliminate shoulder injuries due to squatting with a straight bar as well as reducing the risk of quad pulls and tears
  • “NARPs (nonathletic regular people) cannot relate to doing a squat.  Everyone has bench pressed or at least gets the idea of it. Deadlifting is just like picking up heavy objects around the yard and everyone has done that.  What normal activity mimics the squat?  None that I know of.”

Hmm. With all due respect to the author’s considerable powerlifting accomplishments, I believe that there are better ways to address squat depth issues than eradicating one of our sport’s classic measures of strength.  The risk of injury to spotters is a factor and I won’t address that except to say; one solution would be better training for spotters.  That’s problematic in itself as spotters and loaders tend to be whoever the meet director can recruit to help out.  Having been a spotter/loader, I can say that having two teams of spotter/loaders was huge.

Fatigue is definitely a factor, because as a spotter, you’re doing three squats for each competitor in all of the flights. That’s a lot of squatting volume and it’s easy for your attention to wander after the first flight.

His last objection makes no sense to me. He can’t imagine a normal activity that mimics squatting? How does he go to the bathroom? For that matter, did he type the article standing up? Granted, he probably doesn’t have his hands raised when he’s in the bathroom, (or maybe he does. Who am I to judge how he conducts his me time?) but I can’t fathom how he got into the red zone without squatting and there’s definitely some straining depending on the fiber content of his diet.


About the author

John Greaves III is a writer based in North Georgia with nearly two decades of experience in training at home. A former amateur kickboxing champion, John now competes recreationally in powerlifting. He takes a physical culture approach to training; believing that strength and health need not be mutually exclusive. In addition to his nonfiction work, John has written two fiction books, A Different Kind of Giant and A Little Lesson in Manners that are available on