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Old 05-06-2011, 07:43 AM   #1
Paul Droubay
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Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

I'm a beginner who just started working on his strength. After looking at as many videos as I could and reviewing the Starting Strength Wiki, I thought it would be helpful to post up videos to check my form as I begin. As a beginner, I don't want to start forming bad habits. This is all new, and I'd like to program these pathways correctly from the start.

These lifts are in the 3rd week of the Simple Yet Effective Conditioning Program (i.e., 70s Big) - so they were doable yet I'm beginning to sweat it. I weigh 162 now (up 9 lbs since I started). As you can probably tell, I'm severely "knock-kneed" - so my toes naturally point outward and my knees track differently than most. It complicates things on the leg movements.

Deadlift: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAEEZmgivqM
This is my work set of 5 reps of 255 lbs. I felt this mostly in my lats and hams.

Squat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COYuEqpDdTU
This is my last set of 3. 5 reps of 140 lbs. I think I'm doing something wrong here. On my other biweekly set of 145 lbs, I felt pain in my left knee coming out of the bottom (that I still feel slightly the next day) Perhaps I'm just underdeveloped and that's normal?

Power Clean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNtuIdP5yq0
Last set of 5. 3 reps of 85 lbs. Feels awkward still, but improved over the first week. Felt this most in my shoulders and upper back.

Press: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_wjUzWafHo
Last set of 3. 5 reps of 85 lbs.

Bench: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PkQbau75d4
Last set of 3. 5 reps of 135 lbs.
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Old 05-06-2011, 07:53 AM   #2
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

You need to buy the ACTUAL book Starting Strength. It will help you understand and correct the major form issues that you have here, such as not setting your back on the deadlift, high bar squatting instead of low bar squatting, and your grip on your press (for starters). I think it is impossible to address all of these issues until you have read the book, and I would also recommend purchasing the DVD.
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:10 AM   #3
Chris Walls
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Re: Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

Deadlift: Set your back! Everything looks soft and relaxed. Everything tight, get your low back arched, your scaps retracted to tighten the upper back, squeeze the bar and get your lats tight. Bring your hammies on tension and squeeze the bar up. Stand all the way up with it. At the top your hips and knees are not all the way open. Drive the legs straight and squeeze your butt to get your hips all the way open to the bar.

Haven't watched the rest yet but will try to.
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Old 05-06-2011, 11:56 AM   #4
Chris Walls
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Re: Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

Squats: Again, get setup tight before starting the descent. Take a big breath, get tight everywhere, shove the knees out and send the hips back. Stay tight, keep your chest up and bounce out of the hole. Drive the hip up out of the bottom, I don't see any hip drive.

Power Cleans: You are doing full/squat cleans, not power cleans. Feet closer together so you are driving straight down with the legs. Otherwise not terrible, have a nice aggressive hip extension. For power cleans you catch them in a shallow 1/4 squat (although anything above parallel is technically "power")

Press: Abs tight, ribs down. Try not to take the bar on an arc around your face, tuck your face back and press straight up damn near grazing the tip of your nose.

Bench: I'm no bench expert, so others might have better advice, but to me your grip looks a bit wide and your elbows are flared out almost 90 degrees from your body. You don't want to flare them out, or pull them in, let them angle out about 30-45 degrees or so, at a nice natural angle. Also, retract your scapulas BEFORE you unpack the bar. Your shoulders should be pulled back and flat across your back, and should stay at the back of your socket, not shrugged up at all.

Oh, and like Tamara said, get the actual book.
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Last edited by Chris Walls : 05-06-2011 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 05-06-2011, 12:16 PM   #5
Chris Vaughn
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Re: Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

Welcome to the world of Strength! What a great decision you've made!

Before I comment, I want to give one general piece of advice: drop all of your weights down until you have good form. Relearning after achieving with bad form is very difficult.

Here are my comments:
1) Deads: your shoulders are over the bar. Put them behind the bar and pull yourself down (i.e. sit your butt back). Keep your lower back as flat as possible, and as you ascend, throw your chest out. Also, concentrate on pushing your feet down through the floor rather than lifting the bar up.
2) Squat: looks pretty good. See here: http://articles.elitefts.com/article...-part-1-and-2/
3) Power Clean: get your feet closer together and really rip the bar on the first pull. Do a countermovement (bend down quickly and explode back up) to take advantage of the stretch shortening cycle. Your catch/rack position at the top looks very good. Keep that up!
4) Press: again, looks pretty good. Make sure you've got a belly full of air (I can't tell from the vid) and really concentrate on pushing your head forward and pushing the bar straight up. I think everyone here has probably smashed himself/herself in the face many times getting the rhythm down.
5) Bench: hard to tell from the angle. It looks like you need more arch, more leg drive, and to tuck (on the way down) and flare (on the way up). See here: http://articles.elitefts.com/article...e-series-here/

If you have any followup to this, please submit via the EFS Q & A (you can get there via the link below) as I'm not able to check this forum as often as I'd like.

Again, welcome to the most rewarding journey you can take!
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Old 05-06-2011, 01:14 PM   #6
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

OP, I think you are going to have to decide which school of thought you are going to follow on your lifts.

Rip teaches the deadlift setup different than some, and he teaches a low bar squat. If you are doing the 70's Big program (which is an SS hybrid), then I would certainly recommend learning the lifts the way that Rip teaches them.

The feedback you get on your lifts on these forums is going to vary depending on how the person responding coaches the lifts. As a Starting Strength coach, if someone says they are doing SS or some variation, then I will always give feedback from the point of view of an SS coach.
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:08 PM   #7
Justin McGinley
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Re: Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

On the exercise and demo section of the crossfit webpage, there are many videos by Rip about the lifts in question. It would benefit you to watch them all.

Take a look here:

http://www.crossfit.com/cf-info/excercise.html#Power

Pay particular attention to Rip's videos on the squat and the deadlift.
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Old 05-06-2011, 08:42 PM   #8
Veronica Carpenter
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Re: Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Vaughn View Post
3) Power Clean: get your feet closer together and really rip the bar on the first pull. Do a countermovement (bend down quickly and explode back up) to take advantage of the stretch shortening cycle. Your catch/rack position at the top looks very good. Keep that up!
You shouldn't RIP the bar on the first pull. You should take off slow and steady and accelerate to an explosive hip drive.

Paul, as someone already mentioned, you are doing a full clean. Your starting stance (jump stance) should be about shoulder width apart. As you pull under and land, your feet should quickly move out into your squat stance which is normally a bit wider.

Overall it looks pretty good. The only "glaring" thing I see is that you're pulling the bar around your knees (starting similar to a deadlift) Instead, you should be pulling your knees back out of the way so that the bar path is more vertical or even slightly back towards your body. It's common for people to shoot their hips up ahead of their shoulders when pulling the knees back. Remember the hips and shoulders rise at the same time, so as you are pulling the knees back, your shoulders should be rising as well.
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Old 05-06-2011, 09:34 PM   #9
Veronica Carpenter
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Re: Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

Watch the vid (WFS) then watch it again then pause it and watch it in slo-mo and notice how he pulls the bar in towards his body and how his hips and shoulders rise at the same time. Now video tape your clean and compare:

http://www.cathletics.com/exercises/...exerciseID=185
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:27 AM   #10
Paul Droubay
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Re: Knock-Kneed Beginner with the Major Lifts

Thanks everyone! This is very helpful. I'm going to check out these additional resources (and get the book) and keep working at it. I see now where I'm not doing some things correctly. It's funny how much film reveals that you don't catch while doing the movement itself.

Thanks again for your feedback - it's very much appreciated.
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