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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 12-08-2007, 05:23 PM   #21
Daniel Hoang
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Re: Need squatting help

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Originally Posted by Greg Everett View Post
First, get in some ankle mobility work either as part of your warm up or after you train - just your basic circles, active and passive. To actually stretch them, sit in the bottom of a squat WITH shoes on, and lean on one leg at a time, keeping the foot flat on the floor while attempting to close the angle of the foot/leg. You'll feel it primarily in the achilles tendon and the lower soleus. Don't waste your time on straight-knee calf stretches--that has nothing to do with the problem. Keeping the foot flat on the floor and in shoes that provide some arch support will help keep the stretch confined to the calf instead of also stretching the mid-foot, which we don't want.
awesome! thank you!
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:28 PM   #22
Cal Jones
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Re: Need squatting help

I have a very similar issue and I do honestly believe some people have poor mechanics for squatting. My lower leg is a whole three inches shorter than my upper leg, and I also have a long torso (I'm 5'7" and my childhood best friend grew to be 5'10", yet I was a fair bit taller than her when we sat down!)
Net result is that when I squat, I fold like a nervous gambler at a high stakes poker game. The fact I've worked hunched over computers for years and years doesn't help either as my back rounds forward.

Only way I can get any depth at all is to take a wide stance and turn my feet out like Charlie Chaplin (something my knees tend not to appreciate too much). The ankles themselves aren't very flexible, but I don't think they're the issue so much as having poor proportions and a very stiff back.
I do squat, when my evil knee allows, but I never really get to parallel.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say, Emily, is that it might help you to work on your upper back/shoulder flexibilty as well as your ankles. Mine's too far gone to do much about it (my thorassic vertebrae have almost fused). Also I don't know if this helps but I find overhead squats actually easier for getting good form and depth as holding the bar above my head pulls my back more upright. Practise them a lot, even if it's only with a body bar. I do them as part of my warm up. I'm improving slowly.
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Old 12-10-2007, 02:52 PM   #23
Chip Conrad
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Re: Need squatting help

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Originally Posted by Boris Bachmann View Post
Greg, I think you're going a little overboard. I'm not disagreeing with anything you've said, but full-squatting does not require that much ankle flexibility unless you are squatting close stance and not externally rotating at the hip.

You're absolutely right - there is a movement (probably WS-inspired) that has demonized any forward tracking of the knees and that is wrong, but it is a reaction based on the reality that most Americans have no idea how to lift properly using their legs. If you ask someone to "lift with their legs", the natural response is to stand with the object in front of them, flex at the knees, come up on the toes, keeping the torso as erect as possible = acute knee flexion, zero engagement of the posterior chain, all quad.

You're absolutely right though. Misinformation about squatting everywhere.
Powerlifting squats (ala WSB) have the main goal of emphasizing hamstring participation, as opposed to more traditional squats, which are quad dominant. Both have merit, both are acceptable forms of squatting, BUT the differences must be understood. Powerlifting squats (knees stay put with no forward travel, while the hips go WAY back and the stance is super wide) can help folks move a greater load, but it isn't a stance that will allow for great depth, compared to constant practice of a narrower stance.

SO, it is easy for people to use a wide squat technique to overcome flexibility issues. The problem is this is a band-aid, but not a medicine. Too many competitive powerlifters are GREAT at wide stance power squats but have built up such tension patterns that they can't squat any other way. Even front squats (if they do them) require a wider stance and depth will rarely be much deeper than parallel.

BUT, narrow squats, ans deviation, can also create tension patterns as well. keep that in mind.

So powerlifting squats are often a prime market for ankle work. But no matter how you squat, check for symmetry, since uneven squats are often ankle related as well. Often, due to prior injury or even spinal/hip alignment issues through tension patterns, one ankle will have a better time than the other. This can lead to leg dominance during squats, but will be particularly noticeable in single leg movements like pistol squats or single leg deadlifts (not so much in lunges or even step ups).

Since leg bone is connected to hip bone, tight ankles might be a SYMPTOM, not the actual problem. The opposite can also be true, tight ankles might lead to whacky hip rotation. But there's a whole new can of worms to worry about...
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Old 12-10-2007, 03:10 PM   #24
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Re: Need squatting help

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Originally Posted by Boris Bachmann View Post
Greg, I think you're going a little overboard. I'm not disagreeing with anything you've said, but full-squatting does not require that much ankle flexibility unless you are squatting close stance and not externally rotating at the hip.
The width of the stance and the external rotation are dictated by anthropometry and the desired squat style/depth, not personal preference (aside from very minor and inconsequential adjustments). E.g., short femurs and long tibias for a weightlifter will mean a "narrow" stance and less ex. rotation in order to maintain the proper alignment of the knees and ankles. Long femurs and short tibias will mean a "wide" stance and more ex. rotation. Really, the terms wide and narrow are misleading because two different people meeting the same criteria of joint alignment may have stances with very disparate distances between the feet but both stances are the same relative width for each. If one wanted to perform more of a PL style squat, that would be a "wide" stance irrespective of anthropometry.

There is a definite limit to how externally rotated the the femurs can be, which varies considerably with each individual's hip anatomy. Consequently, how much ankle flexibility can be circumvented in this manner is equally limited. A lot of the time, when attempting to do just this, athletes will externally rotate and simultaneously place their feet too wide for that stance, allowing inversion of the feet to take care of some of the ankle flexibility needs. This of course is problematic for a number of reasons, namely the fact that it places the ankles and knees outside their intended line of action. This is the practice that leads to people believing ankle flexibility doesn't play a significant role in the issue--they feel they've solved the problem when really they've unknowingly limited their potential depth and very possibly set themselves up for injury or chronic pain/aggravation.

Full depth is not "adequate" depth - it's the deepest possible position of the hips while maintaining the correct joint alignment. Manipulation of the positions that results in a reduction in depth is not a genuine solution, but a way to avoid the necessary work.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:29 PM   #25
Boris Bachmann
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Re: Need squatting help

HAHAHA! Ok Greg... I'm not suggesting anyone "circumvent" a lack of ankle flexibility w. external hip rotation or sole inversion... We could discuss anthro... err, limb length all day, but I just honestly don't see a need for tremendous ankle flexibility when most people squat properly. That's not to say that some people don't need more, but, pre-existing conditions like injury or extreme inflexibility notwithstanding, most of the kids I work with don't.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:48 PM   #26
Chip Conrad
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Re: Need squatting help

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Originally Posted by Boris Bachmann View Post
HAHAHA! Ok Greg... I'm not suggesting anyone "circumvent" a lack of ankle flexibility w. external hip rotation or sole inversion... We could discuss anthro... err, limb length all day, but I just honestly don't see a need for tremendous ankle flexibility when most people squat properly. That's not to say that some people don't need more, but, pre-existing conditions like injury or extreme inflexibility notwithstanding, most of the kids I work with don't.
If, by 'kids' you are literally referring to age, then that might be a hint. Westernized adults aren't so lucky. Only about 40% of all the clients I've even dealt with could sink into a nice low squat naturally, and even with training, they don't all get ATG deep.
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:29 PM   #27
Chris Robinson
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Re: Need squatting help

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When we ask someone to raise the immature squat, i.e. raise the torso, as they rise and find no glute/ham support they fall, really drive, backwards way before their balance should be upset. Their quads drive them backwards and they find no posterior chain as it lets go. They cannot apply enough contact pressure at the heel to maintain balance.
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Neuromuscular imbalances create seemingly paradoxical situations where postures decidedly disadvantageous in simpler inanimate systems become the only option, and in fact, advantageous.
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It takes three to five years, in elite athletes, to fully potentiate the hip extensors neurologically and muscularly.
With that said (by Coach), what are the best supplemental exercises to strengthen the hip extensors, glutes, and posterior chain generally? Obviously practicing OHS and the like will help, but, in addition to the normal squat therapy typically prescribed, what else would you recommend doing?
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Old 12-10-2007, 08:54 PM   #28
Boris Bachmann
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Re: Need squatting help

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Originally Posted by Chip Conrad View Post
If, by 'kids' you are literally referring to age, then that might be a hint. Westernized adults aren't so lucky. Only about 40% of all the clients I've even dealt with could sink into a nice low squat naturally, and even with training, they don't all get ATG deep.
Chip,
Most of the kids I work with don't get ATG deep initially either but it's usually not an ankle flexibility issue.
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:30 PM   #29
Derek Maffett
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Re: Need squatting help

Greg, thanks for that post. Cleared up a lot of things for me.
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Old 12-13-2007, 03:10 PM   #30
Jason M Struck
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Re: Need squatting help

http://www.michaelboyle.biz/joomla/content/view/86/60/

WFS
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