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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 12-04-2007, 08:37 AM   #1
Emily Mattes
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Need squatting help

I've been going through the Squat Rx videos on YouTube and they've been very helpful for improving my lumbar curve. However, I'm having problems maintaining a vertical torso. I've been practicing by going to the bottom of a squat, grabbing the side of the squat rack, and pushing my butt out and arching my back until the lumbar curve is obtain. But the minute I let go I fall backwards unless I bend my torso much farther forward.

I think this may be due to poor ankle flexibility, since at the bottom of a full squat my knees are about at my toes, not tracking over them. Maybe this results in me not distributing enough weight forward to balance out the squat? But I've been stretching my ankles and calves and they're already pretty flexible from my history with competitive swimming. Does anyone have any other ideas why I'm having this problem, or maybe "extreme" ankle stretching exercises?
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:41 AM   #2
Tom Fetter
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Re: Need squatting help

Maybe try some overhead squats, with something that has a bit more weight than a broomstick ... a broomstick with 10 pounds on it, maybe. I've found that OHS have really helped me keep a vertical torso, because if the torso's not vertical ... the weight won't stay up there.
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:58 AM   #3
Tim Graham
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Re: Need squatting help

Try reading this. It's an article on proper squat technique and how to fix common errors. CLICK ME!! (work and family safe)

Last edited by David Wood : 12-04-2007 at 10:53 AM. Reason: added "safe" designation. Tim, please do that for *all* links you post.
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Old 12-04-2007, 09:33 AM   #4
Grant Scalf
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Re: Need squatting help

Once you add weight to your back your center of gravity will shift forward making it easier to remain on your feet. You are also correct in that greater ankle flexibility will help.

Edit: And you don't need an upright torso when you squat, you just need your spine held rigid in lumbar and thoracic extension i.e. - rigid lower and upper back.

Last edited by Grant Scalf : 12-04-2007 at 09:36 AM. Reason: addition
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Old 12-04-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
David Wood
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Re: Need squatting help

Hi Tim, welcome to CrossFit!

Interesting link.

Please do two things with *every* link you post:

(1) provide some indication of what the link is about (no "Hey, check this out!"). You did this just great, thanks!

(2) Provide a clear designation of whether the link is work and/or family safe, or not. You don't have to post only safe links . . . but you do have to make the designation, either way, every time.

Many thanks,
Dave
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Old 12-04-2007, 11:50 AM   #6
David Aguasca
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Re: Need squatting help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily Mattes View Post
I've been going through the Squat Rx videos on YouTube and they've been very helpful for improving my lumbar curve. However, I'm having problems maintaining a vertical torso. I've been practicing by going to the bottom of a squat, grabbing the side of the squat rack, and pushing my butt out and arching my back until the lumbar curve is obtain. But the minute I let go I fall backwards unless I bend my torso much farther forward.

I think this may be due to poor ankle flexibility, since at the bottom of a full squat my knees are about at my toes, not tracking over them. Maybe this results in me not distributing enough weight forward to balance out the squat? But I've been stretching my ankles and calves and they're already pretty flexible from my history with competitive swimming. Does anyone have any other ideas why I'm having this problem, or maybe "extreme" ankle stretching exercises?
could you get a video of yourself squatting? that'll help give more accurate feedback.

i have a friend who for the longest time could not squat (air squat) and keep his torso upright. the rest of us in our workout group could do it. we eventually figured out that his body proportions (limb lengths, and a really large hiney) mandated that he had to bend forward a little more than you're used to seeing.
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Old 12-04-2007, 08:07 PM   #7
James Kahn
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Re: Need squatting help

If you haven't been squatting for long, flexibility at the bottom of the squat can be a problem. I assume this is what you are hitting. My advice..

- Make sure you warm up properly. Joint rotations for your ankles and then samson stretches for your hip flexors (as part of the CFWU) work for me. Hip flexor flexibility is important.

- I'm not sure what weight you're squatting, but I find it is easiest to get the right depth with some weight on your shoulders in a back squat. Try just the olympic bar, if you're OK with that. I find that the dynamics of the squat change if doing air squats or front squats.

- Stick your *** out. Don't be shy. On the other hand, don't poke it out too far, as excess curvature can be just as bad as too little.

- Don't be obsessed about having your feet close together like a bodybuilder. If you're squatting below parallel (like you should), your feet should be a little wider.

Hope that helps. BTW - I'm not a qualfied trainer, I've just been squatting for a while.
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Old 12-05-2007, 06:54 AM   #8
Boris Bachmann
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Re: Need squatting help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily Mattes View Post
I've been going through the Squat Rx videos on YouTube and they've been very helpful for improving my lumbar curve. However, I'm having problems maintaining a vertical torso. I've been practicing by going to the bottom of a squat, grabbing the side of the squat rack, and pushing my butt out and arching my back until the lumbar curve is obtain. But the minute I let go I fall backwards unless I bend my torso much farther forward.

I think this may be due to poor ankle flexibility, since at the bottom of a full squat my knees are about at my toes, not tracking over them. Maybe this results in me not distributing enough weight forward to balance out the squat? But I've been stretching my ankles and calves and they're already pretty flexible from my history with competitive swimming. Does anyone have any other ideas why I'm having this problem, or maybe "extreme" ankle stretching exercises?
This has already been said, but if you're hips are positioned any distance behind your feet, your upper body will have to lean some to compensate. Straight doesn't mean upright. I don't know if this is the problem you're having or not though. A video would help a lot.
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Old 12-05-2007, 08:31 AM   #9
Emily Mattes
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Re: Need squatting help

I'd like to record a video, but I don't have a digital camera or anything with a recorder, and neither do any of my friends that live around here. I'll see if I can scrounge anything up, though.

Boris, now that you mention it my hips travel WAY behind my ankles at the bottom of the squat, even when I'm at my most upright when steadying myself with the squat rack. I am practically flat-backed when I lean over, and even am very flat when doing overhead squats (I guess I put the bar back farther behind my head to compensate?). I figured that was an issue with tight ankles and needing a stronger back to keep the lumbar curve and a more vertical torso.

I drew a little picture as an approximation of what I look like at the bottom of the squat. Unless I'm holding on to something, my back stays that flat or I fall over. My knees don't travel past my feet or head.

http://i6.tinypic.com/81tawdz.jpg

Last edited by Emily Mattes : 12-05-2007 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 12-06-2007, 10:46 PM   #10
James Kahn
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Re: Need squatting help

Nice stick figure, but a video would be easier

Sure your phone doesn't have video taking functionality?
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