CrossFit Discussion Board  

Go Back   CrossFit Discussion Board > CrossFit Forum > Exercises
CrossFit Home Forum Site Rules CrossFit FAQ Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 04-23-2009, 08:32 AM   #1
Ryan Whipple
Member Ryan Whipple is offline
 
Ryan Whipple's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Tuscon  AZ
Posts: 686
Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

Generally when I squat I focus on staying centered and using both legs equally, and I can do this in rep ranges 5 and up. However, under heavier loads, I start shifting my weight directly over my right leg and my left knee buckles in. My inability to use my left leg effectively under heavy loads is probably the reason I bench 180, deadlift 300, and only squat 200. I figure this problem has psychological and physiological roots, so:

1. What training cues or drills might help correct this?
2. What muscle weaknesses might contribute to this, and how would I strengthen them?
__________________
My Log | My Dad's Log
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2009, 08:41 AM   #2
Jeff S Johnson
Member Jeff S Johnson is offline
 
Jeff S Johnson's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Stillwater  OK
Posts: 318
Re: Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

I experience this, but it's actually my dominant leg (right) that wants to cave.

In my case at least, this is a spinal alignment issue. My hips are rotated to the right, and sit higher on the right side. After failing to make progress with chiros and physical therapy, I visited a NUCCA Chiropractor. Made all of the difference in the world. At its worst, the top of my right hip bone was almost 13mm higher than the left. This effectively meant my right leg was 13mm shorter. That's a big issue when squatting heavy weights!

I can now pretty much tell if my Atlas Joint is in or out of alignment based on a heavy set of back squats. If it's in, I have no issues and feel strong and balanced. If it's out, I'm weak and my right knee wants to cave inward. After a while, it became clear to me that it's not a "knee problem" but rather starts in the hip.

Incidentally, even though I sometimes get out of alignment, the problem is less pronounced. I assume this is because I've strengthened all of the muscles surrounding the hip on that side when things are nice and straight.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2009, 09:15 AM   #3
Ryan Whipple
Member Ryan Whipple is offline
 
Ryan Whipple's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Tuscon  AZ
Posts: 686
Re: Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

That's interesting...I hadn't thought of that. I have a chiro appointment next week, but it just so happened my heavy singles day was this week, when I'm the furthest out from my last chiro visit. I'll see if things feel noticeably different afterwards.
__________________
My Log | My Dad's Log
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2009, 12:57 PM   #4
Zach Gates
Member Zach Gates is offline
 
Zach Gates's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Johnstown  PA
Posts: 305
Re: Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

If you do have an actual muscle imbalance, the only way to "fix" it is to simply force yourself to stay in a weight range that lets you keep even.

I keep seeing people doing isolations and single-limb movements to hammer out imbalances but it's a fool's errand.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2009, 10:55 PM   #5
Daniel Gam
Member Daniel Gam is offline
 
Profile:
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Toronto  ON
Posts: 147
Re: Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

hey that's interesting that you mention that cause i had the exact same problem
i was doing a modififed starting strength and i was stuck at 3x5x220lbs

it wasn't that i wasn't strong enough. i just couldn't help shifting my weight slightly when i got to the bottom and was trying to get back up.

anyways i was able to fix this after i started trying to pull myself down into the bottom (like it was a target that once i reached i would explode out of) rather than descend slowly and completely in control. i found that concentrating on pushing the knees outwards/laterally (external rotation) helped a lot too

after i started doing that, i continued my linear progression - i'm comfortably at 242lbs now. hoping to get my double BW back squat soon!
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2009, 07:43 AM   #6
Ryan Whipple
Member Ryan Whipple is offline
 
Ryan Whipple's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Tuscon  AZ
Posts: 686
Re: Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

@ Zach: Interesting take on single limb movements. I had thought they would be useful because they would force me to develop stabilizing muscles more.

@ Daniel: The idea of "pulling" myself into a squat under heavy weight sounds terrifying, but it might just work! I'll give it a try
__________________
My Log | My Dad's Log
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2009, 07:56 AM   #7
Camille Lore
 
Profile:  
Posts: n/a
Re: Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

A friend told me last night that Rip said on ************ to not so single leg strengthening, that if you keep good form, the imbalance will work itself out. You may want to check over there to get it from the horse's mouth.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2009, 10:22 AM   #8
Zach Gates
Member Zach Gates is offline
 
Zach Gates's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Johnstown  PA
Posts: 305
Re: Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Whipple View Post
@ Zach: Interesting take on single limb movements. I had thought they would be useful because they would force me to develop stabilizing muscles more.

@ Daniel: The idea of "pulling" myself into a squat under heavy weight sounds terrifying, but it might just work! I'll give it a try
The problem isn't JUST that muscles are stronger than other muscles. It's also that your body is now used to moving through the wrong plane of movement. I said this in a PM to someone else, but here it is again:

All form shifts are a result of muscle imbalances. If you tip forward squatting you need stronger quads, if you hitch your deadlifts you need stronger glutes and lower back. So think of it like "bad form" the same as anything else. How do you fix that? Lighter load and focus.

I see guys doing single-leg leg presses or DB bench, but while that lets you focus on this or that it's not necessarily going to translate to improved form in the compound movement.
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2009, 10:37 AM   #9
Jeff S Johnson
Member Jeff S Johnson is offline
 
Jeff S Johnson's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Stillwater  OK
Posts: 318
Re: Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

Count me in agreeing with Zach and Camille.

I had a structural/alignment issue that had to be taken care of first. But when I'm in good alignment, nothing has helped more than just doing heavy squats.

Perfect example:

7 weeks ago, my 1 RM back squat was 225. My spinal issues had gotten majorly better maybe a month before that. But, if I slipped out of alignment, my ability to squat dropped like a rock.

This week, I was out of alignment and knew it but couldn't get in for an appointment. 240x3 was up in my CFSB. Got under the bar and though my hip and right knee wanted to cave like they used to, I was able to fight it enough to hit the PR (though rep #3 was very much in question whether I'd get out of the hole or not.)
  Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2009, 05:34 AM   #10
Patrick Haskell
Member Patrick Haskell is offline
 
Patrick Haskell's Avatar
 
Profile:
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Winchendon  MA
Posts: 4,365
Re: Correcting leg dominance on heavy squats

I tend to think that single-leg squats make a good assistance exercise for these imbalances. I have a similar elevated hip issue (although only half as bad as Jeff's and it's my weak leg). As a result, I've got both a strength imbalance and an alignment issue that wants to push me to the right in a heavy squat. While I can now concentrate on form to keep myself in line on max efforts, even to the point of accepting a failed rep before cheating over (at least last time out), I found incorporating single leg squats periodically into my workout to be helpful.

The single leg squats are essentially side lunges and weighted pistols (goblet style, so the weight helps with balance). It's not so much a question of building strength in the off-leg (I was using weights of 40# or less), but of acclimating the full complement of glutes, adductors, and hamstrings on the weak side to firing when squatting. The exercises alone aren't going to fix the problem. You need to keep working proper squats. However, such assistance exercises can help your body learn the movement of the fundamental exercise better, when you've got a specific weakness to address.
__________________
45 / M / 5'10" / 175# CF Workout Log
CF Blog (wfs, but quiet these days)
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Are heavy squats really necessary? Ryan Whitley Fitness 65 01-10-2009 10:36 AM
replacement for heavy squats Keith Moore Injuries 3 04-07-2008 11:18 AM
Single-Leg Squats Chad McBroom Testimonials 5 08-08-2007 06:12 PM
Need help correcting Clean technique Tim Smith Exercises 7 02-06-2007 11:10 AM
One Leg overhead squats Daniel Ramos Exercises 0 12-20-2003 11:40 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:38 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc.