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Old 03-15-2011, 10:40 PM   #1
Tyson Henrie
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Young female athletes and squatting

I have a few questions about training young female soccer players:

I was just hired as the conditioning trainer for a girls soccer team (ages 11-12) Today was our first day and as I was teaching them how to squat, their main coach started yelling at them to point their toes forward and keep them under their hips no matter what. I began to explain the problems with that, but to my dismay she would not listen. She just kept saying that girls are built different than guys.

Yeah I know that, but why should they squat differently? Her response, "Maybe they just shouldn't do squats."

Bull****. I know that females are more prone to knee injuries in cutting sports like soccer due to their larger hips, greater Q angle, and narrower intercondylar arch, but wouldn't that mean that they should be doing even more squats to strengthen the muscles around the knee, especially all the abducters? The most common way to fall is by rolling the knee in due to weakness in the hamstrings, glutes, and abducters. All of which are strengthened by squats, correct?

I talked with her after training and she was told that if she can keep her girl's feet and hips perfectly squared as much as possible, then their risk of knee injury can be decreased.

So correct me if I'm wrong, females are genetically predisposed to having 'duck' feet and wider hips than men, but they should train themselves not to? That doesn't make any sense. Wouldn't it be better to strengthen their natural position and stance, rather than drastically alter it?

She said that her girls tend to run, cut, pass, and receive the ball with their feet pointed 'duckwise' and that she was trying to get them away from that. OK, maybe that makes sense, but why would squatting affect that at all? Just because I squat with my feet pointed out, does not mean I'm going to run like that.

I've been reading for the past 4 hours and cannot find anything about foot abduction causing knee injuries in sports that involve a lot of cutting. Does anyone have any knowledge on this? I want to make sure that I am doing the right thing and am thinking this out correctly. I don't think a training regime for soccer is complete without proper squats. Any advice would be much appreciated.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:44 PM   #2
Veronica Carpenter
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Re: Young female athletes and squatting

Holy Shiznit! Point her in the direction of Natalie Burgener, Aimee Anaya, Tara Nott Cunningham, Melanie Roach or any other National level o-lifter. Ugh! No one squats exactly the same and most squat with their feet at a slight angle. It's not cut and dry. You have to accomodate individual differences.

I for one have been squatting the same way for 20+ years and have NEVER, in my career as a lifter, have I had any knees issues.

Strength training life is not complete without proper squatting.
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Last edited by Veronica Carpenter : 03-15-2011 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:45 PM   #3
Erich Anderson
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Re: Young female athletes and squatting

I took K-star's Mobility seminar and he stressed feet pointed forward, not out. I'm not really good w/ the mobilityspeak but what I took away was that toes forward allows a greater external hip rotation to be generated, and the recruitment of hip muscles is something he liked.

Edit: I do not recall him saying anything about hips staying directly over the feet. It seems this would push the knees forward and put a ton of stress on the knee? What is the coach's background in functional movement? Isn't she the coach cause she can devise soccer strategy, not teach proper lifting technique?

Last edited by Erich Anderson : 03-15-2011 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:11 AM   #4
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Young female athletes and squatting

Female athletes do face something of a knee injury epidemic, and there's evidence that focusing on running form in sports like soccer and basketball can help. I'm sure that's where the coach is coming from.

But squatting is a completely different beast. As you observed, doing it properly strengthens all the muscles you need to maintain stability for other sports.

(See also http://ajs.sagepub.com/content/37/9/1728.abstract (WFS), among others.)

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Old 03-16-2011, 12:15 AM   #5
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Young female athletes and squatting

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Originally Posted by Erich Anderson View Post
Edit: I do not recall him saying anything about hips staying directly over the feet. It seems this would push the knees forward and put a ton of stress on the knee?
It would, except that very few people can even do it. (Try it and see.) Unless you have extreme ankle flexibility, you won't be able to hit full depth this way unless your heels come well off the ground, and there's no chance you'll be stable with any significant weight.

Katherine
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Old 03-16-2011, 04:55 AM   #6
Harish Shetty
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Re: Young female athletes and squatting

Tyson it seems your head coach is growing old.

squatting or any movement should be done in the safest way , we should never change the pattern of movement. I think this is where everything starts getting ugly n you end up having injuries.

Hip over the foot is hilarious !!!
how on earth will that gal be stable at the bottom position of squat.this will crack her knee any time. and i dont see any carryover of this type of squatting to soccer but surely to a dr .

Quote:
Wouldn't it be better to strengthen their natural position and stance, rather than drastically alter it?
you are on the money, it makes sense to strengthen the natural position.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:29 AM   #7
Chad Anderson
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Re: Young female athletes and squatting

KStar has been talking about stretching in the full squat position with the toes forward. I do not recall him advocating we squat with heavy weights in a toes forward position.

Squatting is squatting, running is running. Completely different teaching modality.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:42 AM   #8
Trey Williams
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Re: Young female athletes and squatting

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Originally Posted by Chad Anderson View Post
KStar has been talking about stretching in the full squat position with the toes forward. I do not recall him advocating we squat with heavy weights in a toes forward position.

Anyone else care to comment on this? I, too, am mostly mobilityspeak illiterate, and after following mobilitywod I've been confused about when exactly K-Starr is advocating toes forward.
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Old 03-16-2011, 11:49 AM   #9
Matt Haxmeier
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Re: Young female athletes and squatting

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Originally Posted by Trey Williams View Post
Anyone else care to comment on this? I, too, am mostly mobilityspeak illiterate, and after following mobilitywod I've been confused about when exactly K-Starr is advocating toes forward.
I have heard him say that about stretching. I don't know about actual squatting.

But pretty much anybody else says for actual squatting/deadlifting you should have the toes pointed out slightly.

For example "Olympic Weightlifting" by Greg E. says on page 117 "the starting position of the feet will be approximately under the hips and rotated outward between approximately 5-15 degrees from center."

"Starting Strength" says on page 30 (Squat): "The wider the stance, the wider the foot angle, and the wider the knees will have to be apart to keep the thighs parallel to the feet". and on page 113 for the deadlift: "Starting position stance for the deadlift is heels approximately 12-15 inches apart with the toes pointed slightly out."

And it makes sense to me that something used to stretch a bodypart out isn't necessarily what should be used for efficient or stable pulling.

Last edited by Matt Haxmeier : 03-16-2011 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:30 PM   #10
Joe Bernard
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Re: Young female athletes and squatting

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Originally Posted by Trey Williams View Post
Anyone else care to comment on this? I, too, am mostly mobilityspeak illiterate, and after following mobilitywod I've been confused about when exactly K-Starr is advocating toes forward.
Chad is right, it's in the video where KStar talks about the 3rd world squat and how people hang out down there for a good amount of time while waiting around in third-world countries.
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