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Old 11-15-2008, 11:41 AM   #1
Erin Grenier
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Building my air squat

Hi guys,

I’ve been lurking around on the boards for months, and I finally got around to registering and posting. I’ve been crossfitting since September and did a three-month SS cycle before that. But I’ve always had problems with squats! I’ve never ever been flexible and have had chronic joint pain in my knees and ankles for as long as I can remember (it’s gotten much better since starting to work out), but I didn’t realize quite how bad it was until I started trying to squat. It’s like I hit a wall partway down and physically just can’t get anywhere near parallel, let along full depth. I imagine part of this is probably flexibility and part is balance. Weighted squats are easier for me to do—it’s like the weight helps push me down—but I know that’s just camouflaging the actual issues.

I haven’t worked on my air squat with much focus since I’ve been pursuing exciting things like pullups and handstands, but seriously, I’ve been training for 7 months now and have hardly improved? It’s time to get diligent. I’m looking for specific ideas, drills, articles to read that might help me out. I have a CFJ subscription, but oddly enough searching for ‘squat’ returns pages and pages of articles…

There are some things that I know that help me:
  • Squatting regularly, of course—my squat felt better when I was doing it every other day in SS than now that I’m crossfitting
  • Goblet squats—holding a dumbbell out in front of me helps with my balance and I don’t feel like I’m going to fall over backwards
  • Squats holding onto a doorframe—I can pull myself down lower
  • Doing triggerpoint massage on my calves—I think it lets me my ankles flex farther and allow my knees more forward travel
Do you have any suggestions? I picked up a copy of “Stretching Scientifically” and gave it a quick read-through, but haven’t gone back to formulate a plan. And that’s what I need now—a ‘get off your butt and fix your squat’ plan. I posted this in ‘Starting’ instead of ‘Exercises’ because I’m really starting from zero on my air squat.
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Old 11-15-2008, 12:36 PM   #2
Chris Robinson
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Re: Building my air squat

Search for the December 2002 CFJ article entitled "Squat Clinic." It's full of useful information, including progressions for building a better squat.
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Old 11-15-2008, 04:21 PM   #3
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Building my air squat

Have you tried doing the air squat against a wall where you put your hands about 60 degrees from your body to the wall.

Taking a video would simply things a lot. Goblet squats are a good tool for squatting. Since it doesn't sound like you have a problem doing them, I'm sure a 3rd world squat/Asian squat is something you can get into?

Can you overhead squat at all, even with just a stick or light bar or bar only?

Are squatting with or without shoes or weightlifting shoes?
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Old 11-15-2008, 11:57 PM   #4
Scott Havn
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Re: Building my air squat

I don't know if this would help or not but for my knee therapy they had me do "squats" with a fitness ball between myself and a wall. It helped me with my flexibility - the PT did have me stop at parallel and not go any farther down. It is also definitely different form than air squats (the back is more upright. Just a suggestion. My issue was lack of quad strength which put more pressure on my knees. These definitely helped me.
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Old 11-16-2008, 05:57 PM   #5
Erin Grenier
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Re: Building my air squat

Quote:
Search for the December 2002 CFJ article entitled "Squat Clinic." It's full of useful information, including progressions for building a better squat.
Thanks, Chris! I went and read the article you recommended. I think my squat is currently most like the "not breaking the parallel plane" picture, with quite a bit of "loss of lumbar extention". It looks like the causes it suggests are tight/weak hams and hip extensors? I'd certainly buy that.

I can't really do a third-world squat. My heels come right up off the ground if I need to get that deep. But I reviewed the T-nation article on them and I think I'll start working on that.

No overhead squats for me, at least with good form. I have to lean way forward to keep my balance and the bar (or pvc) ends up way out of the correct travel path. I usually do some with pvc in my warmup anyway.

I do pretty much everything barefoot or in my vibrams. I don't have any video, but I can try to get some maybe tomorrow.
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:23 PM   #6
Blair Robert Lowe
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Re: Building my air squat

Sounds like your hamstrings are very tight.
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Old 11-23-2008, 07:44 AM   #7
Jethro Soudant
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Re: Building my air squat

Check out this vid from the good folks at Again Faster... (WFS)

http://www.againfaster.com/the-micd-...the-squat.html
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Old 11-23-2008, 07:30 PM   #8
Erin Grenier
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Re: Building my air squat

That's a great video Jethro, thanks! It gives me some good stuff to work on.
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Old 11-23-2008, 08:48 PM   #9
Carter Jee
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Re: Building my air squat

again faster has another video on foam rolling which deals with knee pain. check that out too!!! that might help with the pain... it certainly helped with mine!!!

squats....

my trainer gave me a great starting point... squatting starts with a good feet position.. Start in a deep squat position and shuffle your feet until you can hold the squat. do a couple of reps and focus on pushing your weight through your heels... stop and reset your feet...

spend today working on your squat. I'm spending today working on my kipping pullup progression.

soon you'll be smashing through wods like jason!!
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