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Old 08-19-2013, 09:57 AM   #1
Eric Santos
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Front Squat Form Check

Hi Everyone,

I started crossfit about 4 months ago and I've been lurking on the message board ever since. I've decided to create an account so I can get feedback from all you more experience cross fitters. Here is a video of my doing a 5x3 front squats with 185 (only for last two sets).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOZlpGgjEKo
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:55 AM   #2
Michael Plank
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Re: Front Squat Form Check

It's tough to see everything that's going on with the angle and the rack in the way. I would say that you look generally good, but there are a couple of things that I think are happening that I would watch out for.

1. It looks like you're losing lumbar curve at the bottom - the dreaded "butt wink." Really make sure you're driving your knees out to the side so that you have room to descend without your femurs running into your pelvis and causing you to dump torque by losing position. If you can't get your knees out far enough, or you can't get low enough without the butt wink, check out mobilitywod.com for some mobilizations to improve the squat.

2. It looks to me like your ankles are collapsing in the bottom of the squat. In addition to being rough on your ankles, that sets you up for your knees coming in when the weight gets heavy or when you get tired. To prevent the ankle collapse, make sure your feet are straight forward (NOT angled out), and that you're driving your knees out to the side as hard as you can. Your ankles will be super stable, and you'll end up developing a lot of torque which will help you rebound from the bottom better. This also will help with the butt wink (unless it's a mobility restriction issue).

Watch your head position too. It looks like you might be "breaking" at the neck (i.e. throwing your head way back). Try to keep the head in line with the rest of the spine/torso. Again, it's possible that you're not doing these things, but I can't tell for sure. Your depth looks good and your upper back and arms look good. I think the most helpful angle for video coaching is a quartering view from the front (i.e. the camera positioned at a 45-degree angle from dead ahead).

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 08-19-2013, 02:38 PM   #3
Eric Santos
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Re: Front Squat Form Check

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Plank View Post
It's tough to see everything that's going on with the angle and the rack in the way. I would say that you look generally good, but there are a couple of things that I think are happening that I would watch out for.

1. It looks like you're losing lumbar curve at the bottom - the dreaded "butt wink." Really make sure you're driving your knees out to the side so that you have room to descend without your femurs running into your pelvis and causing you to dump torque by losing position. If you can't get your knees out far enough, or you can't get low enough without the butt wink, check out mobilitywod.com for some mobilizations to improve the squat.

2. It looks to me like your ankles are collapsing in the bottom of the squat. In addition to being rough on your ankles, that sets you up for your knees coming in when the weight gets heavy or when you get tired. To prevent the ankle collapse, make sure your feet are straight forward (NOT angled out), and that you're driving your knees out to the side as hard as you can. Your ankles will be super stable, and you'll end up developing a lot of torque which will help you rebound from the bottom better. This also will help with the butt wink (unless it's a mobility restriction issue).

Watch your head position too. It looks like you might be "breaking" at the neck (i.e. throwing your head way back). Try to keep the head in line with the rest of the spine/torso. Again, it's possible that you're not doing these things, but I can't tell for sure. Your depth looks good and your upper back and arms look good. I think the most helpful angle for video coaching is a quartering view from the front (i.e. the camera positioned at a 45-degree angle from dead ahead).

Hope this is helpful.
Thank you very much, this is actually very helpful. I've been told before to point my knees out, but I wasn't aware how important it was. I can definitely see how it can help, and I will make sure to try it when I hit some squat cleans today during my WOD.
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Old 08-20-2013, 12:21 PM   #4
Michael Plank
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Re: Front Squat Form Check

Glad to help. Good luck!
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Old 08-20-2013, 06:31 PM   #5
Joe Bernard
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Re: Front Squat Form Check

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Plank View Post
It's tough to see everything that's going on with the angle and the rack in the way. I would say that you look generally good, but there are a couple of things that I think are happening that I would watch out for.

1. It looks like you're losing lumbar curve at the bottom - the dreaded "butt wink." Really make sure you're driving your knees out to the side so that you have room to descend without your femurs running into your pelvis and causing you to dump torque by losing position. If you can't get your knees out far enough, or you can't get low enough without the butt wink, check out mobilitywod.com for some mobilizations to improve the squat.

2. It looks to me like your ankles are collapsing in the bottom of the squat. In addition to being rough on your ankles, that sets you up for your knees coming in when the weight gets heavy or when you get tired. To prevent the ankle collapse, make sure your feet are straight forward (NOT angled out), and that you're driving your knees out to the side as hard as you can. Your ankles will be super stable, and you'll end up developing a lot of torque which will help you rebound from the bottom better. This also will help with the butt wink (unless it's a mobility restriction issue).

Watch your head position too. It looks like you might be "breaking" at the neck (i.e. throwing your head way back). Try to keep the head in line with the rest of the spine/torso. Again, it's possible that you're not doing these things, but I can't tell for sure. Your depth looks good and your upper back and arms look good. I think the most helpful angle for video coaching is a quartering view from the front (i.e. the camera positioned at a 45-degree angle from dead ahead).

Hope this is helpful.
You want your feet pointed straight and not angled out in a FS? I thought you want them angled out for all types of squats...
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:11 PM   #6
Jeff Enge
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Re: Front Squat Form Check

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Originally Posted by Joe Bernard View Post
You want your feet pointed straight and not angled out in a FS? I thought you want them angled out for all types of squats...
KStarr says straight out, but if you can squat more and have an easier time getting your knees in the right direction, it doesn't matter what any expert says, that is the right position for you.

I have pretty decent hip/ankle flexibility, and you can see by my avatar pic my feet are still slightly turned out.
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:34 AM   #7
Michael Plank
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Re: Front Squat Form Check

The reason for having feet straight is twofold: 1) is making sure you have a stable foot/ankle. This is much easier to maintain with feet straight (or straight-ish - Kelly Starrett says up to 12 degrees) and knees out than it is with your feet angled out. With your feet angled out it's way easier to collapse your ankle, regardless of knee position. (It is tough to squat with feet straight if you're missing any ankle range of motion).

2) Is your ability to develop torque throughout the movement. There's just no way you can develop as much throughout the system with your feet angled out as with your feet straighter and shoving your knees out. If you play around with this, you can feel the difference in tension (especially in the hips) between a feet straight squat and a feet angled out squat.

I also learned to squat with my feet angled out in all iterations, but Kelly Starrett and mobilitywod have made me a convert. Everyone I train now squats with feet straight and they all lift more than they did with feet out. That's just anecdotal evidence, of course, but I can't recommend mobilitywod.com and a healthy dose of experimentiation highly enough for learning how to optimize positions during movement patterns.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:04 AM   #8
Joe Bernard
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Re: Front Squat Form Check

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Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
KStarr says straight out, but if you can squat more and have an easier time getting your knees in the right direction, it doesn't matter what any expert says, that is the right position for you.

I have pretty decent hip/ankle flexibility, and you can see by my avatar pic my feet are still slightly turned out.
I have never tried squatting with straight feet, although I cannot imagine my ankles are that flexible. I'll try feet forward next week and see how it goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Plank View Post
The reason for having feet straight is twofold: 1) is making sure you have a stable foot/ankle. This is much easier to maintain with feet straight (or straight-ish - Kelly Starrett says up to 12 degrees) and knees out than it is with your feet angled out. With your feet angled out it's way easier to collapse your ankle, regardless of knee position. (It is tough to squat with feet straight if you're missing any ankle range of motion).

2) Is your ability to develop torque throughout the movement. There's just no way you can develop as much throughout the system with your feet angled out as with your feet straighter and shoving your knees out. If you play around with this, you can feel the difference in tension (especially in the hips) between a feet straight squat and a feet angled out squat.

I also learned to squat with my feet angled out in all iterations, but Kelly Starrett and mobilitywod have made me a convert. Everyone I train now squats with feet straight and they all lift more than they did with feet out. That's just anecdotal evidence, of course, but I can't recommend mobilitywod.com and a healthy dose of experimentiation highly enough for learning how to optimize positions during movement patterns.
Good points. I do notice that it's easier for my knees to cave in with heavier weights if my feet are angled out. I just tried out doing BW squats with feet straight vs angled out and yep, much more torque. I have Kelly's book and when he says to build torque by screwing your feet down and out, I cannot do it as effectively as when my feet are angled out. I will try a more forward foot position next Monday, which is when I squat again, and see how it goes. Thanks.
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:18 AM   #9
Michael Plank
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Re: Front Squat Form Check

Quote:
I have never tried squatting with straight feet, although I cannot imagine my ankles are that flexible. I'll try feet forward next week and see how it goes.
There's some great stuff in that book on ankle mobility too. Good luck!
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Old 08-24-2013, 07:42 PM   #10
Kevin Cornell
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Re: Front Squat Form Check

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Santos View Post
Hi Everyone,

I started crossfit about 4 months ago and I've been lurking on the message board ever since. I've decided to create an account so I can get feedback from all you more experience cross fitters. Here is a video of my doing a 5x3 front squats with 185 (only for last two sets).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOZlpGgjEKo
Try to keep a full grip on the bar when squatting. Holding the bar in your fingertips when squatting will only hurt you in the long run.
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